Birmingham, Alabama – The Southwestern Athletic Conference release its all-SWAC football teams for the 2011 season Tuesday, kicking off the build-up to Saturday’s Farmers Insurance SWAC Football Championship Game, presented by Toyota. Jackson State place nine student-athletes on the teams, including four first-team selections. Eastern Division champion, Alabama A&M, earned more first-team selections than any other team. The Bulldogs, along with Western Division champion Grambling, had eight student-athletes earn accolades.
Jackson State quarterback Casey Therriault was named Offensive Player of the Year, while Grambling linebacker Cliff Exama and Prairie View A&M defensive end Adrian Hamilton shared the Defensive Player of the Year honors. Jackson State defensive end Joseph LeBeau earned Newcomer of the Year, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Benjamin Anderson was named Freshman of the Year.
Last year’s Newcomer of the Year, Therriault led Jackson State to a 9-2 overall record and a three-way tie among the top of the Eastern Division with Alabama A&M and Alabama State at 7-2 in the conference. The senior, who finished 10th in the Walter Payton Award voting, threw for 3,808 yards and 27 touchdowns, while completing 60.0 percent of his attempts.
Exama is a three-time all-SWAC first-team selection and led Grambling to the Western Division title and a berth in Saturday’s SWAC Championship Game. His 129 total tackles led the conference, along with 77 solo takedowns. With one game remaining in his season, he has 17.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks.
Hamilton led the nation in sacks with 19.5 (16 solo, 7 assisted) and was fourth in the league with 81 total tackles as the Panthers narrowly missed earning a berth into the SWAC Championship Game. He finished the season with a conference-high 26.5 tackles-for-loss, which is the second-highest total in the nation.
LeBeau is a transfer from Arkansas Baptist CC and ranks second in the nation in sacks (15.5) behind Hamilton and third in the nation in tackles-for-loss (24.5), also behind Hamilton and Alabama A&M’s Corey Hart. LeBeau is tied for 10th in the conference with 75 total tackles.
Anderson is a redshirt freshman that led the Golden Lions to a winning season was third in the conference with 1,876 passing yards to go with 10 touchdowns.
NOTE: The SWAC Coach of the Year is determined by the winner of the SWAC Championship Game and will be presented following Saturday’s game at Birmingham’s Legion Field. Kickoff is set for 12:02 p.m. between Alabama A&M and Grambling.
Offensive Player of the Year – Casey Therriault (QB-Jackson State)
Co-Defensive Players of the Year – Adrian Hamilton (DE-Prairie View A&M) and Cliff Exama (LB-Grambling)
Newcomer of the Year – Joseph LeBeau (DE-Jackson State)
Freshman of the Year – Benjamin Anderson (QB-Arkansas-Pine Bluff)