Although Florida A&M’s football season ended in disappointment, there were still some notable Rattlers who were awarded Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) team honors this past Monday.
Chris Faddoul, FAMU’s sophomore punter, was able to find his way onto the All-MEAC first team as he led the conference in yards per punt (46.8). When Faddoul first got the news of his achievement, he described his initial feelings and credited all his hard work in the offseason and how it paid off.
“I felt accomplished, all the work that I put in during the offseason throughout the regular season really paid off,” Faddoul said. “The coaching staff has been the most comfortable and understanding group of coaches I’ve ever played for. That says a lot because when you’re comfortable you tend to play better as opposed to getting chewed out for messing up.”
Faddoul, along with senior linebacker Antonio Miller and offensive lineman Obinna Nwanko, were the three FAMU players to receive first team All-MEAC honors. Although Nwanko was thankful to receive a post-season award, he felt as if there were a few parts of his game that can be improved.
“I really didn’t get the chance to work out this past offseason as much I wanted to, because I was recovering from a surgery. There are a lot of things I need to work on, but my strength is probably the most glaring,” Nwanko said.
Coming off of an amazing season where Deshawn Smith more than thrived in the Rattlers lethal rushing attack, Smith saw himself pick up an astonishing 676 yards on 96 carries to go along with four touchdowns on the ground and was awarded All-MEAC second team honors. Not only did Smith showcase the talent of an elite running back within the MEAC, but why his award was more than justified.
In an interview with the Famuan, Smith reflected on his motivation before the season along with the relationships from players and coaches that helped push him to be his best throughout the season.
“Really the whole staff motivated me in different ways, as they always told me to keep pushing. My strength and conditioning coach Parker Brooks along with my running backs coach (Joe Henry) really worked with me from the beginning of the offseason throughout the regular season as they were always hard on me and constantly critiquing me about my technique,” Smith said.
“Also the O linemen (Offensive Linemen) along with Bishop (Bonnett) and Ricky (Henrilus) motivated me as we were able to push each other's buttons and help bring the best out of each other as the season progressed.”
When asked where the team is headed after multiple teammates received All- MEAC team honors ranging from the offense, defense, and special teams, Nwanko felt as if the senior class really set the standard moving forward for the Rattlers.
“The senior class really set the tone for us as a team and we have to keep that going. We’re not going to wait for them to let us in, we’re going to have that mentality where we’re just going to kick the door down.”
Freshman wide receiver Xavier Smith, graduate O-lineman Loubens Polinice and senior kicker Yaia Aly were the other Rattlers to receive second team awards, while junior quarterback Ryan Stanley, sophomore receiver Chad Hunter, junior linebacker Elijah Richardson and junior defensive back Terry Jefferson received third team awards.