HBCU Football: Can Florida A&M contend in first year in the SWAC?

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The landscape of the HBCU football has changed. Former MEAC members Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University left the MEAC and now make their home in the Southwest Athletic Conference.

The Rattlers have not played football since 2019 and cannot wait to get back on the field against live competition.

Florida A&M comes into a loaded SWAC East. Jackson State is retooled after a disappointing end to their spring. The Alabama State Hornets have one of the best running backs in the conference in Ezra Gray.

Interstate rival Bethune-Cookman joins the Florida A&M in the SWAC, and the Wildcats won the Florida Blue Classic last season. Then there is spring SWAC champion, Alabama A&M. The Bulldogs have the best player in the SWAC, quarterback Aqeel Glass.

Despite how loaded the SWAC East is, the Rattlers bring a fair amount of talent to the table. Xavier Smith might be the best wide receiver in the conference. FAMU also had two defensive players named to the preseason All-SWAC second team.

Expect the Rattlers to fit right into the SWAC and compete for the division title this season. There are some holes FAMU has to fill, but they will be fine this fall.

Here is a closer look at the Rattlers’ offense, defense, and schedule.

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