With the 2014 season at the halfway point, some preseason forecasts have held true to form, while others have taken unexpected twists and turns through six weeks.
Coach Of The Midseason: Jay Hopson – Alcorn State
The Braves were expected to challenge for the SWAC East championship after an impressive 9-3 record in 2013. They have not disappointed in 2014. Under the leadership of Hopson, Alcorn State has gotten off to a 5-1 start with impressive victories over defending conference champion Southern and division foe Alabama State in consecutive weeks. Alcorn State leads the SWAC in 17 different offensive and defensive categories, including total offense and total defense. Alcorn State is the clear favorite to represent the East in Houston in the annual SWAC championship game come December.
Offensive Player Of The Midseason: Malcolm Cyrus- Alabama State
Even though he was held to a season low 63 yards last week versus a stingy Alcorn State defense, Cyrus has been the best running back in the conference in the first half of the regular season. Cyrus, the Walter Payton Award nominee, leads the SWAC in yards per game (131), total yards (787), is second in yards per attempt (6.4), second in touchdowns (5) and has tallied a conference-leading 1,033 from scrimmage.
Defensive Player Of The Midseason: Kourtney Berry – Alabama State
The senior linebacker is the leader of an Alabama State defense that is second only behind Alcorn State in scoring defense this season. Berry leads all SWAC defenders with 67 tackles (38 solo), is second in tackles per game (11.2) and has recorded two sacks.
Newcomer Of The Midseason: Darryan Ragsdale- Alcorn State
Not heralded coming out of Hinds Community College (Miss.), Ragsdale probably would be the best back in the SWAC if not for Malcolm Cyrus. Ragsdale has won the conference’s Newcomer of the Week twice so far this season while averaging 9.0 yards per rush, 583 total yards and scoring seven touchdowns in his first year at Alcorn State. His best individual game so far this season was a two touchdown, 174-yard masterpiece in the Braves 33-7 route of Alabama State.