By Kayllan Olicio
HERO Sports named the Framingham State football team the best in Massachusetts, regardless of division this past summer.
Launched in 2014, HERO Sports is an online sports publication that covers both professional and college sports.
Every year, the publication determines the best college football team in each state by judging the team’s stats and records from the last five years. By only taking into account a team’s record within that time frame, it gives younger football programs the opportunity to be recognized, according to the HERO Sports website.
Thomas Kelley, athletics director and head football coach at FSU, said it was an honor to be named the best college football team in the state. “It shows that we have been pretty consistent and successful over the past five years. ... By being named the best football school in Massachusetts, people turn heads and people take notice.”
Kelley said the publication’s ranking is a “5-year snapshot of each college football program in the state, and we happened to be the lucky winners of Massachusetts.”
According to Kelley, FSU has an advantage over Division I football teams in the state. Since schools such as Boston College and UMass Amherst haven’t been doing well on the Feld in recent years, FSU has started to take the spotlight.
FSU has played against the 5th and 16th ranked teams in the country over the past two years, according to Kelley.
Being named the best college football team in the state, will “certainly” attract recruits, said Kelley.
“People want to play for a winner. They want to play for the best team around – and we’ve been on top for a while now. We’ve either been number one in New England or in the top 10 for the last seven years,” he said.
According to Kelley, the low cost of attending FSU attracts student athletes to the University.
He added the University is a “bang-for-your-buck state college. ... We are competing with schools that cost $60,000 and I think a lot of them aren’t as good as the education here.”
Co-captain Darian Belizaire, a junior and defensive tackle for the Rams, said, “I honestly give all praise to Coach Kelley. He knows his players and he’s been in our corner for a while. He gets us prepared for the games the proper way, along with the rest of the assistant coaching staff. ... They all have a lot to do with it.”
Jaquan Harris, senior and safety, said it’s an honor to be recognized. “I feel that it will help Framingham in the future in terms of athletics. ... People will want to see what Framingham is about. I think it’s a great opportunity for Framingham State to expand their horizons.”
He added, “Usually everyone wants to go on to D1. ... We do this because we love football. ... It sets a bar. Sets a standard for us. It kind of make us want to lead by example for the younger guys that are coming to Framingham.”
Belizaire said, “Not disrespecting the fact that we won the [honor], but we kind of put it to the side. We have to take it week by week – game by game – because if not, we were awarded for no reason.”