By Edythe Bradley
Albany State University has captured the 2010 SBN Sports Black College National Football Championship. The Golden Rams posted an 11-1 record on the way to winning their first-ever SBN Jake Gaither National Championship Trophy.
“It is indeed an honor to be selected as the black college football national champions,” said head coach Mike White. “I am extremely proud of our student-athletes, especially our seniors, and coaches for an outstanding season and stellar performance on the field. We set many goals this season, and although we fell short of the NCAA Division II national championship, I am proud to be a Golden Ram.”
South Carolina State University was the preseason favorite to repeat as SBN National Champions while Albany State was chosen to finish in ninth place. Head Coach Mike White and his team won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship (SIAC) with a perfect 10-0 regular season record and that led to a first-round bye in the Division II Playoffs. The Golden Rams defeated Wingate University 30-28 in the second round. They advanced to the quarterfinals and lost to Delta State 28-7.
In final SBN Poll voting, Albany State University received 14 first-place votes and 254 points. Bethune Cookman University was second with nine first-place votes and 245 points. Texas-Southern University finished in third place with six first-place votes and 239 points, Grambling State University was ranked
fourth with 192 points and South Carolina State was fifth with 156 points. Florida A&M University was number six; the Rattlers also received one first-place vote. Tuskegee University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College and Shaw University rounded out the top 10.
Albany State University will be honored during the 37th Annual SBN Sports Black College All-American Awards Weekend on Feb. 11-12, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. American Urban Radio Networks will also be honoring the 24-member 2010 SBN All-American Team, SBN’s Coach of the Year and SBN’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year. Special invited guests include former SBN Black College All-Americans, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Arizona Cardinals), Jacoby Jones (Houston Texans) and Issac Redman (Pittsburgh Steelers). SBN Black College All-American committee members scheduled to attend include NFL Hall of Famer Mel Blount, L.C. Greenwood, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson and Doug Williams. The event’s keynote speaker is 1991 SBN Defensive Player of the Year, former New York Giants defensive end and current NFL ON FOX analyst Michael Strahan.
The SBN Sports Network is a division of American Urban Radio Networks, the largest African-American-owned radio network company in the country, with offices and bureaus in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Four ASU stars in Senior Bowl
Four Albany State University Golden Rams senior football players were invited to play in a national all-star game.
Wide receiver Ronnie Childs of the Golden Rams “Gold Rush” offense; and linebacker Jacob Hardwick, and defensive backs Mario Fuller and Prathon Wilkerson of the “Dirty Blue” defense were selected to play in the Second Annual Russell Athletic HBCU Senior Bowl, on Saturday, Dec. 18
in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. All four are members of the SIAC All-Conference First Team.
The Golden Rams star athletes played on the East Team with other Southern Intercollegiate Conference (SIAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) players against the West Team and face senior players from the Mid-eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). The East Team was coached by Florida A&M University head coach Joe Taylor, while the West team was coached by Tuskegee University head coach Willie Slater. The HBCU Bowl is the nation’s only post-season football game that showcases the top Division-IAA and Division-II HBCU football talent. The top 100 draft-eligible seniors (including 10 alternate players) from all HBCU football conferences were selected to participate in the HBCU Bowl
Childs led the Golden Rams receivers with 1005 yards on 45 receptions for 12 touchdowns. The Manchester, Ga. native averaged 83.8 yards per game and 22.3 yards per catch. He is ranked first in the SIAC and 39th in NCAA Division II in receiving yards per game.
A Virginia Beach, Va. native, Hardwick recorded 13.5 sacks for 104 yards during his senior campaign. He also had 56 tackles with 22 for a loss of 134 yards, five pass breakups, five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He is first in the SIAC and fifth in the nation in sacks. He is also number two in the SIAC and tied for sixth place in tackles for loss.
Wilkerson, a Statesboro, Ga. native, led the SIAC and is 10th in Division II in interceptions with seven for 106 yards and a touchdown. He also recorded 38 tackles, including 27 solos, and 16 pass breakups.
A Jesup, Ga. native, Fuller recorded 59 tackles, including 37 solos, with three for a loss. He also had three pass breakups and an interception for 14 yards.
Other SIAC players include Nykeem Barton, Antoine Mitchell, Joshua Harris, Ronald Smith, Kelvin Robbins, Danny Anderson, Brian King, Darian Barnes, Michael Stevens of Tuskegee; Ricardo Lockette, Dionte Dinkins, Darnell Burks, Jason Thompson and Trevon Williams of Fort Valley State University; Darrick Addai, Ian Mullen, Brandon Cunningham, Miles Stroter, Derrin Nettles and Stacey Louis of Morehouse College. Winston Thompson of Clark Atlanta University; Michael Ricks of Stillman College; Jamaree Gordon of Kentucky State University, Kenny Peaks of Miles College and Marquez Gilbson of Benedict College were also invited to participate.