BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2015 SWAC Preseason Teams with quarterback John Gibbs Jr. (Alcorn State), and linebacker Kourtney Berry (Alabama State) headlining the annual announcement.

It was released during the 2015 SWAC Football Media Day after ballots were completed 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.


After earning First Team All SWAC and being named conference player of the year at the end of last season, Gibbs was voted on as the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  For the second straight year, 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 backs Lenard Tillery (Southern) and Johnta’ Hebert (Praire View), wide receivers Daniel Williams (Jackson State) and Willie Quinn (Southern), tight end Jordan Payne (Alcorn State), along with offensive linemen Marcus Cook (Jackson State), Damian Love (Alabama State), Glen Haisley (Prairie View), Anthony Mosley (Southern) 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 Danny Johnson (Southern), Damond Jackson (Prairie View), Warren Gatewood (Alcorn State) and Kevin Rucker (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) rounding out the voting.

For 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 TEAMKicker – Haiden McCraney – Alcorn State
Punter – Haiden McCraney – Alcorn State
Return Specialist Willie Quinn – Southern
2015 Predicted Order of Finish
EAST
Alcorn State
Jackson State
Alabama A&M
Alabama State
Mississippi Valley State
WEST
Grambling State
Southern
Prairie View
Texas Southern
Arkansas Pine Bluff

Courtesy: SWAC

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