GREENSBORO (October 26, 2017) – North Carolina A&T added another player to a national watch list on Thursday when freshman cornerback Franklin (Mac) McCain III (5-foot-11, 174, Greensboro, NC) was added to the Jerry Rice Award Watch List by STATS FCS.
The Rice Award, named for the legendary Hall of Fame wide receiver who played collegiately at historically black university Mississippi Valley State, has been presented to the FCS national freshman player of the year since 2011. Two of the first three winners, Towson running back Terrance West and Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp, are starters in the NFL, and the 2014 winner, Fordham running back Chase Edmonds, could be headed toward a pro career next season.
N.C. A&T has had two players on the watch list, linebacker D’Vonte Grant in 2011 and Chicago Bear running back Tarik Cohen in 2013.
McCain joins teammates Lamar Raynard (6-4, 201, R-JR quarterback, High Point, NC) and Brandon Parker (6-7, 309, R-SR left tackle, Kannapolis, NC) as players who are up for national awards. Raynard and Parker are on the Walter Payton Award Watch List for national offensive player of the year. Payton is also a product of an HBCU in Jackson State. Parker is also up for the Deacon Jones Award handed to the best college football player from an HBCU by the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
McCain debuted for the Aggies on Sept. 2 and contributed immediately toward the Aggies 8-0 start. He had five tackles and pass break up at Gardner-Webb before recording 10 tackles and two pass break ups against Mars Hill the next week.
He really stepped into the forefront against Division I-FBS foe Charlotte on Sept. 16 when he intercepted two passes including a pick-6 that served as the game-winning touchdown. His other interception also led to a touchdown as the Aggies upset the 49ers 35-31. A week later at Morgan State, he intercepted three passes with two going for touchdowns in the Aggies 49-17 win over the Bears. McCain’s three INTs for touchdowns puts him one shy of tying the NCAA FCS single-season record of four.
“I’ll tell you what, he’s fast. Once he has the ball in his hands he can make some plays for us,” said N.C. A&T coach Rod Broadway. “He has done a great job of improving on his ability to catch the ball. He was having a hard time holding on to it when he first got here, but he has made tremendous strides in that area.”
On the season, McCain has five interceptions for 274 return yards. His six pass break ups give him 11 passes defended for the season. McCain leads the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in interceptions per game (0.6) and is fourth in the nation. He is second in the MEAC and 21st in the nation in passes defended. He is third on the team in tackles (33), seventh in scoring (18 points) and seventh in all-purpose yards (274).
“The first thing you notice about Frank is that engaging smile,” said Broadway. “He invites you in with his smile and once you get to know him, you find out what a fantastic young man he is. I don’t think Frank has ever had a bad day. He is always upbeat, positive and he comes ready to practice and ready to play.”
N.C. A&T returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 4 when they face Norfolk State at 2 p.m., at William “Dick” Price stadium.