Even though Alcorn State was the only team in the SWAC that did not play a spring season, the program maintained its reputation within the hierarchy in the conference.
The Braves’ football program decided to opt-out in February due to concerns with COVID-19 that significantly impacted its preparation and was unable to defend its league championship.
Alcorn State will enter the fall as preseason favorites to win the SWAC West, a division that had been previously dominated by Southern and Grambling State.
“I think those guys on the West side have been doing a great job doing the things they need to do to win,” said head coach Fred McNair. “I think we now have to come over and compete. It’s a challenge for us. We have to lace up our cleats every Saturday and try to win football games.”
The Braves will also be motivated by the fact no player on its current roster was placed on any preseason all-conference team and that Alabama A&M — champions of the spring — is considered just as good, if not, better.
“I still feel like we’re still SWAC champs,” said quarterback Felix Harper, who led the SWAC with 33 touchdowns in 2019. “Alabama A&M have something we had. “We’re trying to work hard each and every day to get that back.”
Senior defensive back Taurance Wilson explained he almost couldn’t bear being relegated to watching football on television and witnessing another team hoisting the championship trophy.
“Having to see somebody else hold our trophy … I didn’t like that feeling,” said Wilson, who recorded 43 tackles and four interceptions his last time out. “It has made us work harder.”