7 Rattlers take part in HBCU Legacy Bowl

Photo courtesy: HBCU Legacy Bowl

Saturday was an eventful day for Rattler Nation as there were events taking place all around the Tallahassee area. From the annual Harambee Festival put on by the university to the annual Black Business Expo put on by FAMU alumnus Vaughn Wilson and even the Black History Parade in neighboring Quincy, where former FAMU football coach Willie Simmons appeared in the parade along with The Marching 100.

However, that is not all. Seven Rattlers traveled to New Orleans for the annual HBCU Legacy Bowl.

Skilled players from different Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation were extended invitations to play in the game and showcase their talents. FAMU tied with Jackson State  in having the most players from one school playing in the game with seven players from each university. The seven FAMU players who accepted the invitation and played in Saturday’s game were quarterback Jeremy Moussa, wide receivers Marcus Riley and Jah’Marae Sheread, defensive back Eric Smith, tight end Kamari Young and offensive lineman Cameron Covin. Xavier Smith, a former FAMU standout who know plays with he Los Angeles Rams, also attended the game as a 2024 HBCU Legacy Bowl ambassador.

The players arrived in New Orleans for check-in on Monday, Feb. 19, and some participated in the HBCU Legacy Bowl combine. That is where Eric Smith showed his speed and was declared the fastest player at the combine running a 4.32 40-yard dash. The players were assigned their teams and practiced throughout the week to prepare for the game. 

The game was held Saturday at Yulman Stadium and aired at 4 p.m. on the NFL Network. There were two teams, Team Gaither, named after legendary FAMU coach Jake Gaither, and Team Robinson, named after legendary coach Eddie Robinson of Grambling State. 

Team Gaither was led by co-head coaches Larry Scott from Howard University and Alvin Parker from Virginia Union University. Team Robinson was led by co-head coaches Chennis Berry from South Carolina State University and Bubba McDowell from Prairie View A&M University. All FAMU players played on Team Robinson. 

During the first quarter, North Carolina Central quarterback Davius Richard started for Team Gaither and was able to get the team their first and only touchdown of the game as he completed a 4-yard rush touchdown. 

After scoring and being tackled, Richard was ruled out for the rest of the game. After the game, he was named Offensive Most Valuable Player. Defensive Most Valuable Player went to Zareon Hayes of Alabama A&M University. 

Also during the first half, Delaware State University kicker Jonathan Cardoza-Chicas made a 29-yard goal for Team Gaither giving them. 10-point lead at halftime.

In the fourth quarter, FAMU’s Jeremy Moussa passed to Lyndon Rash of Grambling while being tackled and Rash made a 28-yard touchdown for team Robinson, making it 10-6  — which was the final score for the game.

 Even though the team with the Rattlers lost, the Rattlers got a chance to showcase their abilities in one more game before the 2024 NFL Draft. Four out of the seven Rattlers have publicly announced they have declared for the draft. They are Isaiah Major, Jeremy Moussa, Marcus Riley and Eric Smith. 

The draft will take place in Detroit, starting Thursday, April 25, and concluding the following day.