Florida A&M Rattlers
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Coach: Willie Simmons (6-5), 2nd Season at FAMU
Stadium: Bragg Memorial Stadium (Capacity: 25,500)
195th: Division I
2018 In A Sentence: FAMU was oh-so-close to being “back” last year after years of losing records. After a 6-2 start, the Rattlers lost their last three games to finish 6-5, including a 33-19 loss to archrival Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: FAMU’s two bookend tackles, OL Myles Rouse and OL Patrick Dalton, graduate and open up a question as to what the Rattlers’ offensive line might look like for 2019.
Key Player: With all the additional success that FAMU enjoyed last year, it might be odd to tab P Chris Faddoul as the Rattlers’ key player. But Faddoul is an exceptional athlete that is the best punter in FCS by a wide margin, averaging 46.8 yards per punt and routinely booming 50+ yard punts in a game – including a 67 yarder. Only a junior, he needs to learn to evade the block team a bit better, but if he continues the path he’s on, the former soccer player from Beiriut, Lebanon will be playing on Sundays as either a punter or kicker.
Fearless Prediction: Head coach Willie Simmons has finally breathed life into what had been an exceedingly mediocre Rattler football program. Hoping to build off their 6-5 record last year, clearly the next step for the famously impatient Rattler fans is for FAMU to be competing for a MEAC title. (This summer, FAMU was hit with a postseason ban because they mis-certifed 93 student-athletes in their athletics program.) QB Ryan Stanley returns for his final year of eligibility, and if he can get hot and minimize his mistakes, FAMU can get there. But it won’t be easy with two powerhouses – North Carolina A&T and archrival Bethune-Cookman – sitting in the way.