BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2015 SWAC Preseason Teams with quarterback John Gibbs Jr. (Alcorn State), and linebacker Kourtney Berry (Alabama State) headlining the annual announcement.
It was released during the 2015 SWAC Football Media Day after ballots were completed by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Fifty-one players were named to this year’s preseason teams as a result of receiving 2014 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.
After earning First Team All SWAC and being named conference player of the year at the end of last season, Gibbs was voted on as the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. For the second straight year, Berry was tabbed as SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Gibbs led the Braves to an eastern division title and the team’s first berth to the conference championship game. He completed 169-of-294 passes for a total of 2,482 yards and 21 touchdowns. Gibbs also ran for a career-high 1,006 yards on the ground and another 12 scores last season.
Gibbs, a Houston, Texas native, is joined on the preseason first-team offense with running backs Lenard Tillery (Southern) and Johnta’ Hebert (Praire View), wide receivers Daniel Williams (Jackson State) and Willie Quinn (Southern), tight end Jordan Payne (Alcorn State), along with offensive linemen Marcus Cook (Jackson State), Damian Love (Alabama State), Glen Haisley (Prairie View), Anthony Mosley (Southern) and Jylan Ware (Alabama State).
Berry led the SWAC in total tackles during his first two years grabbing over 100 tackles, including a SWAC-high 128 last season. He is a two-time First Team All-SWAC performer and has been named to several pre-and post-season honors.
Others to join Berry include: defensive linemen Anthony Lanier (Alabama A&M), Darien Moody (Alcorn State), Demarcus Berry (Arkansas Pine Bluff), and Devohn Reed (Prairie View), linebackers Damon Watkins (Alcorn State), Willie Duncan Arkansas Pine Bluff), with defensive backs Danny Johnson (Southern), Damond Jackson (Prairie View), Warren Gatewood (Alcorn State) and Kevin Rucker (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) rounding out the voting.
For special teams, kicker Ryan Deising (Jackson State), punter Kory Carter (Texas Southern) and return specialist Johnta’ Hebert (Prairie View) were all tabbed as first team selections.
For the predicted order of finish in both divisions, the defending champion Alcorn State Braves totaled 95 votes including 10 first place votes to become the preseason favorite out of the East Division. Jackson State followed with 83 points, Alabama A&M gathered 66 points, with Alabama State (50) and Mississippi Valley State (31) closing the division’s preseason ranking.
In the West Division, Grambling State totaled 93 points with eight first-place votes. Southern received 91 points followed by Prairie View (72), Texas Southern (40) and Arkansas Pine Bluff (34).
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: John Gibbs Jr. (QB) – Alcorn State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kourtney Berry (LB) – Alabama State
2015 Preseason All SWAC Football Team
First Team All SWAC Offense
|QB – John Gibbs Jr||Alcorn State|
|RB – Lenard Tillery||Southern|
|RB – Johnta’ Hebert||Prairie View|
|OL – Marcus Cook||Jackson State|
|OL – Damian Love||Alabama State|
|OL – Glen Haisley||Prairie View|
|OL – Anthony Mosley||Southern|
|OL – Jylan Ware||Alabama State|
|WR – Daniel Williams||Jackson State|
|WR – Willie Quinn||Southern|
|TE – Jordan Payne||Alcorn State|
First Team All SWAC Defense
|DL – Anthony Lanier||Alabama A&M|
|DL – Darien Moody||Alcorn State|
|DL – Demarcus Berry||Arkansas Pine Bluff|
|DL – Devohn Reed||Prairie View|
|LB – Damon Watkins||Alcorn State|
|LB – Willie Duncan||Arkansas Pine Bluff|
|LB – Kourtney Berry||Alabama State|
|DB – Danny Johnson||Southern|
|DB – Damond Jackson||Prairie View|
|DB – Warren Gatewood||Alcorn State|
|DB- Kevin Rucker||Arkansas Pine Bluff|
Second Team All SWAC Offense
|QB – Johnathan Williams||Grambling State|
|QB – La Montiez Ivy||Jackson State|
|RB – Brian Handley||Arkansas Pine Bluff|
|RB – Arron Baker||Alcorn State|
|OL – Sean Brown||Mississippi Valley State|
|OL- Terrell Lee||Southern|
|OL – Jordan Johnson||Prairie View|
|OL – Glenn Jackson||Texas Southern|
|OL – Courtney Brown||Alabama A&M|
|WR – DeMario Bell||Alabama State|
|WR – Willie Young||Arkansas Pine Bluff|
|TE – Natron Brooks||Mississippi Valley State|
Second Team All SWAC Defense
|DL – Javonte Williams||Grambling State|
|DL – Jamison Goins||Grambling State|
|DL – Amir Bloom||Texas Southern|
|DL – Gabe Echols||Southern|
|LB – Daerius Washington||Alabama State|
|LB – Henry Taylor||Grambling State|
|LB – Javancy Jones||Jackson State|
|DB – Anthony Williams Jr.||Alcorn State|
|DB – Robert Porter||Jackson State|
|DB – Dionte McDuffy||Southern|
|DB – Charles Moore||Mississippi Valley State|
Punter – Haiden McCraney – Alcorn State
Return Specialist Willie Quinn – Southern
Mississippi Valley State
Arkansas Pine Bluff