FAMU freshman receives MEAC honors

Freshman center fielder Willis McDaniel
Courtesy of FAMU Athletics

Florida A&M’s baseball freshman has received another The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference accolade.

Freshman Willis McDaniel, a 2015 graduate of Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, has been named MEAC Rookie of the Week for the second time this season after batting .462 over a four game stretch for the week of March 28 to April 2.

McDaniel, who was a two-sport athlete while attending Lincoln High School, made the decision to devote his attention fully to baseball and it has paid great dividends for him.

His decision to be a one-sport athlete came from the positive direction he saw FAMU baseball heading toward.

“Coming to FAMU, I saw the tradition and the steps they were making here so I decided to just play baseball,” McDaniel said.

Third-year coach Jamey Shouppe has been equally impressed with his star freshman.

“For the first time in his life he’s playing baseball full time and he’s not playing another sport like football, too,” he said to the Democrat. “We’re very excited for him. He’s going to play a lot of baseball for us.”

He added that McDaniel has a very exciting future ahead of him.

“Every at-bat it’s like putting money in the bank. He’s going to pay dividends for us in the future,” Shouppe said.

The Rattlers were able to put together a 3-1 record in the week that helped McDaniels receive the MEAC honor.

In the three-game sweep over North Carolina Central, McDaniel put together a .600 batting average accompanied by a 1.000 slugging percentage.

For McDaniels, his ROW performance was about going back to the basics.

“Teams were starting to pitch me differently so before those games I went back to the basics and just changed my stance and started back hitting,” he said.

McDaniel said being named MEAC Rookie of the week for the second time is a great feeling and that it gets better and better every time. He said that his goal is to continue his great play to contribute to the team.

“I’m trying to just continue to compete and do everything I can and hopefully win Rookie of the Year and help this team win any way I can.”

The Rattlers currently stand at No. 1 in the Southern Division of the MEAC Conference thanks to an 21-10 record and their 11-1 record in Conference play.

They undoubtedly have their sights set on being MEAC Champions for the second consecutive year.

Their next game is Saturday in double header against Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.