McCain Earns National Freshman Player of the Week
GREENSBORO (September 25, 2017) – The last name McCain is a major part of North Carolina A&T State University lore. The latest McCain, Franklin “Mac” McCain III (5-foot-11, 174-pound defensive back, R-FR, Greensboro, N.C.) is making that emphatically clear through his first four games as a N.C. A&T football player.
McCain headlined another Monday of individual accolades for the Aggies falling their latest win, a 49-17 triumph over Morgan State last Saturday night.
STATS FCS named McCain their national freshman player of the week. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference recognized McCain as their rookie and defensive player of the week for the second consecutive week. Teammate Marquell Cartwright (5-8, 201, RB, High Point, N.C.) was named offensive player of the week by the MEAC, while Brandon Parker (6-7, 309, LT, Kannapolis, N.C.) took home his fourth straight offensive lineman of the week award from the MEAC.
The threesome helped the Aggies improve to 4-0 on the season as the team climbed to No. 13 in the NCAA FCS Coaches Poll and to No. 17 in the FCS STATS Media Poll.
In the Aggies win over the Bears, McCain intercepted three passes and returned two of those passes for touchdowns. His first pick-6 went for 100 yards and occurred right before halftime. He closed out the Aggies scoring on Saturday with a 78-yard INT return to the end zone in the fourth quarter. McCain’s three picks went for 178 yards, putting him 39 yards shy of breaking the NCAA FCS single-game record for INT return yards.
McCain’s pick-6 party followed a week in which he had a game-winning interception return for touchdown against the Charlotte 49ers at Jerry Richardson Stadium. On the season, McCain has five interceptions for 274 return yards. He leads the nation in interceptions per game. He became only one of 28 players in FCS history to return two INTs for touchdowns in a game.
McCain’s three touchdowns ranks him eighth in the conference in total touchdowns and 14th in scoring. His 178 interception return yards against MSU led the Aggies.
“We’ve had receivers who have been here for four years and didn’t score three touchdowns,” said N.C. A&T head coach Rod Broadway.
McCain’s grandfather was famous civil rights icon Franklin McCain. Along with three other N.C. A&T students, the elder McCain sat down at a lunch counter at Woolworth’s asked to be served on February 1, 1960. They were refused service. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. Their passive resistance and peaceful sit-down demand helped ignite a youth-led movement to challenge racial inequality throughout the South. They are known as the Greensboro Four. A four-seat portion of the lunch counter is on display at the Smithsonian, and a February One monument and sculpture of the men is located on N.C. A&T’s campus.
“North Carolina A&T really pursued me and showed me they wanted me to play college football here,” said the younger McCain. “That’s why I’m here. But yes, Aggie Pride runs deep in me and it runs deep in my family.”
Cartwright is another local product for the Aggies, having won a high school state title at High Point Andrews. Cartwright came into this season with a spotlight on him because he was tabbed to replace legendary Aggies running back Tarik Cohen, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears in April. Cartwright has answered the challenge thus far. He leads the conference in yards per carry (5.9), total rushing yards (421) and rushing yards per game (105.3).
While this is Cartwright’s first-career weekly honor from the MEAC, Parker has made a habit of being rewarded by the MEAC. Parker owns nine offensive lineman of the week awards in his career and has won it all four weeks it has been awarded this season. Against the Bears he graded out at 91 percent, while posting four knockdown blocks. The Aggies compiled 345 yards rushing and 514 yards of total offense.
On the second play from scrimmage, Parker busted open a hole for Cartwright to run through that resulted in a 72-yard TD run.
The 13th/17th-ranked Aggies will try to stay undefeated when they travel to Orangeburg, S.C., to face the South Carolina State Bulldogs, 6 p.m., Saturday at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium.