|SCSU alum earns top NFL honor|
|Published Thursday, February 7, 2019|
Despite getting the shaft in the Pro Bowl voting, Indianapolis Colts rookie defensive lineman and South Carolina State alumnus, Darius Leonard, was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year at the NFL Honors banquet last weekend. It was the second rookie of the year award Leonard has received this season, in addition to being selected first-team All-Pro by The Associated Press.
Leonard, a three-time MEAC defensive player of the year, led the NFL in total tackles (163) and solo tackles (111), and ranked second among rookies in sacks with seven. Leonard wasted little time making his name known with a 19-tackle (15 solo) performance against the Washington Redskins in Week 2.
Graduate assistant Neil Williams recently attended the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar in Indianapolis. The ELS is a three-day program on professional development and leadership for graduate assistants and interns.
“Neil Williams has done a stellar job here with NCCU football, and I felt it was time for him to expound on his experiences here and take it to another level,” said NCCU director of football operations Travis Taylor, who recommended Williams for the program.
Former defensive back Donald Jones Jr. recently signed with the Carolina Predators of the new American Arena League.
The Smithfield native played for Shaw from 2015-18, recording 32 tackles and one interception. The Predators begin their season on March 16. Visit aalfootball.com.
Aggies release schedule
Two-time MEAC champion North Carolina A&T will play two top FCS opponents and a major FBS team as part of its 2019 schedule.
The Aggies open the season with three nonconference matchups: Elon, Charleston Southern and Duke. While A&T leads the Elon series 7-4, Charleston Southern and Duke are first-time opponents.
Against Duke, the Aggies will seek a fourth win over an FBS opponent in as many seasons.
“We are continuing to up the ante,” coach Sam Washington said. “We want to be in the top echelon of FCS teams and in order to do that, you have to play the teams that are considered in the top echelon of FCS programs.”
Howard returns to the schedule on Oct 26 after a two-year hiatus, which is also the Aggies homecoming. The regular season ends Nov. 23 in Greensboro against archrival NCCU and former A&T assistant/now Eagles head coach Trei Oliver.
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