Savanna State football
Photo: Savannah State Athletics

This year’s Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference preseason team features 25 returning players from the 2019 team, led by Mitchell Smiley of Miles College who was selected as this years’ Preseason Defensive Player of the Year alongside D’Angelo Durham, Savannah State who was tabbed as the 2021 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year announced Thursday during the league’s virtual media day.

All votes are submitted by head coaches and sports information directors.

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year 
D’Angelo Durham, Savannah State
Running Back

Durham, a senior running back, was chosen as this years’ Preseason Offensive Player of the Year after he helped the Tigers in 2019 to their first winning season in program history since 1998. The Augusta, Ga. native helped fortify the Tiger’s old-school option offense, leading the team to a 7-3 season and 5-0 SIAC record. Durham netted 1,029 rushing yards (No. 2 in the SIAC) on 192 attempts and led the SIAC and the Tigers in touchdowns (12). He was a key element in an offense that set a new school record for most rushing yards (2,603) in a single season. Within the SIAC in 2019, Savannah State’s offense finished with the No. 2 scoring offense and the No. 2 rushing offense. The Tigers finished with the No. 12 best rushing offense in the nation (NCAA Division II).

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year 
Mitchell Smiley, Miles

Smiley, a Huntsville, Ala. native, was a second-team All-SIAC performer last year and one of Miles’ most versatile defenders. He led the Golden Bears in tackles, tackles for loss, and was second in sacks. He was also one of only two players in the SIAC to finish in the top-10 in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Smiley had a tackle for loss in each of Miles’ 12 games and had three games with at least 10 tackles, including 14 (ten of which were solo) in the NCAA Division II playoff game against Lenoir-Rhyne.

Preseason Rankings
In the East Division, Savannah State was voted to capture the Division Championship title and potentially face Miles who was picked to top the Western Division for the second season and meet in the 2021 SIAC Football Championship Game, scheduled for November 13 hosted by the Western Division Champion.

Led by Shawn Quinn, Savannah State finished the 2019 season with a 7-3 overall record (5-0 in the SIAC). Miles, coached by reigning SIAC Coach of the Year Reginald Ruffin, posted a 9-3 record in 2019 (5-1 in the SIAC), making his second NCAA Division II Football Championship appearance in school history.

Also read: SIAC Commissioner makes CNN appearance to explain conference vaccination mandate

Football Preseason Rankings by Division
Eastern Division
1.     Savannah State
2.     Albany State
3.     Fort Valley State
4.     Morehouse
5.     Benedict
6.     Clark Atlanta
7.     Edward Waters*
8.     Allen*

Western Division
1.     Miles
2.     Tuskegee
3.     Kentucky State
4.     Central State
5.     Lane

*Allen University and Edward Waters University are first-year provisional members of NCAA Division II and are not eligible for SIAC nor NCAA football post-season competition.

2021 SIAC Football Preseason Team
First Team

Position Name School
Offensive Lineman Emmanuel Boone Fort Valley State
Offensive Lineman Anthony Geter Kentucky State
Offensive Lineman Miquail Harvey Albany State
Offensive Lineman Harvey King Savannah State
Offensive Lineman Kelvin Dennis Morehouse
Tight End Montavious Tinch Miles
Wide Receiver Dalane Brown II Central State
Wide Receiver Anthony Evelyn Lane
Running Back Brett Sylve Kentucky State
Running Back Santo Dunn Morehouse
Quarterback Mike Sims Morehouse
Defensive Lineman Jahseari Patterson Fort Valley State
Defensive Lineman Jaylun Thomas Miles
Defensive Lineman Cam Brown Savannah State
Defensive Lineman Derik Davis Albany State
Linebacker Kailen Abrams Central State
Linebacker Mitchell Smiley Miles
Linebacker N’Ktavious Floyd Miles
Defensive Back Zach Anderson Fort Valley State
Defensive Back Ny’em Bozeman Savannah State
Defensive Back Coemba Jones Albany State
Defensive Back D’Armani Ridley Savannah State
Kicker Gabriel Ballinas Albany State
Punter Fernando Sdelamora Morehouse
Punt Returner Einaj Carter Savannah State
Kick Returner Anthony Evelyn Lane

Second Team

Position Name School
Offensive Lineman Tyler Lowery Miles
Offensive Lineman Connor Vasher Savannah State
Offensive Lineman KaTray Pringle Albany State
Offensive Lineman Waylin Bell Fort Valley State
Offensive Lineman Dylan McCloud Savannah State
Tight End Kendell Wimberly Clark Atlanta
Wide Receiver Einaj Carter Savannah State
Wide Receiver Shemar Bridges Fort Valley State
Running Back D’Angelo Durham Savannah State
Running Back Donte Edwards Miles
Quarterback Tarik McKinzie Lane
Defensive Lineman Donta Marshall Central State
Defensive Lineman Kadarius Roberts Miles
Defensive Lineman Salik McRay Savannah State
Defensive Lineman Breante Glover Clark Atlanta
Linebacker Walter Yates Savannah State
Linebacker Brayce McKinzie Lane
Linebacker Jeffrey Johnson Lane
Defensive Back Rodney Coleman Miles
Defensive Back Daniel Norman Morehouse
Defensive Back Michael Hicks, Jr. Fort Valley State
Defensive Back Dontavis Hunt Benedict
Kicker Fernando Sdelamora Morehouse
Punter Jared Eubanks Benedict
Punt Returner Brett Sylve Kentucky State
Kick Returner Derell Williams Central State

Courtesy: SIAC 


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