BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Four Southern University veterans welcomed a trio of Jaguar newcomers to the All-SWAC team as the Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2017 SWAC Preseason Teams Friday.
2016 All-Conference performers tight end Dillon Beard, quarterback Austin Howard, defensive back Danny Johnson and defensive end Aaron Tiller joined offensive lineman Skylar Prol, linebacker Kentavious Preston and defensive back Jamar Mitchell on the 2017 edition of the league's preseason team.
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.
Grambling State quarterback Devante Kincade was the voters' choice for the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year award while 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.
Southern's seven selections - three on the All-SWAC first team - tied Alcorn State for the third most amount of selections. Defending SWAC Champion and Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl winner Grambling State earned the most individual honors on the All-conference team with 14 players. Prairie View A&M had the second most selections with eight including four first teamers.
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, Southern, who received 68 points, was tabbed to finish second behind Grambling State, who was selected as the overall favorite after amassing a conference-best 85 points in the voting. 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 in the West.
Southern University opens Fall Camp on July 28 when players reports for check in before holding its first practice on Jul7 29 at 9:15 a.m. The Jaguars host South Carolina State on Sunday, Sept. 3 in the 2017 MEAC/SWAC Challenge in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. CST and tickets are available now at the SU Ticket Office and on Ticketmaster.com.