By Donal Ware
College Sports Journal
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Howard linebacker Keith Pough, North Carolina A&T running back Mike Mayhew, Alabama State free safety Kejuan Riley, and Jackson State defensive end Joseph LeBeau are just four of the players who make up the 2012 Boxtorow Preseason HBCU All-America football team.
The preseason team is made up of 27 of the top HBCU football players in the country. The voters are comprised of some of the top American writers and media members who cover HBCU football.
Winston-Salem State quarterback Kameron Smith earned the nod in a very close vote. In 2011, Smith completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,706 yards with 33 touchdowns, while registering a pass efficiency of 147.7.
Smith helped to lead the Rams — who recently moved from the Football Championship Subdivision ranks back to NCAA Division II — to the Boxtorow HBCU National Championship (media).
Joining Smith in the backfield is Mayhew and Morehouse's David Carter.
A 2011 Boxtorow All-American, Mayhew followed up a 1,000-yard sophomore season with a 1000-yard junior season last year, leading the MEAC in rushing (1,120 yards) on 231 carries with nine touchdowns. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
Carter, who was named the SIAC preseason player of the year, has also rushed for over 1,000 yards each of the last two season and led all HBCU players in rushing yards per game (149.5).
Carter rushed for 1,495, leading the SIAC and averaging 6.1 yards per carry, while scoring 19 touchdowns.
The offensive line is led by two Boxtorow All-Americans from a year ago.
Grambling's Sanford Banks, a two-time Boxtorow All-American. helped running back Dawrence Roberts rush for a SWAC-leading 110.2 yards per game (1,102 yards and eight touchdowns). It was the second-straight year that the Tigers had a 1,000-yard back.
Norfolk State guard Blake Matthews was the anchor of the Spartans offensive line that ranked second in the MEAC in total offense (393.8) and helped quarterback Chris Walley to MEAC Offensive Co-MVP honors last season.
Joining Banks and Matthews on the offensive line is Jamal Johnson-Webb of Alabama A&M, Terren Jones of Alabama State, Markus Lawrence of Winston-Salem State, and Steven Robinson of Florida A&M.
Another 2011 Boxtorow All-American, Xavier Boyce of Norfolk State, and Jackson State's Rico Richardson makeup the wide receiver corps.
Boyce was instrumental in the Spartans run to the MEAC Championship last year, recording 68 receptions for 750 yards and four touchdowns.
Richardson had just 36 receptions but for 853 yards and he caught 11 touchdown passes. His 23.7 yards per reception led the SWAC.
The tight ends are E.J. Drewery of Jackson State and Joseph Hawkins of
Drewery recorded 26 receptions for 356 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 13.6 yards per reception.
Hawkins had 17 receptions for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns and averaged 13.9 yards per reception.
Howard linebacker Keith Pough leads the defensive unit.
A Boxtorow All-American last year, Pough tied for lead in the MEAC in tackles (120) and stopped opponents behind the line of scrimmage 21 times, while also registering three sacks.
Pough has registered more than 100 tackles the last two seasons and is on the prestigious Buchanan Award watch list for the most outstanding defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Joining Pough is Prairie View A&M linebacker Raheem Cardwell and Bethune-Cookman linebacker Jarkevis Fields.
Cardwell registered 66 tackles (44 solo) and seven tackles for loss, while Fields registered 76 tackles (31 solo) and six tackles for loss.
The players on the defensive line had 42 sacks between them in 2011.
Leading the unit is LeBeau who is the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and is also on the Buchanan Award watch list. LeBeau registered 15.5 sacks last year which was second in the SWAC, 24.5 tackles for loss, and 75 tackles (44 solo).
Justin Blah of Albany State was first team All-SIAC in 2011 when he registered six sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 43 tackles (24 solo) and four pass breakups.
Lincoln's Tim Green had a dominating year in the CIAA as he led the league in sacks (15.5), tackles for loss (22), while also registering 56 tackles (42 solo).
Carlton Jones of Alabama State rounds out the defensive line, having recorded 38 tackles (18 solo), 11 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2011.
Riley is the headliner of a very talented secondary. A Boxtorow All-American in 2011 he is also on the Buchanan Award watch list.
Riley led all HBCU players in interceptions (9), while registering 75 tackles (46 solo) and four pass break-ups.
Joining Riley in the defensive backfield is Qua Cox of Jackson State who had nine pass breakups, three interceptions, 34 tackles (24 solo) and 2.5 tackles for loss, DeVontae Johnson of Florida A&M who led the MEAC with five interceptions, registered five pass breakups and 32 tackles (25 solo), and Vernon Marshall of Alabama A&M who 75 tackles (44 solo), 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and broke up three passes, round out the secondary.
The specialists are all newcomers to the team.
Norfolk State kicker Everett Goldberg replaces teammate Ryan Estep after connecting on 6-of-10 field goals in 2011, three of which were 50 or more yards. His other three makes were from 47, 47, and 48 yards.
Punter Bobby Wenzig of Alabama State averaged 41.4 yards per punt, had 17 punts of 50 or more yards and 21 punts downed inside the 20 yard line in 2011.
Tennessee State's Weldon Garlington embodies the term return specialist. He led the OVC in punt return average (19.4) and returned a punt for a touchdown, while also averaging 20.9 yards per kick return and scoring a touchdown.
This is the sixth year of the Boxtorow Preseason HBCU Football All-American team. FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW and Boxtorow Lunch are the national sports talk shows which place major emphasis on HBCU Sports.
FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW airs on radio stations around the country. Boxtorow Lunch airs Fridays from 1-2 p.m. ET on SiriusXM Channel 141. For more information log onto www.boxtorow.com
2012 Boxtorow Preseason HBCU All-American Team
QB: Kameron Smith, Winston-Salem State, 6-0, 180. Sr., Garner, N.C.
RB: David Carter, Morehouse, 5-10, 225, Sr., Marietta, Ga.
RB: Mike Mayhew, North Carolina A&T, 5-10, 205, Sr., Charlotte, N.C.*
OL: Sanford Banks, Grambling State, 6-4, 319, r-Jr., Columbus, Ga.**
OL: Jamal Johnson-Webb, Alabama A&M, 6-6, 306, Sr., Atlanta, Ga.
OL: Terren Jones, Alabama State, 6-7, 320, Sr., Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
OL: Markus Lawrence, Winston-Salem St., 6-4, 280, Sr., Charlotte, N.C.
OL: Blake Matthews, Norfolk State, 6-4, 315, r-Sr., Manassas, Va.*
OL: Steven Robinson, Florida A&M, 6-3, 300, r-Sr., Tallahassee, Fla.
TE: E.J. Drewery, Jackson State, 6-6, 220, Sr., Chesapeake, Va.
TE: Joseph Hawkins, Norfolk State, 6-3, 245, Sr., Chicago, Ill.
WR: Xavier Boyce, Norfolk State, 6-4, 220, r-Sr., Virginia Beach, Va.*
WR: Rico Richardson, Jackson State, 6-1, 185, Sr., Natchez, Miss.
DL: Justin Blash, Albany State, 6-5, Sr., Alma, Ga.
DL: Tim Green, Lincoln (Pa.), 6-0, 225, Sr., Plainfield, N.J.
DL: Carlton Jones, Alabama State, 6-3, 230, Jr., Shreveport, La.
DL: Joseph LeBeau, Jackson State, 6-1, 245, Sr., New Orleans, La.*
LB: Raheem Cardwell, Prairie View A&M, 6-2, 225, r-Jr., Alexandria, Va.
LB: Jarkevis Fields, Bethune-Cookman, 6-0, 230, r-Jr., Sanford, Fla.
LB: Keith Pough, Howard, 6-3, 225, r-Sr., Orangeburg, S.C.*
DB: Qua Cox, Jackson State, 6-0, 185, r-Jr., Tuskegee, Ala.
DB: DeVontae Johnson, Florida A&M, 6-0, 183, Soph., Tallahassee, Fla.
DB: Vernon Marshall, Alabama A&M, 5-11, 188, Sr., Birmingham, Ala.
DB: Kejuan Riley, Alabama State, 6-0, 182, Sr., Wetumpka, Ala.*
PK: Everett Goldberg, Norfolk State, 6-4, 210, Sr., Mesa Ridge, Col.
P: Bobby Wenzig, Alabama State, 6-2, 180, Jr., San Diego, Calif.
RS: Weldon Garlington, Tennessee State, 5-10, 160, Soph., Antioch, Tenn.
*Denotes previous All-American selections