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 the 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



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

TE Dillon Beard, Southern


DL Keontre Anderson, Jackson State

DL Aaron Tiller, Southern

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 Danny Johnson, Southern

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



QB Austin Howard, Southern

RB Sta’Fon McCray, Prairie View A&M

RB De’Lance Turner, Alcorn State

OL Skylar Prol, Southern

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 Kentavious Preston, Southern

LB Malcolm Williams, Grambling State

LB Shawn Bishop, Jackson State

DB Ja’Terious Pouncy, Grambling State

DB O.J. O’Neal, Alcorn State

DB Jamar Mitchell, Southern

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

School                    Points

Alcorn State                 80

Alabama State             66

Jackson State               59

Alabama A&M            45

Miss. Valley State       20

2017 Western Division Predicted Order of Finish

School                   Points

Grambling State          85

Southern                      68

Prairie View A&M      59

Texas Southern           37

Arkansas-Pine Bluff   21

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