To the suprise of no one, Tarik Cohen was named the MEAC’s Offensive Player of The Year on Tuesday. The North Carolina A&T senior claimed the honor for the third-straight year after rushing for 1,588 yards and 18 touchdowns for an average of 7.5 yards per carry, all career-highs.
So the question is, where does Cohen’s career rank all-time among offensive players in the MEAC history?
The conference is the youngest of the four NCAA conferences made up entirely or primarily of HBCUs, and is mostly known for producing defensive talent like NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson, or former Pro Bowlers Rashean Mathis (Bethune-Cookman) and Robert Porcher (South Carolina State), but there have periodically been players from the conference who have made noise on a national level on the offensive side of the ball.
Here is our top five MEAC Offensive Career List.
5. Ted White, Howard
White was a force to be reckoned with in the mid-to-late 1990s. He finished his career with MEAC records in yards (9,808), completions (639) and passing touchdowns (92). He gets the nod over Jay Walker since the current ESPN personality started his career at San Diego State.
4. John Taylor, Delaware State
The MEAC’s first true offensive super star, Taylor scored 42 touchdowns at DSU despite playing in ten-game seasons during the early-to-mid 1980s. He excelled as both a return man and a receiver in the third round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He would go on to be a solid compliment to fellow former HBCU star Jerry Rice with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL.
3. Will Ford, SC State
Ford was the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher before a certain running back from Bunn, NC came along. The speedy back got the nod over former Hampton running back Alonzo Coleman, who he eclipsed with 4,688 rushing yards for his career.
2. Jacquay Nunnally, Florida A&M
The late 1990s were one of the golden ages in FAMU’s illustrious football history and Jacquay Nunnally was arguably the best player at the school during that era. A four-time All-MEAC selection, Nunnally put up stats that are eye-popping even by today’s standards. For comparison, Nunnally caught 317 passes to Jerry Rice’s 301. He caught 188 passes in just his final two seasons.
He finished his career with 5,619 yards, a new conference record and the most by an HBCU back outside of former Winston-Salem State star Richard Huntley. He eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark every year in his career and also scored 56 touchdowns.
Some will tell you that, as great as Cohen is, former A&T running back Maurice Hicks may have been the best back the school or the conference has seen. But like Walker, Hicks didn’t play four full years. Cohen entered the season a marked man and still produced the best year of his career. Tough to top that.