SWAC East Champion: Alcorn State
The Braves won the SWAC championship for the second straight season before losing to North Carolina A&T in the first-ever Celebration Bowl. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cloak=”y” identifier=”B005XNMNM2″ locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
But unlike the previous four years, Alcorn State will be without Jay Hopson in pursuit of a three-peat, who now is the head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi.
In his place will be former Alcorn quarterback Fred McNair, who was the assistant head coach under Hopson during his tenure.
The Braves return five starters to an offense that was only behind Prairie View in total offense. Leading the group will be junior Lenoriss Footman, who will be in his first full season as starter after being behind John Gibbs Jr. last season before being pressed into action
In 11 games last season, Footman had 2,129 all-purpose yards and accounted for 25 touchdowns.
The Alcorn rushing attack will continue to be strong, as the Braves get back Marquis Warford and Aaron Baker to a backfield that was among the best in the conference.
The defense won’t look too different from last season, as Darien Moody, Warren Gatewood and Stacey Garner highlight a group that was good but not great in 2015.
A new coaching staff provides some uncertainly for a team that was not as good as it was two seasons ago when the program dominated the conference on its way to the school’s first SWAC championship in the divisional era.
Overall, the SWAC East should be Alcorn’s again, as the division figures to stagnate.