By Ebony Ivey/FAMU Sports Information intern
Tallahassee, Fla. (Feb. 7) - In observance of National Signing Day 2018, Rattler supporters, staff and fans convened at The Moon Entertainment facility Wednesday evening to kick-off the upcoming football season. The celebration included a preview of the newly committed class of Rattler recruits and details about what is being coined as a new “Willenium” under the direction of cutting-edge head coach Willie Simmons.
To commence the celebration, Interim Athletic Director John Eason, Ph.D. took the stage to explain that the winner mentality in Simmons, is exactly what he was looking for in a new head coach. “I did not want an average guy. I wanted someone to be a part of us that was used to winning, that had high expectations of himself, his staff, and his players.” said Eason. “That is why the young man from Quincy, Florida is your new head football coach.”
Under Simmons, the Rattlers will tout an experienced coaching staff to include former Alabama A&M head football coach, James Spady; Kenneth Gilstrap, who left high school with the third best 100-meter dash time in the nation, and several others who Simmons brought along from Prairie View A&M.
As for the recruits, Simmons was adamant about his freshly committed class, stating that he and his staff endured many sleepless nights and traveled both near and far, to not only usher in top talent, but also feed winners into the program on the highest of seven hills.
The 2018 class will encompass explosive running backs, hard-hitting linebackers, a few JuCo transfers, some double sport athletes and four All-Big Bend players including Big Bend Offensive player of the Year, Derrick Staten Jr from Madison County High School.
“They understand what it means to be a part of a winning tradition, and what it means to get up at six in the morning to workout and lift weights,” said Simmons. “We don’t have to pull these guys’ arms to make them understand what a winning culture is. They already know what hard work is, they already know what winning is, they already know what success is and to me that’s the winning formula.”
National Signing Day attendee Donna Washington expressed her sentiments on what is to come. “I think we have a good coach. He seems to be very excited about his position, his team, and excited about his coaching staff, and from looking out in the audience you can see that everybody is excited that he is here,” said Washington.
In addition to 24 signees and a rookie coaching staff, the upcoming season will introduce six home games, and the first ever million dollar athletic campaign to benefit the student-athletes at FAMU.
2018 FAMU Football Recruits
* First Round (as of 5:00 p.m. ET- Feb.7)
Le'John Howard QB 6'2" 180 McDonogh 35 HS (LA) Davonne "Bo" Kendrick RB 5'10" 195 Miami Northwestern HS Derrick Staten, Jr. RB 5'8" 165 Madison County HS Eddie Tillman, III RB 5'11" 180 McDonogh 35 HS (LA) Ferante Cowart WR 5'9" 165 Rickards HS David Manigo WR 6'3" 185 Towers HS (GA) George Webb WR 5'10" 165 Raines HS Cameron Covin OL 6'5" 285 Lee County HS (GA) Stephen Nagbe OL 6'2" 290 Lake Mary HS Courtney Perkins OL 6'3" 295 Monroe HS (GA) Bradley Weatherington OL 6'3" 275 Vanguard HS Abu Bangura DL 6'3" 250 Stockbridge HS (GA) Brice Ingram DL 6'1" 245 Dr. Phillips HS Justin Cooks DL 6'4" 250 Durant HS Tony Mills DL 6'2" 270 Columbus HS Richard Summers DL 6'3" 310 Godby HS Isaiah Land DL 6'4" 210 Grayson HS (GA) Demetrius Powell LB 6'1" 225 ASA College (NY) / Blake HS Quinlan Gatlin LB 6'2" 225 Hillsborough HS Kyle Jackson LB 6'1" 215 St. Augustine HS (LA) Chris Metayer DB 6'3" 195 Miami Central HS Tim Williams DB 6'1" 175 Dr. Krop HS Eric "Dank" Smith DB 5'10" 170 Miami Norland HS Herman "Tre" Jackson, III DB 5'11" 175 Miami Southridge HS Jordan Dillard DB 6'2" 175 Miami Southridge HS