Florida A&M’s Joe Taylor, coming off a season-ending six-game winning streak (including an emotional victory over in-state league rival Bethune-Cookman) and the MEAC co-championship, boasts a deep roster with 24 seniors. Still, there have been some interesting camp headlines.
Two transfer talents have made early impressions, linebacker Kevin Nelson (of Miami, once rated the No. 3 linebacker in Florida by ESPN) and slot receiver Al-Terek McBurse (Purdue). They will likely see immediate playing time, since FAMU linebacker Willie Ferrell and receiver T.J. Lawrence have been declared academically ineligible to play.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman cornerback Peter Tulloch is making a run at filling in on a secondary unit that lost Curtis Holcomb to the San Francisco 49ers and Qier Hall to graduation. Tulloch is part of a bustling group of talent, including Marvin Ross, Jerral Stewart, Terry Johnson and Alexander Ajayi. He’ll almost certainly see some time on special teams, along with true freshman tight end Mike Morris.
Of course, getting picked to finish third in the preseason Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference polls, despite 2010’s successes, will get everybody fired up — even the new guys. Florida A&M, somehow, seems to be getting more notice nationally than in its own conference: The Rattlers will start the season as the highest nationally ranked MEAC team, after the College Sporting News put FAMU at No. 22 in its Top 25 poll — one spot ahead of Bethune-Cookman.
Florida A&M’s 2011 season gets underway on Sept. 3 against Fort Valley State.