Former Wiregrass Ranch High multi-sport standout Chris Faddoul continues to excel on & off the field at Florida A&M University, where he led the nation in punting average.
Seemingly everything Chris Faddoul did while a student at Wiregrass Ranch High led to success. A fantastic student, an on-campus leader and an athlete who excelled at football, soccer, tennis, track & field, and heck, even table tennis (as a member of the school’s ping-pong club).

But in the two years since he’s graduated and moved on to college at Florida A&M University, Faddoul has narrowed his athletic scope to just football, and the results have been spectacular — on Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Rattlers’ starting punter was selected as a first-team All American by the Associated Press.

Faddoul is the first Rattler since Leroy Vann in 2009 to be selected to the NCAA Division I Football Champion Subdivision (FCS) team.

Add it to Faddoul’s growing list of athletic accomplishments. At Wiregrass Ranch, whether it was as a captain, quarterback, kicker and punter on the football team, a district champion long jumper for the track team, a standout scorer for the Bulls soccer team, which he helped to a state semifinal finish as a sophomore, a tennis player, who went 15-0 as a senior and reached the state series tournament after never having played competitive tennis before the season began, Faddoul excelled on the fields, courts and tracks across the area.

But for his coaches, past and present, the best attribute Faddoul may have on his talented resume is his character.

“Chris was genetically given the gift of great athleticism,” WRH athletic director Dave Wilson, the school’s soccer and tennis coach, says. “But, on top of that, you add the strongest work ethic you’re going to find … it’s just the character on top of all of it. He’s just this tremendous person, and you look to find where this kid’s faults lie, but you just aren’t going to find them. He is a coach’s dream.”

As far has his success on the football field is concerned, that has continued, as Faddoul has taken to the college ranks the past two seasons.

Faddoul was outstanding for FAMU in his 2018 season, ending the regular season as the leading punter in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

As a freshman, he averaged 39.6 yards-per-punt, with a long of 55 yards. But in his sophomore campaign, he improved in a big way, finishing the season with a 46.8-yard average on 41 punts, including 16 punts of 50 yards or better. He also pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard-line 17 times, with just seven kicks reaching the end zone for a touchback.

His per-punt average and single game average of 60 yards (against Fort Valley State, 9/1/18) are school records at FAMU.

Faddoul even took on the kickoff duties for the Rattlers’ final three games of the season, recording 12 kicks with a 56.7-yard average.

“Chris worked extremely hard during the offseason to improve his technique, and he has become a critical part of our game plan each week,” FAMU head coach Willie Simmons says. “He has been one of our team leaders (this year), and he’s a young man of high character.”

His successes at the college level were almost put in jeopardy by two leg injuries in his high school career, first breaking his leg as a junior, then tearing his ACL as a senior.

However, Faddoul’s drive for success meant the potentially career-ending injuries were mere bumps in the road.

“Those injuries, especially the ACL (tear), were either going to be the breaking point or the thing that I got past to come back stronger than I ever was,” Faddoul says. “The senior year injury took a toll mentally. An ACL injury can be a career-ender for some players, but I love athletics and for me, there was no question how hard I was going to work to get back.”

Faddoul credits his athletic prowess to genetics from his father, Ghassan, who represented Lebanon at the 1976 Summer Olympic,s competing in the long jump and javelin, as well as playing basketball and college football in Virginia.

It was his father’s competitiveness that the younger Faddoul says drove his love of athletics and desire to keep competing, no matter what.

“My Dad has always pushed me and set the bar a little higher for me,” Faddoul says. “He always expected me to do well and then do a little bit better. I loved that push. He made me want to be better and it gave me a competitive edge that made me drive to be my best.”

Meanwhile, Off The Field….

It wasn’t just the athletic fields, tracks and courts where Faddoul excelled as a leader. He also was a standout student at WRH, something he also has continued at FAMU, where the sophomore is focused on his major in Biology and carries a 4.0 GPA with plans to attend dental school.

He also has served as president of FAMU’s Special Olympics planning club. Faddoul garnered some national acclaim when a video surfaced of him his senior season at WRH, gifting a football-team signed helmet to his classmate Andrew Hayne — a friendship Faddoul has maintained since middle school.

“Andrew has been a friend since middle school,” Faddoul says. “Every time I saw him in school back then he would yell, ‘Fad-doodle,’ at me, run at me and give me a hug. We’ve been great friends since then. He’d look for me each Friday so I could give him my jersey to wear for the (school) day. It was always special for me to see him there supporting me each game.”

The character part of Faddoul’s makeup also includes a maturity that is impressive for a 19-year-old. When he made his choice to attend FAMU, over his other college football scholarship offer to attend Valparaiso University in Indiana, he showed maturity beyond his years.

“Obviously, I’m a Caucasian attending an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities),” Faddoul says. Although that didn’t play a role in my college decision, I was a little worried that I might impede, or interfere with the other students who were coming here to immerse themselves in the cultural experience of attending an HBCU. But, this experience couldn’t be better. Everyone, from the coaches, to the faculty, to my fellow students, have welcomed me with open arms. I’m really at home here.”

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