FAMU places six on All-MEAC preseason football teams

Special to the Outlook

Six FAMU student-athletes were named to the 2020 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason teams,  the league announced last Thursday.

Earning first-team honors were wide receiver Xavier Smith, offensive lineman Keenan Forbes, defensive back Markquese Bell and punter Chris Faddoul, while wide receiver David Manigo and center Bryan Crawford landed on the second-team.

Smith, who was selected to the College Football America Yearbook’s FCS Preseason Starting Lineup, College Sports Journal Preseason FCS All-American Team and Hero Sports Preseason All-American Second Team, will look to build off his phenomenal sophomore season. He led the MEAC in receiving yards (1,159) and receptions (77). 

Xavier Smith

Smith was the only receiver in the MEAC to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark last season and was also second in the MEAC in TD receptions with 11. In addition, Smith ranked fifth nationally in receiving yards per game, ninth in receptions per game, ninth in receiving yards and 16th in receiving touchdowns. Smith also earned First-Team All-MEAC honors in 2019.

Forbes, who earned All-MEAC First-Team honors last season and was also named to the 2020 HERO Sports Preseason All-American Third Team, was a key member of an offensive line that gave up a league low eight sacks through 11 games. 

 Keenan Forbes

Bell, who was selected to the College Sports Journal Preseason FCS All-American Team, had a remarkable 2019 campaign, which landed him as a MEAC First-Team selection and Hero Sports Sophomore Honorable Mention All-American. Bell tied for the league lead in interceptions with five and had 38 solo tackles (61 total) with five for loss.

Faddoul, who was selected to the College Football America Yearbook’s FCS preseason starting lineup, College Sports Journal Preseason FCS All-American Team and Hero Sports Preseason All-American First Team, has been one of the most consistent punters over the past two years in NCAA Division I FCS. As a sophomore, he led the country in punting and during his junior campaign, the native of Wesley Chapel, Fla., finished second in that category.

Last season, Faddoul, a 2019 First-Team All-MEAC selection, showcased his powerful leg all season long by averaging 46.0 yards per punt. He registered 40 punts for 1,841 yards, with 19 punts placed inside the 20-yardline, with only five touchbacks. In addition, Faddoul had a season-long punt of 72 yards on Oct. 20 in an overtime win over nationally-ranked North Carolina A&T State.

Manigo had a successful sophomore campaign in 2019, playing in eight games and finishing second on the team in receptions (41), yards (575), yards per catch (14.02), touchdowns (5) and yards per game (71.88).

Crawford, a redshirt-junior and leader on the offensive line, helped protect record setting quarterback, Ryan Stanley, by leading a unit that gave up a league-low eight sacks through 11 games in 2019.

Running back Jah-Maine Martin of North Carolina A&T was named MEAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while A&T linebacker, Kyin Howard, was named MEAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

The fall 2020 season is currently slated to be played in the spring, pending conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and NCAA scheduling guidelines for fall championships being played in the spring.