LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It might be May, but there is still one more football game to be played. The division one FCS championship is Sunday between No. 1 South Dakota State and No. 2 Sam Houston State University.
“It really ain’t even hit me yet honestly,” SDSU running back Pierre Strong Jr. said.
Before Strong Jr. was scoring touchdowns for the Jackrabbits, he was balling out at McClellan high school earning All-State honors three times.
“Playing for coach Maurice Moody, Lawson, and James they bring the best out of you,” Strong said. “They’re not going to let you be lazy, they’re not going to let you slack, none of that. Every day at practice you bring your A-game.”
What he developed in Little Rock he brought to Brookings, South Dakota. In his third year, Strong was named an FCS 2nd-Team All-American for the second straight year.
In the COVID replacement Spring season, Strong averaged over 80 rushing yards per game along with 167 receiving yards and five total touchdowns.
“I got more in the passing game, not just running the ball. I’m catching the ball out of the backfield, picking up blocks, and reading defenses better,” Strong said. “You always can do better. I love the accomplishment, but I’m not pleased with it.”
Maybe a national championship will please him? With the help of Strong, the Jackrabbits received a No. 1 ranking for the first time in program history, while also going to their first national championship game.
On the biggest stage of the FCS level, Strong knows his hometown will be watching and he wants to inspire the younger generation in his community.
“It means a lot,” Strong said. “Just setting the stage for the younger kids in my community and showing them that we can really do things.
“When I was growing up sports-wise I really didn’t have anyone to look up to. So I feel like I have to create that power for the younger kids in my community.”
Strong will have about 30 members of his family, friends, former coaches and teammates going to Frisco, Texas to watch the game.
The FCS national championship game kicks off Sunday May 16 at 1:00 p.m. CST on ABC.