Seven Jaguars named to 2015 Preseason All-SWAC team

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Seven Southern Jaguars earned 2015 Preseason All Southwestern Athletic Conference honors Friday as the league unveiled its preseason teams and predicted order of finish at the 2015 SWAC Media Day held at the Birmingham Marriott.

Members of the 2015 All-SWAC teams were selected by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Fifty-one players were named to this year’s preseason teams as a result of receiving 2014 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.

Running back and Baton Rouge native Lenard Tillery, along with wide receiver Willie Quinn and sophomore defensive back Danny Johnson received First Team All-SWAC honors after landing a spot on last season’s team. Offensive lineman Anthony Mosley, who was named to the 2013 All-SWAC second team, earned Southern’s final spot on the first team.

Senior defensive lineman Gabe Echols returns to the 2015 All-SWAC second team and is joined by newcomers center Terrell Lee and safety and Evangel Christian product Dionte McDuffy. Quinn earned a spot on the All-SWAC second team as a return specialist for the second consecutive year.

After earning First Team All SWAC and being named conference player of the year at the end of last season, Alcorn State quarterback John Gibbs was voted on as the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  For the second straight year, Alabama State linebacker Kourtney Berry was tabbed as SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Gibbs led the Braves to an eastern division title and the team’s first berth to the conference championship game.  He completed 169-of-294 passes for a total of 2,482 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Gibbs also ran for a career-high 1,006 yards on the ground and another 12 scores last season.

Gibbs, a Houston, Texas native, is joined on the preseason first-team offense with running back Johnta’ Hebert (Praire View), wide receivers Daniel Williams (Jackson State), tight end Jordan Payne (Alcorn State), along with offensive linemen Marcus Cook (Jackson State), Damian Love (Alabama State), Glen Haisley (Prairie View) and Jylan Ware (Alabama State).

Berry led the SWAC in total tackles during his first two years grabbing over 100 tackles, including a SWAC-high 128 last season.  He is a two-time First Team All-SWAC performer and has been named to several pre-and post-season honors

Others to join Berry include: defensive linemen Anthony Lanier (Alabama A&M), Darien Moody (Alcorn State), Demarcus Berry (Arkansas Pine Bluff), and Devohn Reed (Prairie View), linebackers Damon Watkins (Alcorn State), Willie Duncan Arkansas Pine Bluff), with defensive backs, Damond Jackson (Prairie View), Warren Gatewood (Alcorn State) and Kevin Rucker (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) rounding out the voting.

On special teams, kicker Ryan Deising (Jackson State), punter Kory Carter (Texas Southern) and return specialist Johnta’ Hebert (Prairie View) were all tabbed as first team selections.

For the predicted order of finish in both divisions, the defending champion Alcorn State Braves totaled 95 votes including 10 first place votes to become the preseason favorite out of the East Division. Jackson State followed with 83 points, Alabama A&M gathered 66 points, with Alabama State (50) and Mississippi Valley State (31) closing the division’s preseason ranking.

In the West Division, Grambling State totaled 93 points with eight first-place votes. Southern received 91 points followed by Prairie View (72), Texas Southern (40) and Arkansas Pine Bluff (34).

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: John Gibbs Jr. (QB) – Alcorn State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kourtney Berry (LB) – Alabama State

2015 Preseason All SWAC Football Team

First Team All SWAC Offense

QB – John Gibbs Jr

Alcorn State

RB – Lenard Tillery

Southern

RB – Johnta’ Hebert

Prairie View

OL – Marcus Cook

Jackson State

OL –  Damian Love

Alabama State

OL – Glen Haisley

Prairie View

OL –  Anthony Mosley

Southern

OL – Jylan Ware

Alabama State

WR – Daniel Williams

Jackson State

WR – Willie Quinn

Southern

TE – Jordan Payne

Alcorn State

 First Team All SWAC Defense

DL – Anthony Lanier

Alabama A&M

DL – Darien Moody

Alcorn State

DL – Demarcus Berry

Arkansas Pine Bluff

DL – Devohn Reed

Prairie View

LB – Damon Watkins

Alcorn State

LB – Willie Duncan

Arkansas Pine Bluff

LB – Kourtney Berry

Alabama State

DB – Danny Johnson

Southern

DB – Damond Jackson

Prairie View

DB – Warren Gatewood

Alcorn State

DB- Kevin Rucker

Arkansas Pine Bluff

 SPECIAL TEAMS – FIRST TEAM

Kicker Ryan Deising –Jackson State
Punter Corey Carter – Texas Southern
Return Specialist Johnta’ Hebert -Prairie View

Second Team All SWAC Offense

QB – Johnathan Williams

Grambling State

QB – La Montiez Ivy

Jackson State

RB – Brian Handley

Arkansas Pine Bluff

RB – Arron Baker

Alcorn State

OL – Sean Brown

Mississippi Valley State

OL- Terrell Lee

Southern

OL – Jordan Johnson

Prairie View

OL – Glenn Jackson

Texas Southern

OL –  Courtney Brown

Alabama A&M

WR – DeMario Bell

Alabama State

WR – Willie Young

Arkansas Pine Bluff

TE – Natron Brooks

Mississippi Valley State

 Second Team All SWAC Defense

DL – Javonte Williams

Grambling State

DL – Jamison Goins

Grambling State

DL – Amir Bloom

Texas Southern

DL – Gabe Echols

Southern

LB – Daerius Washington

Alabama State

LB – Henry Taylor

Grambling State

LB – Javancy Jones

Jackson State

DB – Anthony Williams Jr.

Alcorn State

DB – Robert Porter

Jackson State

DB – Dionte McDuffy

Southern

DB –  Charles Moore

Mississippi Valley State

SPECIAL TEAMS – SECOND TEAM

Kicker – Haiden McCraney – Alcorn State
Punter – Haiden McCraney – Alcorn State
Return Specialist Willie Quinn – Southern

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Christopher Jones

Christopher Jones

Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations, Southern University

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