Colzie named Rattlers 19th Head Coach

After winning their first Cricket Celebration Bowl, Florida A&M Rattlers had to replace  head coach Willie Simmons. He accepted  a job as running backs coach at Duke after leading the Rattlers over  Howard in the Celebration Bowl.

The Rattlers hired James Colzie III to be the 19th head coach of the program on Jan. 27th. Colzie had served as a defensive assistant coach and cornerbacks coach since joining the program in 2022.

“It’s truly an honor to join names like William Bell, Jake Gaither, Rudy Hubbard, Billy Joe, and Willie Simmons to hold the illustrious title of head football coach at Florida A&M,” Colzie said, “and I am ready to do my part of carrying on the tradition of this storied university as the No. 1 public HBCU in the country.”

Colzie has done his share of winning in the Tallahassee area. He played defensive back  under legendary coach Bobby Bowden at Florida State and won a national championship in 1993.

Last year, the Rattler’s defense tied with Jackson State for the SWAC lead in interceptions (17) and returned  three  for touchdowns. In Colzie’s first year, they picked off opposing quarterbacks 10 times, making it the second most (27) in the two-year span behind Jackson State (29). 

With the departure of Simmons, FAMU lost a big-time transfer in Sage Ennis from Clemson. Rodney Hill, who transferred from across the street at Florida State, considered leaving but Colzie convinced him to stay, he said in his introductory news conference.

“We had the opportunity to get Rodney Hill back, which I think is going to be a great, great deal for us.”

The Rattlers will lose their most impactful players on both sides of the ball to graduation: quarterback Jeremy Moussa, who won SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, and linebacker Isaiah Major, who won Defensive Player of the Year.

Colzie will have his hands full, replacing both of these big-time players and losing key staff members. Recruiting director Devin Rispress left to become  assistant director of player personnel and high school relations at Colorado under Deion Sanders. LaTroy Johnson, the former assistant athletic director of football operations, left for South Carolina State in a similar role.

National Signing Day is approaching on Feb. 7 for Colzie and his staff to start replacing key players from the national championship team.

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