MEAC Well Represented In Upcoming NFL Playoffs
WASHINGTON, D.C. - When the National Football Playoffs get underway this coming weekend, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will be well represented. Seven players, including four from Howard University, will play key roles in their teams' quest for the Super Bowl.
The list includes Marques Douglas (Howard University/New York Jets), Tracy White (Howard University/Philadelphia Eagles), Geoff Pope (Howard University/Philadelphia Eagles), Nick Collins (Bethune-Cookman/Green Bay Packers), Antoine Bethea (Howard University/Indianapolis Colts), Chad Simpson (Morgan State/Indianapolis Colts) and Vishanthe Shiancoe (Morgan State/Minnesota Vikings).
Douglas, a 6-2, 290-pound defensive tackle, had an outstanding season for the Jets, who will play Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday at 4:30 pm in the first wild card game. Douglas, who signed as a free agent after being released by the Baltimore Ravens, recorded 35 solos, 29 assisted tackles, 1.5 sacks and 4 tackles for losses this past season. The former All-MEAC standout for the Bison, is in his ninth season and has not missed a game in seven seasons. His 45.5 tackles for losses is third most in the NFL from 2003-09.
White, a 6-0, 230-pound linebacker, is now in his sixth season. A two-time MEAC Player of the Year, White has developed a reputation as an outstanding special teams' performer during his career. White has 15 solos and 7 assisted tackles on the season, but he has seen enough action to get an interception, 2 tackles for losses and 4 QB hurries as a linebacker.
Pope is a 6-0, 186-pound cornerback who is a member of the Eagles' practice squad after being picked up from the Bengals. A third year pro, Pope was a member of the Super Bowl champ New York Giants.
Collins is a 5-11, 207-pound free safety, who is having another big season for the Packers. Collins had 53 tackles on the season and 6 interceptions. He has started every game during his five years. The Packers play at the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in a wild card match.
Bethea is a 5-11, 203-pound safety, who is in his fourth season with the Colts. He is currently having another outstanding season with 70 solo tackles, 25 assisted tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
The three-time all-MEAC selection, Bethea has the distinction of being a Super Bowl champion and a Pro Bowl selection in his career. The Colts are the top seed in the AFC and have a first round bye.
Simpson is a 5-11 206-pound running back/kick returner for the Colts. Simpson is in his second year and recorded 102 yards and two TDs on 15 carries this season. He was a big factor on special teams, having returned a kickoff for a TD.
Shiancoe is a 6-4, 240-pound tight end who is having his best season and a key to the Vikings' success on offense this season. The seventh year pro out of Morgan State University and former New York Giant, has 56 receptions on the season for 566 yards and a team-high 11 TDs, all career highs. The Vikings have a bye in the first round in the playoffs.
Other former MEAC players who will be representing in the playoffs include Jimmie Johnson (Howard University), who is Shiancoe's position coach with the Vikings and Roy Anderson (Howard University), defensive coach with the Ravens, who will play the New England Patriots on Sunday.