Hawks picked third in CIAA preseason rankings

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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CHARLOTTE – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and its Football Coaches Association announced the 2021 CIAA Football predicted order of finish and the Preseason All-CIAA Team here July 22.

After being selected to finish fourth overall in the CIAA and third in the Northern Division during the 2019 season, the Hawks finished with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-5 mark in the Northern Division.

Chowan University quarterback Bryce Witt is among a handful of starters from the 2019 season opting to return to the Hawks program following a year off due to the COVID pandemic. File Photo / Cal Bryant

Head Coach Mark Hall’s era starts with higher expectations from the CIAA Football Coaches Association as the 2021 Chowan Hawks were selected to finish third overall and second in the CIAA Northern Division.

Third overall and second in the Northern Division is the highest the Hawks have been ranked in the CIAA Preseason poll during the Hawks’ tenure in the CIAA. The Hawks sit behind the unanimous selection of Bowie State, 2019 CIAA Football Champions, and Fayetteville State (2019 CIAA Football Finalist).

Chowan also received three All-CIAA Preseason Football selections with Imeek Watkins, David Keck and Deshaun Wethington receiving the selection.

Watkins lands on the list after posting 41 receptions for 617 yards and nine touchdowns to lead the Hawks in receiving in 2019. Watkins earned All-CIAA Second Team honors after finishing third in touchdowns and fourth in yards in the CIAA.

Keck anchors the offensive line for the Hawks that led the CIAA in total offense in 2019 with 475.1 yards per game.

Wrapping up the preseason selections is Deshaun Wethington. Wethington was named All-CIAA First Team after posting a single-season program record of 1,377 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Hawks start camp in early August with signal caller, Bryce Witt, and defensive standout, Rafiq Abdul-Wahid, returning on their respective sides of the ball.

Chowan opens the season on the road on Thursday, Sept. 2 against Mars Hill. The Hawks will host Erskine for their home opener on Sept. 18.

Meanwhile, former Hertford County High School standout Zion Riddick, a junior wide receiver at Elizabeth City State University, was named as Preseason All-Conference as a kick returner. Riddick, an Ahoskie native, led the CIAA in kick returns (1,001 yards) in 2019.

Led by reigning CIAA Coach of the Year Damon Wilson, Bowie State finished 2019 with a 11-1 overall record (7-0 in the CIAA) with their lone loss coming in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs against Carson-Newman. Fayetteville State, coached by Richard Hayes, also posted a 6-1 conference record (8-3 overall), finishing 10th in Super Region Two for the second straight year in 2019.

2021 Preseason

All-CIAA Football Team

Tight End

Desmond Smith, Virginia Union

Offensive Linemen

Greg Brooks, Fayetteville State

Jaylan Galloway, Fayetteville State

David Keck, Chowan

Tyrese Bobbitt, Shaw University

Kendyl Graves, Winston-Salem State

Wide Receivers

Charles Hall, Virginia Union

Imeek Watkins, Chowan


Ja’rome Johnson, Bowie State

Running Backs

Deshaun Wethington, Chowan

Sidney Gibbs, Shaw

Kick Returner

Zion Riddick, Elizabeth City State

Place Kicker

Jefferson Souza, Virginia Union

Defensive Linemen

Keyshawn James, Fayetteville State

Joshua Pryor, Bowie State

Dast Sturkie, Shaw

Javon Frazier, Virginia State


Nigel Peele, Fayetteville State

Kalen Allen, Winston-Salem State

Ta’Shaun Taylor, Winston-Salem State

Defensive Backs

Demetri Morsell, Bowie State

Jaleel Scroggins, Shaw

Kevin Sherman, Shaw

Joshua Flowers, Winston-Salem State

Punt Returner

Jaiden Reavis, Virginia Union


Kenny Amaya, Bowie State


2021 CIAA Preseason

Football predicted

order of finish

Bowie State

Fayetteville State


Virginia State

Virginia Union


Elizabeth City State

Johnson C. Smith

Winston-Salem State

Lincoln (PA)


Saint Augustine’s


North Division

Bowie State


Virginia State

Virginia Union

Elizabeth City State

Lincoln (PA)


South Division

Fayetteville State


Johnson C. Smith

Winston-Salem State


Saint Augustine’s