Rattler Nation is excited about what’s in store for the Florida A&M football team. As the new season approaches, FAMU celebrated its National Signing Day on February 5, 2020. At the celebration, students, staff, and many more joined together to get a first peek at what the season has in store. Emphasizing the fact that this had been one of the best recruiting seasons FAMU has ever seen with receiving eight 3-star recruits.
Excitement stirred up in the room as FAMU Head Football Coach Willie Simmons discussed the incoming talent that the school took on for the 2020 football season. As the university signed 17 players: nine offensive players, five linemen, two wide receivers, one quarterback, and one running back. On the defensive side of the ball, the team added some talent as well as landing four defensive backs, three linemen, and one linebacker. Not to leave out the three transfer players who will participate in spring practices as well as the Orange and Green game this year.
Ryan Smith, linebacker coach & recruiting coordinator, explained that this year’s recruiting process was the best one yet.
“Eight three-star recruits a two-star signee, and an Army All American four-star signee and we are waiting on a few three-star guys to send in paperwork so it’s a good day all in all,” Smith said. When asked about the toughness of recruiting, Smith explained that it is about the relationships you build as well as first impressions.
Last year, the Rattlers had a 9-2 record all while holding the number one spot in the Middle Eastern Atlantic Conference. According to Coach Simmons, who is going into his third year as head coach, the road to a successful season will be essential based on the seven F’s.
“Long as we stay true to who we are and that means having faith, playing with great fundamentals, you know being fast, knowing how to fight, overcoming adversity, finishing everything we start, having a lot of fun, and being a family,” Coach Simmons stated. He expressed that while we did lose Ryan Stanley, who served as the star QB at FAMU for four years, we can never replace him.
All the while, the team has a new look onto leadership as they bring on John Holcombe, a transfer QB from Kansas State. Simmons says that Holcombe as well as Rasean Mckay, a current FAMU quarterback, and many more will provide the team with a better look as to who will take on the leadership position.
Fans had been concerned about the issue of having only three home games this season. Coach Simmons addressed it as an opportunity to push the players to play hard no matter where they go.
Alongside staff and students, board members and more came together to grant the Athletics Department and the football team with a lump sum of money. The National Alumni Association here at FAMU provided the football team with a generous check of $18,000 and the athletic department received a check of $40,000. These generous gifts will aid the team and department in a successful year.
Kortne Gosha, Florida A&M’s Director of Athletics, expressed that this would impact the program tremendously.
“There’s recruiting, travel, fundraising, there’s recruiting student-athletes, getting student-athletes strong and all of those things cost and quite honestly our biggest Achilles heel right now is making sure we have the facility infrastructure to support our program and take it to the next level,” Gosha stated. With the funding provided by the NAA, the department will be able to thrive and bring on more opportunities for the upcoming seasons.
Fans will be able to get a first look at the very promising season as the university will hold the Orange and Green game on Saturday, March 28, 2020, at Bragg Memorial Stadium.