BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2014 SWAC Preseason Teams with quarterback Ben Anderson (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), and linebacker Kourtney Berry (Alabama State) headlining the list.
The announcement was made during the 2014 SWAC Football Media Day after ballots were completed by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors, and selected national media members. Twenty-five players were named to this year’s preseason teams as a result of receiving 2013 All SWAC honors. In the event that a player was named to the first team during the post season, and does not return, the second team player for that position was elevated to the first team. Players were ranked in their position based on the number of votes received.
For the second consecutive year, Anderson was voted on as the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. In only his second season as a Hornet, Berry was tabbed as the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Last season, Anderson finished second in the league in passing yards (2,787) with 19 touchdowns while completing 58 percent of his passes. In 2012, the Little Rock, Ark. native earned first team All-SWAC honors before leading the Golden Lions to and 10-2 record a their first-outright SWAC Championship crown since sharing the title in 1966. He was named Offensive MVP of the 2012 Toyota SWAC Football Championship.
Anderson is joined on the preseason first-team offense with running backs Courtney Brown (Prairie View) and Malcolm Cyrus (Alabama State), wide receivers Montarious Smith (Alabama A&M) and Willie Quinn (Southern), tight end Jordan Payne (Alcorn State), along with offensive linemen Issac Sampson (Alcorn State), Dillon Bonnet (Prairie View), Johnathan Smith (Jackson State), Jonathan Scott (Alcorn State) and Anthony Mosley (Southern).
Berry was arguably the biggest surprise from the 2013 season. As a redshirt freshman, he made an immediate impact. He finished the year with 105 tackles to lead ASU and was second in the conference. The Merrillville, Ind. native notched seven sacks and 12.5 TFL while also recovering two fumbles and intercepting a pass. He was named the 2013 SWAC Newcomer of the Year while also garnering First Team All-SWAC honors.
Others to join Berry include: defensive linemen Derrick Billups (Alabama State), Amir Bloom (Texas Southern), Javancy Jones (Jackson State), and Deion Roberson (Alcorn State), linebackers Jerome Howard (Prairie View), Antonio Jenkins Arkansas Pine Bluff) with defensive backs Avery Boykin (Mississippi Valley State), C.J. Morgan (Alcorn State), Devon Francois (Alcorn State) and Deandre Rashada (Alabama State) rounding out the voting.
For the special teams, kicker Haiden McCraney (Alcorn State), punter Kory Carter (Texas Southern), and return specialist Julian Stafford (Alabama State) were all tabbed as first team selections.
For the predicted order of finish in both divisions, the defending champion Southern Jaguars totaled 95 votes including eight first place votes to become the preseason favorite out of the West Division. Prairie View A&M followed with 88 points, Arkansas-Pine Bluff gathered 66 points, with Texas Southern (50) and Grambling State (31) closing the divison’s preseason ranking.
In the East Division, Alabama State totaled 93 points with 10 first-place votes. Alcorn State received 91 points followed by Jackson State (72), Mississippi Valley State (40) and Alabama A&M (34).
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year:
Benjamin Anderson (QB) – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year:
Kourtney Berry (LB) – Alabama State
QB Jerry Lovelocke – Prairie View
RB Courtney Brown – Prairie View
RB Malcolm Cyrus – Alabama State
OL Issac Sampson – Alcorn State
OL Dillon Bonnet – Prairie View A&M
OL Johnathan Smith – Jackson State
OL Jonathan Scott – Alcorn State
OL Anthony Mosley – Southern
WR Montarious Smith – Alabama A&M
WR Willie Quinn – Southern
TE Jordan Payne – Alcorn State
DL Derrick Billups – Alabama State
DL Amir Bloom – Texas Southern
DL Javancy Jones – Jackson State
DL Deion Roberson – Alcorn State
LB Kourtney Berry – Alabama State
LB Jerome Howard – Prairie View
LB Antonio Jenkins – Arkansas Pine Bluff
DB Avery Boykin – Mississippi Valley State
DB C.J. Morgan – Alcorn State
DB Devon Francois – Alcorn State
DB Brandon Thomas – Texas Southern
K Haiden McCraney – Alcorn State
P Cory Carter – Texas Southern
RS Julian Stafford – Mississippi Valley State
2014 Preseason All-SWAC – Second Team
QB Benjamin Anderson – Arkansas Pine Bluff
RB Rakeem Sims – Jackson State
RB Lenard Tillery – Southern
OL Robert Roquemore – Alabama State
OL Detonio Dade – Alcorn State
OL Tovar Allen – Alabama State
OL Zach Brown – Southern
OL Tre Glover – Prairie View
WR Julian Stafford – Mississippi Valley State
WR Tobias Singleton – Jackson State
TE Natron Brooks – Mississippi Valley State
DL Tedderick Terrell – Jackson State
DL Arthur Miley – Southern
DL Edward Mosley – Alabama State
DL Justin Mitchell – Alabama State
LB Ariane McCree – Jackson State
LB Daniel Brown – Southern
LB William Thomas – Alcorn State
DB Quinton Cantue – Alcorn State
DB Antonio Sutton – Jackson State
DB Anthony Williams Jr. – Alcorn State
DB Tray Walker – Texas Southern
K Ryan Deising – Jackson State
P Darcy Williamson – Jackson State
RS Willie Quinn – Southern
Predicted Order of Finish
Alabama State – 93
Alcorn State – 91
Jackson State – 72
Mississippi Valley – 40
Alabama A&M – 34
Southern – 95
Prairie View A&M – 88
Arkansas-Pine Bluff – 66
Texas Southern – 50
Grambling – 31