|Hero Sports, Athlon recognize N.C. A&T football|
|Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018|
GREENSBORO – HERO Sports released its 2018 preseason Football Championship Subdivision All-American teams and preseason Top 25.
N.C. A&T was a part of both. Three members from A&T’s 12-0 MEAC championship, Celebration Bowl winning team earned recognition on one of the three All-American teams.
Sophomore cornerback Frank McCain and senior running back Marquell Cartwright were second-team selections while junior wide receiver Elijah Bell was named to the third team.
In addition, the Aggies are ranked preseason No. 20 by Hero Sports. Earlier this month, Athlon Media Group ranked the Aggies preseason No. 20.
McCain earned numerous accolades after a superb freshman season. He ended the season as a first-team, All-MEAC selection. He also earned All-American honors from three different organizations, including the Associated Press (third team), Phil Steele magazine (FCS All-American freshman) and BOWTOROW (first team).
McCain had back-to-back weeks all defensive backs would dream of. On Sept. 16, at the Charlotte 49ers, McCain intercepted two passes ,including a game-winning, 74-yard pick-6 that led the Aggies to a 35-31 upset win over the FBS institution. The following week at Morgan State, he had three interceptions.
Two of those INTs went for touchdowns: one was a 100-yard return while the other went for 78 yards. McCain was also named Celebration Bowl Defensive MVP after he intercepted a pass in the end zone to prevent a Grambling State touchdown. McCain had six interceptions for 274 return yards in 2017.
Cartwright had the difficult task of replacing legendary running back Tarik Cohen. He had five 100-yard games during the season. He rushed for 1,190 yards and 14 touchdowns on 244 carries. His best game of the season came on Sept. 23 at Morgan State, when he ran for 176 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Cartwright earned Celebration Bowl Offensive MVP honors by rushing for 110 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Bell has already had an incredible career at N.C. A&T, and he still has two years of eligibility remaining. Bell also had a big Celebration Bowl game where he caught 10 passes for 95 yards.
During the season, Bell caught 64 passes for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns. He needs seven TD receptions this season to become the Aggies all-time leader.
N.C. A&T opens the season in the ESPN FCS Showcase against nationally-ranked Jacksonville State in Montgomery, Alabama, on Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. Jacksonville State is preseason No. 10 in the Hero Sports preseason poll and No. 8 in the Athlon poll.
The Aggies lost four starters along the offensive line but return five offensive starters. The defense returns eight starters.
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