FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. | Alabama State led the way with six selections to the BOXTOROW preseason HBCU college football All-American team, leading a contingent of 30 players selected prior to the start of the 2021 season.

Ezra Gray led the selections after earning First Team All-SWAC honors and leading the team, and the conference, in rushing during the spring season with 436 yards on 84 carries in five games. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns, and he rushed for a career-high 195 yards against Jackson State and added another 100-yard game against Alabama A&M. The senior finished 15th nationally in all-purpose yards and 35th in the nation in rushing yards, while he also finished 19th in rushing yards per game on the season.

He was joined on the offense by tight end Terrance Ellis who started all five games at tight end and recorded a career-high 12 receptions for 77 yards, averaging 6.42 yards per reception. Redshirt freshman Travon Taylor also earned offensive honors after playing in all five games last season and helping the team rush for 905 yards and pass for 1,011.

The three were joined by three defensive players led by defensive linemen Christian Clark who finished with 15 tackles including nine solo stops. Clark recorded 2.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup, while he also had one forced fumble and was part of a defense that held opponents to just over 800 yards rushing in five games from his nose guard position.

He was joined on the defensive side of the ball by a pair of defensive backs including Irshaad Davis who led Alabama State in tackles with 41 on the season including 31 solo stops. He recorded a pair of tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks on the season, while he also finished with one interception, three pass breakups and a quarterback hurry from his safety position. Davis finished fourth in the conference in tackles and 20th in passes defended on the season, while he also finished 14th in the nation in solo tackles and 58th in total tackles. Naytron Culpepper who finished the year with 15 tackles, including nine solo stops, joins Davis as a preseason pick in defensive backfield. He also finished the year with a pair of tackles for loss from his cornerback position and finished the year with four pass breakups. Culpepper also finished 19th in the conference in pass breakups this spring.

The Hornets led the way with six selections, while UAPB had four. A host of schools including Alabama A&M, Tennessee State, Southern, Bowie State, and Jackson State each had three selections.

BOXTOROW has administered the All-America team since 2007 and the voters are comprised of media members from around the nation that cover HBCU football.

Alabama State opens the season at ASU Stadium against Miles in the Labor Day Classic on September 4. Season and single-game tickets are on sale in the ASU Ticket Office by calling (334) 229-4551. Alabama State is a mask-mandatory campus, and masks must be worn at all times while attending Alabama State athletic events.

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Ronald Wallace

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