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N.C. A&T predicted to win Big South Conference football title

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CHARLOTTE — Being picked to win a league championship is nothing new for the N.C. A&T football team and Coach Sam Washington.

“That’s familiar ground for us,” Washington said during the Big South Conference’s football publicity event Tuesday. “We’ve been picked to win it six out of the last seven years. We’ve just got to live up to it.”

A&T is favored again in 2022, which will be only its second season but its last in the Big South.

A&T received six of 12 first-place votes from head coaches and journalists to win the six-team league. Campbell received two first-place votes and is predicted to finish second.

A&T also was selected as the league favorite in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2015 and 2016 and 2018-2020.

The Aggies, who will begin practice Aug. 5 and will open their season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3 against N.C. Central in Charlotte, went 5-6 in 2021.

“Pass defense,” Washington said, citing needed improvements for his 2022 team to be able to meet league expectations. “Offensively, being able to run the football. We’ve got to be able to dominate up front. We’ve got to get a hat on a hat, and we’ve got to move people. If we’re able to do those two things, we should be OK.”

A&T’s predicted first-team all-conference players are receiver Jamison Warren, offensive lineman Ricky Lee, defensive lineman Jermaine McDaniel, linebacker Jacob Roberts, defensive back Karon Prunty and kicker Andrew Brown.

Aggies, Eagles are part of a new Classic

The game isn’t branded as the Aggie-Eagle Classic, but the A&T-N.C. Central season opener instead will come in the Duke’s Mayo Classic at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

Ticket sales have surpassed 22,000, said Miller Yoho, the director of communications and marketing for the game host Charlotte Sports Foundation. The contest will serve as a home game for Central; A&T will be the designated home team when the programs return to the Duke’s Mayo Classic in 2027.

“It’s a rivalry with a university that’s less than 50 miles from your home,” Washington said. “It’s so close, the proximity is almost amazing. There’s somebody in every family that went to either Central or A&T or both. So that in itself makes the rivalry that much greater or that much bigger than the norm. And the fact that we’re playing it in a professional stadium here, we couldn’t ask for a better venue. The kids deserve to play in this kind of venue.”

The teams are scheduled to participate in an event two days before the game at the 23XI NASCAR Cup series team shop in Mooresville. 23XI is owned by Michael Jordan and Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin. The Charlotte Sports Foundation also plans several activities for fans that will give the Duke’s Mayo Classic a bowl game feel on Labor Day weekend.

Tickets and game information are available through

Allen projected as top defensive player

Greensboro’s Brevin Allen, a Northeast Guilford graduate, is predicted to win Big South Conference defensive player of the year.

Allen earned All-America recognition from multiple outlets last season: Second team from the American Football Coaches Association and FCS Stats Perform and third team from the Associated Press, Phil Steele and HERO Sports.

“My expectations are that my team is going to win the Big South championship,” Allen said. “I’m expecting to win the FCS defensive player of the year, which is the Buck Buchanan Award, and I’m expecting me and my team to make the playoffs and do well.”

Allen led the Big South with 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in 2021, and he’s aiming to record 15 sacks in 2022.

“To be able to come back to Greensboro is always fun,” Allen said. “We’re playing them on their homecoming, which is GHOE (Greatest Homecoming on Earth). The atmosphere is going to be great. It’s going to be a fun time, and it’s going to be a real competitive game.”

Big South then CAA

The remainder of A&T’s athletics teams will begin play in August in the Colonial Athletic Association, and the football program will join the league in 2023.

Bryant University, in Smithfield, R.I., is playing as an associate Big South member with the Aggies, Camels, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb and Robert Morris.

Meanwhile, the Big South and Ohio Valley Conference will begin a football alliance in 2023 that will ensure all league members a chance to reach the FCS playoffs.

Eddie Wooten is sports editor of the Winston-Salem Journal and the News & Record in Greensboro.

Have something to say? Email Eddie at or Follow him on Twitter at @EddieWootenNR.


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