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CIAA Media Day: Virginia State is the champion, but WSSU still the favorite

Virginia State enters the 2015 season as the defending CIAA Champion, but it looks like they still have some proving to do.

The defending champs find themselves predicted to win their division, but finish second in the conference to Winston-Salem State, the team it beat for the CIAA Championship last year.

CIAA Predicted Order of Finish

1st – Winston-Salem State University

2nd – Virginia State University

3rd – Virginia Union University

4th – Fayetteville State University

5th – Bowie State University

6th – Elizabeth City State University

7th – Livingstone College

8th – Shaw University

9th – Chowan University

10th – Johnson C. Smith University

11th – Saint Augustine’s University

12th – The Lincoln University

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js The Trojans find themselves ranked second despite bringing back its top two quarterbacks, one who won the CIAA Championship (Niko Johnson) and another who won a Division II (Tarian Ayers) playoff game. It also brings back two of the league’s best offenseive players in running back Kavon Bellamy and Javion Smallwood, as well as most of a defensive unit that was dominant at times.

“It’s just rankings. Two years ago were where ranked in the bottom, and we were actually going to play in the championship game,” defensive lineman Ray Prosise said. “We don’t pay attention to that.”

“We’ve always got to keep that chip on our shoulder,” receiver Javion Smallwood told HBCU Gameday. “Because there’s a big target on our shoulder, now that we’ve won the CIAA Championship.”

Winston-Salem State, conversely, will be looking to replace its top two quarterbacks, as Phillip Sims is competing for a job with the Arizona Cardinals and Rudy Johnson has exhausted his eligibility. WSSU also lost all 11 starters from last years’ defense,

Despite all the holes to fill, WSSU head coach Kienus Boulware is confident his team can keep up its winning ways. But after last year’s championship game disappointment, he knows nothing is given.

“It’s always good to be ranked no. 1…but as you can tell from last year’s predictions, it doesn’t always end that way,” Boulware said. “We’re going to put together a good show. We’re gonna be very competitive and we’re gonna try to make it back to the CIAA Championship Game and hopefully to the CIAA playoffs.”

2015 Preseason All-CIAA Football Team
 
Offense
TE #85 AJ Mundle ECSU 6-1 230 Sr. Fremont, NC
OL #60 Addison Hayes* VUU 6-2 314 Sr. Savannah, GA
OL #75 Jhamil Haley VSU 6-3 280 Jr. Portsmouth, VA
OL #62 Jac’que Polite WSSU 6-5 300 Jr. Ridgeland, SC
OL #75 Justin Nester BSU 6-3 276 Jr. Dayton, MD
OL #72 Kristjan Brown FSU 6-3 300 So. Charlotte, NC
WR #14 Jalen Hendricks* LC 6-2 205 Sr. Nashville, NC
WR #80 Jaivon Smallwood* VSU 6-2 175 Sr. Virginia Beach, VA
QB #2 Drew Powell* LC 6-3 225 Sr. Upper Marlboro, MD
RB #24 Roderick Davenport II* SAU 6-1 200 Sr. Orangeburg, SC
RB #28 Kavon Bellamy* VSU 5-10 205 Jr. Hampton, VA
PK #47 William Johnson WSSU 5-11 175 Jr. High Point, NC
KR #2 Antonio Huff ECSU 5-9 160 Sr. Washington, DC
Defense
DL #10 Anthony McDaniel* BSU 6-1 275 Sr. Ft. Washington, MD
DL #40 Michael Bloomfield WSSU 6-3 245 Sr. Jacksonville, NC
DL #56 Ray Prosise VSU 6-0 290 Sr. Petersburg, VA
DL #72 Kemaree Alcorn CU 6-5 260 So. Virginia Beach, VA
LB #50 Austin Jacques* JCSU 6-1 210 Sr. Springdale, MD
LB #2 Joseph Blanks VUU 6-1 240 Sr. Pembroke, NC
LB #14 Brandon Lynch VSU 6-1 200 So. Norfolk, VA
DB #7 Curtis Pumphrey* BSU 5-8 158 Sr. Laurel, MD
DB #5 Darion Thomas* VSU 6-0 160 Sr. Virginia Beach, VA
DB #1 Brion Robinson* TLU 5-9 200 Sr. Silver Spring, MD
DB #21 Rodeshawn Joseph VUU 6-1 185 Sr. Pompano Beach, FL
P #57 Christopher Palmer* BSU 6-2 274 Sr. St. Mary’s, MD
PR #2 Antonio Huff ECSU 5-9 160 Sr. Washington, DC
* = 2014 All-CIAA Team Members

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