BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2017 SWAC Preseason Teams Friday with 14 players from defending SWAC Champion and Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl winner Grambling State being tabbed for the most individual honors.
The teams were announced during SWAC Football Media Day at the newly renovated Birmingham Marriott after ballots were cast by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
49 players were named to this year’s preseason teams, with several returning players that earned SWAC All-Conference honors at the conclusion of the 2016 season. Should a player that was named to the first team in the postseason awards not return, the second-team player for that position was elevated to the first team. Players were ranked in their position based upon the number of votes received. Ballots required voters to rank their selections in order.
After helping lead the Tigers to a conference-best 11-win season, Grambling State quarterback Devante Kincade was the voters’ choice for the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year award. In 2016, Kincade completed 63 percent of his passes and threw for 3,022 yards with 31 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
Jackson State defensive end Keontre Anderson was tabbed as the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after leading the nation with 25.5 tackles for a loss to go along with nine sacks and six hurries.
Prairie View A&M had the second most selections with eight including four first teamers. Alcorn State and Southern were tied for the third most amount of selections with seven apiece (four first team selections each) while Alabama A&M garnered five selections. Jackson State nabbed three spots, Alabama State and Mississippi Valley State each had two representatives while Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff had one selection apiece.
Joining Kincade on the preseason first-team offense are: running backs Martez Carter (Grambling State) and Jordan Bentley (Alabama A&M), offensive linemen Trent Scott (Grambling State), Donovan Wheaton (Prairie View A&M), Timothy Gardner (Alcorn State), William Waddell (Grambling State), and Sam Baptiste (Alabama State), wide receivers KhaDarel Hodge (Prairie View A&M) and Devohn Lindsey (Grambling State) and tight end Dillon Beard (Southern).
Joining Anderson on the preseason first-team defense are: defensive linemen Aaron Tiller (Southern), Michael Brooks (Alcorn State), and DeVohn Reed (Prairie View A&M), linebackers Kenneth Davis (Alabama A&M), Sean Jones (Texas Southern), De’Arius Christmas (Grambling State), and defensive backs Danny Johnson (Southern), Everett Nicholas (Mississippi Valley State), Tere Calloway (Alabama A&M) and Derrick Dixon (Grambling State).
Kicker Nick Carden (Alabama A&M), punter Owen Hoolihan and Martez Carter (Grambling State) were each tabbed as first team selections for special teams. Carter was the only player to double as a first team selection at separate positions (also made first team as a running back).
East Division defending champion Alcorn State totaled 80 points as it was named the preseason favorite to win the East. Alabama State was selected to finish in second with 66 points, Jackson State received 59 points, followed by Alabama A&M (45) and Mississippi Valley State (20).
In the West Division, reigning SWAC champion and Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl winner Grambling State was chosen as the overall favorite after amassing a conference-best 85 points in the voting. Southern was selected second after it received 68 points. Prairie View A&M followed closely in third place with 59 points while Texas Southern (37) and Arkansas Pine Bluff (21) rounded out the order of predicted finish.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Devante Kincade (QB) – Grambling State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Keontre Anderson (DL) – Jackson State
2017 Preseason All-SWAC Football Team
|FIRST TEAM OFFENSE|
|QB||Devante Kincade||Grambling State|
|RB||Martez Carter||Grambling State|
|RB||Jordan Bentley||Alabama A&M|
|OL||Trent Scott||Grambling State|
|OL||Donovan Wheaton||Prairie View A&M|
|OL||Timothy Gardner||Alcorn State|
|OL||William Waddell||Grambling State|
|OL||Sam Baptiste||Alabama State|
|WR||KhaDarel Hodge||Prairie View A&M|
|WR||Devohn Lindsey||Grambling State|
|DL||Keontre Anderson||Jackson State|
|DL||Michael Brooks||Alcorn State|
|DL||DeVohn Reed||Prairie View A&M|
|LB||Kenneth Davis||Alabama A&M|
|LB||Sean Jones||Texas Southern|
|LB||De’Arius Christmas||Grambling State|
|DB||Everett Nicholas||Mississippi Valley State|
|DB||Tere Calloway||Alabama A&M|
|DB||Derrick Dixon||Grambling State|
|K||Nick Carden||Alabama A&M|
|P||Owen Hoolihan||Prairie View A&M|
|RS||Martez Carter||Grambling State|
|SECOND TEAM OFFENSE|
|RB||Sta’Fon McCray||Prairie View A&M|
|RB||De’Lance Turner||Alcorn State|
|OL||Deonte Brooks||Alcorn State|
|OL||Vincent Hunter||Jackson State|
|OL||Austin Simmons||Alabama A&M|
|OL||Alvin Solomon||Mississippi Valley State|
|WR||Norlando Veals||Alcorn State|
|WR||Darius Floyd||Prairie View A&M|
|TE||Jordan Jones||Grambling State|
|DL||Christopher Johnson||Grambling State|
|DL||James Harper||Prairie View A&M|
|DL||Brandon Varner||Grambling State|
|DL||Ramonte Bell||Alcorn State|
|LB||Malcolm Williams||Grambling State|
|LB||Shawn Bishop||Jackson State|
|DB||Ja’Terious Pouncy||Grambling State|
|DB||O.J. O’Neal||Alcorn State|
|DB||Percy Cargo||Grambling State|
|K||Trevor Vincent||Alabama State|
|P||Jamie Gillan||Arkansas-Pine Bluff|
|RS||Joshua Simmons||Prairie View A&M|
2017 Eastern Division Predicted Order of Finish
|Mississippi Valley State||20|
2017 Western Division Predicted Order of Finish
|Prairie View A&M||59|