GREENSBORO (June 12, 2018) – HERO Sports released their 2018 preseason Football Championship Subdivision All-American teams and their preseason Top-25.
N.C. A&T was a part of both. Three members from N.C. A&T’s 12-0 MEAC Championship, Celebration Bowl winning team earned recognition on one of the three All-American teams.
Frank McCain (5-foot-11, 174, R-SO, cornerback, Greensboro, N.C.) and Marquell Cartwright (5-8, 171, R-SR, running back, High Point, N.C.) were second-team selections while Elijah Bell (6-2, 221, JR, wide receiver, Wheeling, WVa.) was named to the third team.
In addition, are ranked preseason No. 20 by Hero Sports. Earlier this month, Athlon Media Group ranked the Aggies preseason No. 20.
McCain earned numerous accolades after a superb freshman season for the Aggies. He ended the season as a first-team All-MEAC selection. He also earned All-American honors from three different organizations including the Associated Press (third team), Phil Steele Magazine (FCS All-American Freshman) and BoxToRow (first team).
McCain had back-to-back weeks all defensive backs would dream of. On Sept. 16 at the Charlotte 49ers, McCain intercepted two passes including a game-winning 74-yard pick-6 that led the Aggies to a 35-31 upset win over the FBS institution. The following week at Morgan State, he had three interceptions.
Two of those INTs went for touchdowns, one was a 100-yard return while the other went for 78 yards. McCain was also named Celebration Bowl Defensive MVP after he intercepted a pass in the end zone to prevent a Grambling State touchdown. McCain had six interceptions for 274 return yards in 2017.
Cartwright had the difficult task of replacing legendary Aggies running back Tarik Cohen. He did so admirably. Cartwright had five 100-yard games during the season. He rushed for 1,190 yards and 14 touchdowns on 244 carries. His best game of the season came on Sept. 23 at Morgan State when he ran for 176 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
His one score came on a season-best 72-yard run. Cartwright earned Celebration Bowl Offensive MVP honors by rushing for 110 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. He was a first-team All-MEAC selection as well as a Hero Sports and BoxToRow All-American.
Bell has already had an incredible career at N.C. A&T, and he still has two years of eligibility remaining. Bell also had a big Celebration Bowl game where he caught 10 passes for 95 yards. His biggest catch was a 15-yarder where he went high in the air to take down Lamar Raynard’s pass after Raynard did a fake spike before throwing it to Bell.
Bell’s catch gave the Aggies a 1st-and-goal at the Grambling 3-yard line which eventually led to Raynard’s game-winning 1-yard TD run.
During the season, Bell caught 64 passes for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had two 100-yard receiving games including a 178-yard, one-touchdown, nine-reception game. He needs seven touchdown receptions this season to become the Aggies all-time leader.
N.C. A&T opens the season in the ESPN FCS Showcase against perennial nationally-ranked program Jacksonville State in Montgomery, Ala., on Aug. 25 at 7 p.m., EST. Jacksonville State is preseason No. 10 in the Hero Sports preseason poll and No. 8 in the Athlon poll.
The Aggies lost four starters along the offensive line but they return five offensive starters. The defense returns eight starters.
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