By: Bijan C. Bayne
After a remarkable 7-4 season, the Bison are looking to achieve much more in 2018. But since this squad experienced a shocking turnaround in 2017, some players received huge preseason honors.
BOXTOROW named junior wide receiver Jequez Ezzard to its Preseason All-America Team. Media outlets from around the country voted for the 2018 BOXTOROW HBCU Preseason All-America Team.
Ezzard received the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Preseason honoree as a receiver and return specialist. He was named to the 2017 All-MEAC First Team and the 2017 Phil Steele’s Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-Conference First Team. Steele is a nationally recognized football analyst.
Ezzard’s 26.3 yards per reception ranked third nationally, and he led Howard in all-purpose yardage. He averaged 81.4 receiving yards per game, which led the MEAC.
“I am blessed for the opportunity to be one of those guys,” said Ezzard on being selected to the 2018 BOXTOROW HBCU Preseason All-America Team. “I credit my coaches and teammates because they push me every day. I want to thank them.”
When Steele named his FCS All-Conference Teams, the Bison honored wide receivers Kyle Anthony and Ezzard. Anthony, Ezzard, and defensive back Bryan Cook received First Team selections.
Offensive lineman James Holmon, placekicker Dakota Lebofsky, and quarterback Caylin Newton were Second Team selections. Lastly, offensive lineman Tyrone Ramsey received a Third Team selection.
Newton is the younger brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Caylin also received a 2018 HERO Sports Preseason All-American Third Team selection.
Furthermore, the Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced its 2018 Watch List for the Black College Football Player of the Year Award. Anthony, Ezzard, and Newton were listed.
“The recognition of those players is outstanding because of their work ethic and preparation,” said head coach Mike London. “Each player is humbled for the acknowledgement, but [they are] also hungry for the opportunities still out there for this program. There’s a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot [of] goals not only individually, but team goals they want to achieve.”
At the MEAC Football Media Day, Howard was selected to finish with the second-best record in the league (after North Carolina A&T State). “HBCU football has outstanding talent, as evidence in this year’s NFL Draft,” said Doug Williams — a Super Bowl MVP and BCFHOF co-founder. “This award is a way that the Black College Football Hall of Fame is able to recognize these talented student-athletes.”
When the Bison defeated UNLV last season, they garnered national coverage. Now, they have high hopes for 2018. Having a player whose brother is an NFL star also attracts significant press.
“It’s a blessing. I’m truly honored. This season, we’re looking to stay healthy and play together,” said Cook.