BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2014 SWAC Preseason Teams with quarterback Ben Anderson (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), and linebacker Kourtney Berry (Alabama State) headlining the list.
The announcement was made during the 2014 SWAC Football Media Day after ballots were completed by the league's head coaches, sports information directors, and selected national media members. Twenty-five players were named to this year's preseason teams as a result of receiving 2013 All SWAC honors. In the event that a player was named to the first team during the post season, and does not return, the second team player for that position was elevated to the first team. Players were ranked in their position based on the number of votes received.
For the second consecutive year, Anderson was voted on as the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. In only his second season as a Hornet, Berry was tabbed as the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Last season, Anderson finished second in the league in passing yards (2,787) with 19 touchdowns while completing 58 percent of his passes. In 2012, the Little Rock, Ark. native earned first team All-SWAC honors before leading the Golden Lions to and 10-2 record a their first-outright SWAC Championship crown since sharing the title in 1966. He was named Offensive MVP of the 2012 Toyota SWAC Football Championship.
Anderson is joined on the preseason first-team offense with running backs Courtney Brown (Prairie View) and Malcolm Cyrus (Alabama State), wide receivers Montarious Smith (Alabama A&M) and Willie Quinn (Southern), tight end Jordan Payne (Alcorn State), along with offensive linemen Issac Sampson (Alcorn State), Dillon Bonnet (Prairie View), Johnathan Smith (Jackson State), Jonathan Scott (Alcorn State) and Anthony Mosley (Southern).
Berry was arguably the biggest surprise from the 2013 season. As a redshirt freshman, he made an immediate impact. He finished the year with 105 tackles to lead ASU and was second in the conference. The Merrillville, Ind. native notched seven sacks and 12.5 TFL while also recovering two fumbles and intercepting a pass. He was named the 2013 SWAC Newcomer of the Year while also garnering First Team All-SWAC honors.
Others to join Berry include: defensive linemen Derrick Billups (Alabama State), Amir Bloom (Texas Southern), Javancy Jones (Jackson State), and Deion Roberson (Alcorn State), linebackers Jerome Howard (Prairie View), Antonio Jenkins Arkansas Pine Bluff) with defensive backs Avery Boykin (Mississippi Valley State), C.J. Morgan (Alcorn State), Devon Francois (Alcorn State) and Deandre Rashada (Alabama State) rounding out the voting.
For the special teams, kicker Haiden McCraney (Alcorn State), punter Kory Carter (Texas Southern), and return specialist Julian Stafford (Alabama State) were all tabbed as first team selections.
For the predicted order of finish in both divisions, the defending champion Southern Jaguars totaled 95 votes including eight first place votes to become the preseason favorite out of the West Division. Prairie View A&M followed with 88 points, Arkansas-Pine Bluff gathered 66 points, with Texas Southern (50) and Grambling State (31) closing the divison's preseason ranking.
Predicted Order of Finish