As the fall season kicks in, the Howard University Bison Football team is gearing up for a stark improvement this upcoming year.
Last year the Bison finished a disappointing fifth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) with a record of 3-8. However, Bison have a lot to be excited about with their football team this time around.
Offensively, The Bison will be welcoming back a multitude of key players. Last season the Bison finished No. 2 in passing offense, and will look to continue that production behind Senior quarterback Quinton Williams. Williams boasted 2,353 passing yards with 16 touchdowns to seven interceptions last season, and capped that off with 94 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Senior wide receiver Antoine Murray snagged 33 passes for 629 yards and seven touchdowns, while senior Matthew McDonald and junior Kasey Hawthorne combined for 60 receptions and 735 yards with six touchdowns.
A revamped offensive line should also mean an improved running game for the Bison this coming season, a component of their offense that has struggled as of late. The Bison boast multiple All-MEAC selections in their front five with senior tackle Anim Dankwah and sophomore guard Darius Fox, both of whom should have a major impact. To boost the run game, the Bison added highly touted freshman running back Eden James, son of Hall of Fame running back Edgerrin James. James will be paired with senior Ian Wheeler and junior Jarrett Hunter, who collectively led Howard in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns.
The defense is also set to improve with the return of senior lineman Darrian Brokenburr who recorded 16 solo tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2021, and is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in all of the MEAC. Alongside him are senior linebacker Christian White and senior lineman Jevin Jackson, who both led Howard in tackles for loss. In the secondary, Howard touts junior defensive back Kenny Gallop Jr., the league-leader tackles last season, as well as junior cornerback Elijah Coleman.
The massive return of talent this upcoming season creates a ton of excitement for a major step forward for the team. But with so much staying the same, where will the improvement come from?
The biggest change for the Bison this season will be in closing things out. Last season, three games for the Bison were decided by seven or less points. Quarterback Quinton Williams spoke about winning the close games at the MEAC Media Day. “This past season we had a couple of games that were two or three plays away where we didn’t make the play,” Williams said. “We’re working on accountability and discipline this offseason. Those moments this past season have built us for what’s to come this next season.”
The team has the experience of playing together, and coupled with a new and improved mindset, the Bison are geared up for success in 2022.
Copy edited by Alana B. Matthew