This week we recap the 44th annual Bayou Classic and take a look at this weekends “Final Judgement” the SWAC Title game.
Grambling State quarterback Devante Kincade, Grambling State linebacker De’Arius Christmas, Prairie View A&M kicker Zach Elder and Mississippi Valley State wide receiver Quinn McElfresh were among the large individual awards winners announced on the 2017 SWAC Football All-Conference Teams Thursday by the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
SWAC FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS RELEASED
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2017 All-Conference Teams Thursday with 12 players from the SWAC West Division champions Grambling State being tabbed for the most individual honors.
The teams were announced two days prior to the 2017 Toyota SWAC Football Championship at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, after ballots were cast by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
50 players were named to this year’s All-Conference teams. 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 10-win season, Grambling State quarterback Devante Kincade was the voters’ choice for the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year award. Following up on his SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year nod, Kincade completed 59.7 percent of his passes and threw for 2,409 yards with 19 touchdowns against just three interceptions. The senior held the top passing efficiency with a rating of 143.8. Additionally, Kincade accounted for the most total yards of offense as well with 2,649 yards.
De’Arius Christmas was tabbed as the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year after he was ranked fourth in the conference in tackles with 76, third in the SWAC with 14.5 tackles for a loss, to go along with 3.5 sacks (18th in SWAC), and two forced fumbles (tied for fourth in SWAC).
Mississippi Valley State junior transfer wide receiver Quinn McElfresh was named the SWAC Newcomer of the Year after leading the conference in receptions per game (5.2), was ranked second in receiving yards per game (80.8), led in receiving yards (889) and added five touchdowns.
Prairie View A&M kicker Zach Elder was honored with the SWAC Freshman of the Year award after ranking tied for third in the conference in scoring (72 points) as he made 42-of-43 PATs and converted on 10-of-12 field goals. He led the SWAC in PAT percentage (97.7).
Broderick Fobbs was dubbed the SWAC Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to another double-digit win season and a third consecutive trip to the SWAC Championship. Grambling State lead the conference in points per game (32.0), was second in points allowed per game (19.4) and boosted the conference’s best run stopping defense (allowed 94.0 yards per game), most interceptions (16), most sacks (41) and one of the nation’s top turnover ratios (plus 21) as well as the SWAC’s top red zone offense (converted on 90 percent of chances).
SWAC East Division winner Alcorn State had the second most amount of selections with nine, SWAC West Division runner up Southern and Prairie View A&M followed closely behind with eight selections apiece on the teams.
Mississippi Valley State had four selections while Alabama A&M and Alabama State each garnered three selections apiece, Arkansas-Pine Bluff had two selections and Jackson State had one representative.
Joining Kincade on the preseason first-team offense are: running backs De’Lance Turner (Alcorn State), Martez Carter (Grambling State) and offensive linemen Trent Scott (Grambling State), Timothy Gardner (Alcorn State), William Waddell (Grambling State), Kenyon Brantley (Alcorn State), and Sam Baptiste (Alabama State), wide receivers Norlando Veals (Alcorn State) and Khadarel Hodge (Prairie View A&M) and tight end Dillon Beard (Southern). Joining Christmas on the first-team defense are: defensive linemen Aaron Tiller (Southern), La’Allan Clark (Grambling State), Brandon Varner (Grambling State), and Vernon Moland (Alabama A&M), linebackers Kenneth Davis (Alabama A&M), and Jalyn Williams (Prairie View A&M) and defensive backs Danny Johnson (Southern), De’Aumante Johnson (Grambling State), Ju’Anthony Parker (Prairie View A&M), and Ronnie Scott (Alabama State). Kicker Marc Orozco (Grambling State), punter Jamie Gillan (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) and Darius Floyd (Prairie View A&M) were each tabbed as first team selections for special teams. Offensive Player of the Year: Devante Kincade (QB) – Grambling State Defensive Player of the Year: De’Arius Christmas (LB) – Grambling State
Newcomer of the Year: Quinn McElfresh (WR) – Mississippi Valley State
Freshman of the Year: Zach Elder (K) – Prairie View A&M
Coach of the Year: Broderick Fobbs – Grambling State MORE
MEAC ANNOUNCES 2017 FOOTBALL POSTSEASON HONORS
|North Carolina A&T State University led the way in this year’s All-MEAC voting as the Aggies had 12 student-athletes named to the first team. The team is voted on by the MEAC’s head football coaches and sports information directors.
North Carolina A&T State’s Brandon Parker made history as the first player to be named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year for three consecutive seasons. Howard University freshman Caylin Newton was tabbed as the league’s Freshman of the Year while North Carolina A&T State’s Rod Broadway was selected as Coach of the Year.
In a partnership with the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame, the league’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year will be announced as part of the festivities surrounding the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Hilton Midtown in New York City. The event will be televised live on ESPN3 at 9 a.m.
Parker capped off his final season in dominating fashion as he was named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week seven times while serving as the anchor of an offensive line that allowed the least amount of sacks in the MEAC. The Aggie offense put together one of their finest offensive seasons in university history as they led the MEAC in scoring offense (36.4 ppg), pass offense (257.5), first downs (231), 3rd down conversions (42.9%), 4th down conversions (61.5%) and time of possession (32:57). The Kannapolis, N.C. native and Walter Payton Award nominee finished the season without allowing a sack as N.C. A&T finished the regular season with eight games over 400-plus yards of offense.
Newton stepped onto the college football scene in style as he helped lead Howard to its first-ever FCS win at UNLV in his collegiate debut. From that point, Newton couldn’t be stopped as he guided the MEAC’s top-rated offensive unit (447.8 ypg) and rushing offense (217.4 ypg). Newton was the first freshman in MEAC history to surpass 3,000 yards of total offense (3,185) as he averaged 289.5 yards of offense per outing. The Jerry Rice Award nominee also led the MEAC in scoring as he combined for 25 touchdowns en route to leading Howard to its best finish and record since 2012.
All Broadway did in 2017 was win as the Aggies capped off their best regular season in school history with a perfect 11-0 (8-0 MEAC) mark. The Aggies are one of only two undefeated teams in FCS play and are the 2017 MEAC champions for the third time in four years. For the first time in 14 years, the Aggies are the outright conference champions. The Eddie Robinson Award nominee became the school’s second all-time winningest coach this season and has reached 50 wins faster than any other coach in school history, getting his 50th win at N.C. A&T in 72 games coached.
Broadway has one more game remaining as the Aggies will play in its second Celebration Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. No MEAC team has finished the season with both a perfect regular season and postseason mark.
Listed below are the 2017 All-MEAC teams:
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Brandon Parker, North Carolina A&T State