A 2017 Eufaula High School graduate, Alabama A&M senior Breon Austin helped lead his Bulldogs to victory in the recent Southwestern Athletic Conference championship over Arkansas Pine-Bluff by a score of 40-33.
Austin, who started as a true freshman in the fall of 2017 after earning both an athletic and academic scholarship, recorded three tackles, one tackle for loss and two quarterback pressures in the win. Thanks to the extra year of eligibility the NCAA awarded last year, Austin will return for a final season before graduating in May 2022 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
A&M finished No. 1 in the final Spring 2021 Boxtorow FCS HBCU Football Coaches Poll and the final Spring 2021 Boxtorow FCS HBCU Football Media Top 10 Poll.
The Bulldogs opened the spring season hoping to win the SWAC East Division and the resulting berth in the Spring 2021 Cricket Wireless Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Football Championship. The path to an HBCU national title was to have then gone through the Celebration Bowl, where the SWAC champion would face the winner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
“We already knew if we won the SWAC then we would have a chance to play for a Black college national championship in the Celebration Bowl,” head coach Connell Maynor said. “Since they didn’t have a Celebration Bowl and we were already ranked No. 1 in the Black college polls, and we won again (Saturday, May 1), of course that made us Black college national champs.
“At one time, it just became the normal that we weren’t playing, so we just tried to work on the fundamentals and stay ready.”
Maynor said he wants to make national championships an every year bid.
“We want to be able to sustain it,” he said. “We don’t want this to be the first and the last. We want to make this thing to be annual.”
“The national championship is an historic accomplishment and we are very proud of our coaches, student-athletes and staff,” said Director of Athletics Bryan Hicks. “This year they have faced not just challenges on the field but the challenge of competing during a pandemic that has changed how we do things. It is a credit to them to have accomplished this in that environment.”
Alabama NewsCenter contributed to this report.