Rattler football seeking new talent, holds try outs for walk-ons

Students compete in one-on-one drills. Photo Submitted by Ary Payne

With the first game for the Florida A&M Rattlers officially in the history books, head coach Willie Simmons is still looking to add more talent to the roster, as 20 students arrived at Bragg Memorial Stadium Tuesday morning for the second part of the walk-on tryouts.

While some may be scratching their heads as to why the Rattlers would be holding walk-on tryouts going into the season, Coach Simmons was able to justify his reasoning.

“Well, there are a lot of processes that need to take place to have a tryout. So, we wanted to give these young men the opportunity to get their physicals, get cleared (to tryout), check NCAA eligibility, and all that takes a couple of weeks to get all of that done,” Simmons stated.

“We wanted to allow the semester to begin to allow as many guys to try-out for the team as possible,” Simmons added. 

Simmons also went on to explain why it was important for him to give FAMU students a chance to be a member of the team.

“First and foremost, you want to give the young men the opportunity to show what they are capable of, as a staff we have some positional needs that we’ll look to possibly fill through a try-out, but again I think it is important that you give students a chance to showcase their ability, there have been many guys on this current team now, who have made this team based on walk-on tryouts,” Simmons said.

 “We have had guys start a lot of games for us that made the team from a walk-on tryout,” Simmons stated.

Miami native and former dual-threat quarterback at Palmetto High School, Cariq Rackley was the only quarterback to tryout on Tuesday. Although his play puts him the category of a dual-threat quarterback, Rackley quickly dispelled that myth and described his other on-field attributes that could help the Rattlers.

“I could do many things to help the team win, I’m not a one-dimensional player, I pride myself on being able to do many things,” Rackley said.

 Coming out of the gate, Rackley was able to show his pinpoint accuracy by throwing one accurate pass after another to a multitude of receivers.

 In hopes of getting the go-ahead nod from Coach Simmons, Rackley was able to express his profound interest if he were to make the final cut.

 He lastly added, “It would mean everything to me if I made the team I have been working my whole life to get the opportunity to play college football.” 

Also, fellow Jacksonville, Fla. native Derrick Hogan tried out for one of the running back positions for FAMU. Hogan saw himself play the running back position at Andrew Jackson high school. 

As a person who has recently been through a lot of personal matters throughout the past couple of years, Hogan described the importance of this opportunity and will look to write a new chapter in his life.

 “It would mean a lot considering that in the past couple of years I’ve been going through a lot of family problems, but football is a release and I just love it,” Hogan exclaimed.

Hogan will also look to bring a breath of fresh air in terms of leadership to the team.

 “A good team starts with good leaders and on the field, from what I saw it doesn’t look like it’s too many leaders, so I feel like I could bring leadership most of all.” 

Now as the players patiently await, the FAMU coaching staff will deliberate on who will fill the remaining roster spot.