College Sports

Where will J.C. Smith finish in CIAA football?

Kermit Blount enters his fourth season as the football coach at Johnson C. Smith.
Kermit Blount enters his fourth season as the football coach at Johnson C. Smith. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Johnson C. Smith on Wednesday was picked to finish 10thoverall in the CIAA and fifth in the league’s Southern Division in a poll of coaches and sports information directors.

Golden Bulls punter Brandon Hunter, a junior from Columbia, was named to the preseason all-conference first team.

Bowie State was chosen to win the CIAA ahead of 2017champion Virginia State. The Bulldogs and Trojans were chosen to finish 1-2 in the Northern Division, and Fayetteville State is the pick to win the Southern Division.

Bowie State quarterback Amir Hall, who led the CIAA in passing yards per game (319.9) and touchdowns (41), leads the all-conference team.

Smith’s Hunter averaged 35.8 yards per punt last season, the sixth-best mark in the league. The Golden Bulls (2-8 in 2017) open their season Aug. 30 at Wingate.

Overall predicted finish: 1. Bowie State; 2. Virginia State; 3. Fayetteville State; 4. Winston-Salem State;5. Virginia Union; 6. Saint Augustine’s; 7. Chowan; 8. Shaw; 9. Elizabeth City State; 10. Johnson C. Smith; 11. Livingstone; 12. Lincoln.

Northern Division: 1. Bowie State; 2. Virginia State;3. Virginia Union; 4. Chowan; 5. Elizabeth City State; 6. Lincoln.

Southern Division: 1. Fayetteville State; 2. Winston-Salem State; 3. Saint Augustine’s; 4. Shaw; 5. Johnson C. .Smith; 6. Livingstone.

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