N.C. A&T notches nine MEAC Preseason First-Team recipients

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An inside look of Truist stadium, the home of the N.C. A&T State Aggies.

Alexis Davis, Contributor

The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) named it’s preseason all conference teams today. The Aggies had nine players make the All-MEAC preseason first-team, including the 2020 MEAC preseason Offensive Player of the Year Jah-Maine Martin and Defensive Player of the Year Kyin Howard. In addition to Martin and Howard, Zachary Leslie, Dacquari Wilson, Dontae Keys, Jermaine McDaniel, Jacob Roberts, Joseph Stuckey and Mac McCain III made All-MEAC preseason first team. 

Unfortunately, there will not be any Aggie football this season, but the cancellation did not stop the team from securing various high honors and recognition.

The selection of the All-MEAC preseason first-team is determined by the head coaches of the MEAC, and sport information directors with presentations from TowneBank. N.C. A&T led all teams with nine players selected to the first-team.

“For me, it is important to work the level I’m on. I am nowhere close to where I want to be. There are always things I can do to improve my game. For a pretty long time, I felt like I was not getting the recognition I deserve, but it only made me go harder on and off the field,” said Kyin Howard, a linebacker at N.C. A&T and Defensive Player of the Year.

Howard has worked his way up behind the scenes. In 2019, he helped lead N.C. A&T to become the fourth best team in the nation in run defense and the sixth best in total defense. Howard is a born leader and never turns his back to his teammates on the field.

”Howard was one of the leaders on defense for the Aggies. He led the team in tackles with 79 recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and two forced fumbles on the season,” per Greensboro Sports.

Moreover, Howard expresses there are two elements essential to standing out and keeping everything to secure such a high honor.

“To keep my mind clear on the field and prevent stress, I make sure I do not procrastinate and handle my schoolwork. Keeping my assignments in order makes me feel relieved and in control. 

Sometimes the student part of student-athlete is not catered to, but I try to do an active job to uphold being a student,” Howard said.

With one eye-catching play, a player can get on the radiator of various people, but it takes consistency to continue to perform at a high-level year after year. Jah-Maine Martin embodies the idea of outdoing yourself.

Martin earned this first-team selection after he led the nation in yards per attempt (7.73) and touchdowns (23).

Martin isn’t new to recognition and accolades. Last year alone, Martin received MEAC Offensive Player of the Week five times, he was listed on the 2019 Walter Payton Award Watch List and was a finalist for the Black College Football Player of the Year Award.