Practice officially begins today for the Florida A&M men’s tennis team, the reigning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference runners-up.
The Rattlers are without 2010 MEAC Player of the Year, David Jackson.
Jackson, a senior last season, posted an undefeated (3-0) record in the southern division, 12-11, overall.
“David is definitely hard to replace. He’s been Player of the Year, and just a powerful player,” head coach Carl Goodman said.
Also not returning are Rashad Williams and Josh Cameron, both for undisclosed reasons.
To help fill the void left by Jackson, the program welcomed two transfers this offseason, both of whom were recruited by Goodman out of high school.
“For whatever reason, they went (elsewhere) and now they’re taking a second chance at coming back home,” said the 13-year coach.
Chidi Gabriel of Piscataway, N.J. transferred to FAMU from the University of Louisville this offseason. Gabriel, a five-star recruit, was the top-rated player in New Jersey in 2009, according to the University of Louisville Official Athletic Site.
“I made the decision to move to a small school because it was more personal. I felt like I wasn’t getting enough attention out there,” Gabriel said.
The Rattlers also added Levan Clark. Clark, a junior from Division II powerhouse Lander University, was a top recruit out of Olympia High
School in Orlando in 2008.
Michael Moore, Maurice Wamukowa, and Marc Atkinson are the team’s three seniors expected to lead the young roster.
Last season, Moore (12-13, 3-0 MEAC) was All-MEAC First-Team while Wamukowa (12-10, 2-0 MEAC) earned second-team honors.
When asked if he was eyeing a rematch against SCSU, Moore said, “We have to shoot for the stars and not really think about South Carolina
State but think of everybody getting better as a whole and once that happens, South Carolina State should be no problem.”
“I just want us to get a ring,” the three-year team captain said. “That’s about it. Wherever coach puts me, wherever he plays me, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re in position to win a MEAC championship and do more than that.”
The Rattlers begin their fall schedule with the Thomasville Collegiate Invitational in Thomasville, Ga., Sept. 10-12.