Football season has arrived.
Members of the Alabama A&M football program reported to campus on Thursday and the team is scheduled to take the field Saturday morning for fall camp’s first practice.
Head Coach Connell Maynor is heading into his second season at Alabama A&M, and the expectations for his second chapter on “The Hill” are quickly rising.
The buzz surrounding this Alabama A&M team is evident.
As players reported to the Hobson Field House at Louis Crews Stadium on Thursday, the facility was teeming with enthusiasm.
No one was shying away from the program’s lofty goals.
At the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Football Media Day in July, Alabama A&M was projected to finish second in the SWAC East behind defending conference champion Alcorn State.
Alabama A&M finished last season with a 6-5 record, with a 5-2 record in the SWAC.
Five Alabama A&M players were preseason all-conference selections.
Junior linebacker Armani Holloway and sophomore tight end Kendric Johnson were first-team all-conference selections. Holloway led the SWAC last season with 108 tackles, while Johnson led all tight ends in the conference with 169 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback Aqeel Glass, offensive tackle Shonye Reams and wide receiver Brian Jenkins Jr. were second-team all-conference selections.
Glass led the SWAC last season with 2,426 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, while Jenkins was eighth in the conference with 475 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 48 receptions. Reams anchored an offensive line that averaged 393.5 yards per game.
With eight starters returning on offense, and six on defense, Alabama A&M carries an experienced roster into fall camp.
As Alabama A&M heads into fall camp, one of the prominent storylines is the Bulldogs’ transition to a new defensive scheme.
During the off season, Maynor hired Granville Eastman as Alabama A&M’s new defensive coordinator.
Eastman brings a vast amount of experience to the position. The veteran defensive coordinator spent the past five seasons at North Carolina Central, where he was the architect of a defensive unit that perennially was at the top of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and FCS in most statistical categories.
Eastman also spent nine seasons as Austin Peay’s defensive coordinator.
In his first season at Alabama A&M, Eastman inherits a unit that finished last season ranked 38thin the FCS in total defense.