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FCS Season Preview: SWAC
Birmingham, AL (Sports Network) - Quinton Spears could serve as the poster child for Prairie View A&M football.

The redshirt senior has gone from being a walk-on at wide receiver in 2006 to an All-Southwestern Athletic Conference first-team selection at defensive end in 2009.

"It's really like the Prairie View story," Spears says. "You know, we started out at the bottom, and then we started gradually rising and rising."

Prairie View was at the bottom of the entire FCS when it lost an almost unfathomable 80 straight games from 1989-98. The Panthers have risen under seventh-year head coach Henry Frazier III and are coming off their second straight 9-1 season and their first SWAC championship since 1964. With the return of a veteran team, they are a clear favorite to repeat as conference champions.

"We talked about that as a team, we talked about how this is new territory for all of us," senior quarterback K.J. Black said. "There's not a lot of people on the team that (previously) have been champions.


K.J. Black won the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year award last season.
"We're just going into every game knowing that we are the hunted. We're not gunning for Grambling, we're not gunning for anybody. Now we have to show everyone why we are champions."

Prairie View A&M won the Western Division title and then beat Alabama A&M, 30-24, in the SWAC Championship Game. The two teams meet again in their regular-season finale on Nov. 20 in Huntsville, Ala., and it's conceivable that the game will be another preview of the conference title matchup.

The Panthers believe they will be there with the return of eight players who made the SWAC's preseason first team, more selections than any of the other nine teams had on both the first and second teams. The leader is Black, who wasn't the starter at the beginning of last season, but took over the offense in the second half of the Panthers' second game and went on to win the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year award. He was the FCS' most efficient quarterback (172.77 passer rating), completing over 70 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

Prairie View was effective in the way it jumped on opponents, outscoring them by more than a two-to-one margin in the first halves (169 to 83) of games.

The Panthers will know a lot about themselves before September ends as they will face their two biggest challengers in the Western Division, Texas Southern on Sept. 5 in the Labor Day Classic at Houston's Reliant Stadium and Grambling State on Sept. 25 in the State Fair Classic at Dallas' Cotton Bowl.

Texas Southern features quarterback Arvell Nelson, the 2009 SWAC Newcomer of the Year. Grambling State's standout is the reigning conference defensive player of the year, senior defensive end Christian Anthony. He is a favorite to win the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award, which is sponsored by Fathead.com and honors the FCS' most outstanding defensive player.

In the Eastern Division, Alabama A&M hopes to make its 100th season of football memorable. That division is more of a toss-up with Jackson State strong enough to win the title, and hosting the Bulldogs on Oct. 9. In addition, Alcorn State returns a veteran starting lineup.
Preseason SWAC All-Conf Team
First-Team Offense

OL- Russell Jackson, Alabama A&M;
OL- James Dekle, Prairie View A&M;
OL- Tim Tusey, Prairie View A&M;
OL- Ramon Chinyoung, Southern;
OL- Charles Smith, Texas Southern
RB- Frank Warren, Grambling State;
RB- Donald Babers, Prairie View A&M.
WR- Nick Andrews, Alabama State;
WR- William Osbourn, Texas Southern;
TE- Ryan Singleton, Alcorn State.
QB- K.J. Black, Prairie View A&M

First-Team Defense

DL- Frank Kearse, Alabama A&M;
DL- Christian Anthony, Grambling State;
DL- Donovan Robinson, Jackson State;
DL- Quinton Spears, Prairie View A&M.
LB- Afu Okosun, Alabama A&M;
LB- Cliff Exama, Grambling State;
LB- Max Sencherey, Prairie View A&M.
DB- Anthony Johnson, Jackson State;
DB- Kerry Hoskins, Jackson State;
DB- Chris Adingupu, Prairie View A&M;
DB- Jason House, Southern

First-Team Specialists

PK- Ari Johnson, Grambling State;
P- Pedro Ventura, Prairie View A&M;
KR- Kiare Thompson, Grambling State

Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2010 SWAC race:

The Sports Network's predicted order of finish:

Eastern Division
1. Alabama A&M
2. Jackson State
3. Alcorn State
4. Alabama State
5. Mississippi Valley State

Western Division
1. Prairie View A&M
2. Texas Southern
3. Grambling State
4. Southern
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Offensive Player of the Year: K.J. Black, QB, Prairie View A&M

Defensive Player of the Year: Christian Anthony, DE, Grambling State

EASTERN DIVISION

1. ALABAMA A&M BULLDOGS (7-5 overall; 4-3 SWAC)

COACH: Anthony Jones (61-33 in eight seasons at Alabama A&M; 79-46 overall)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (7 offense/8 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: WR Rashad Johnson, Sr. (38 receptions, 455 yards, 2 TDs)

DEFENSIVE STAR: OLB Afu Okosun, Sr. (79 TT, 6 TFL, 9 sacks, 11 QB hurries, 1 INT)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Deaunte Mason, So. (94 of 180 for 1,018 yards, 6 TDs and 6 INTs; 477 yards rushing with 6 TDs);
RB Tony Green, Sr. (204 yards, 1 TD);
RB Brendan Johnson, Fr.;
WR Quinton Carlock, Sr. (8 receptions, 75 yards, 2 TDs);
LT Jamaal Johnson Webb, So;
LG Russell Jackson, Sr.;
RT Anquez Jackson, Sr.;
LB Willie Fuller, Jr. (60 TT, 11 TFL, 6 sacks);
CB Korey Morrison, Sr. (22 TT, 5 INTs, 12 PBU, 2 FR);
DT Frank Kearse, Sr. (33 TT, 12 TFL);
SS Vernon Marshall, So. (49 TT);
FS Rico Porch, Jr. (44 TT, 3 INTs, 5 PBU);
P/PK Chance Wilson, So. (36.5-yard average)

OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs hope to celebrate their 100th season of football by repeating as Eastern Division champions. They are 1-3 in SWAC title games under Jones, winning the championship in 2006. Their toughest task is to replace 1,123-yard rusher Ulysses Banks. Green has the first crack at filling Banks' spot and will benefit from a huge offensive line, led by Russell Jackson (6-foot-2, 314 pounds) and Anquez Jackson (6-4, 345). Sophomore QB Mason is a standout runner who hopes to improve as a passer. He will rely on Johnson to be a playmaker. Defensively, the Bulldogs use a 4-3 and have standout in each unit: Kearse (6-5, 325) up front, Okosun at outside linebacker, and FS Porch and CB Morrison in the secondary.

2. JACKSON STATE TIGERS (3-7 overall; 3-4 SWAC)

COACH: Rick Cornegy (24-21 in four seasons at Jackson State; 132-72 overall)

STARTERS RETURNING: 12 (6 offense/6 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: OT Terrael Williams, Sr.

DEFENSIVE STAR: S Kerry Hoskins, Sr.(36 TT, 7 INT)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Dedric McDonald, So. (46 of 112 for 539 yards, 2 TDs and 5 INTs);
RB Darius Bolela, Jr. (43 carries, 150 yards);
RB Luther Edwards, Jr. (51 carries, 102 yards, 2 TDs);
RB B.J. Lee, Sr. (SMU transfer);
RB Tommy Gooden, Fr.;
C Antonio Colston, Sr.;
WR Anthony Mayes, Sr. (24 receptions, 285 yards, 1 TD);
LB Ryan Rich, Sr. (40 TT, 8.5 TFL, 6 INTs);
DE Donovan Robinson, Jr. (51 TT, 13.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 7 QB hurries);
DE Sam Washington, Sr. (57 TT, 14.5 TFL in 2008);
DT Neal Pogue, Sr. (27 TT, 7 TFL, 4 sacks);
DE Kadeem Taylor, Fr.;
LB Corderic Govan, Sr. (25 TT);
CB Anthony Johnson, Sr. (19 TT, 3 INTs);
CB Jalil Johnson, Sr. (19 TT, 4 PBU);
PK Jabril Smith, So;
WR/PR Rico Richardson, So. (9.2-yard punt return; 9 receptions, 135 yards)

OUTLOOK: After going 1-5 in games decided by eight points or less, the Tigers hope to find more answers offensively. They ranked 113th in the FCS in total offense last season. A lot falls on the development of McDonald, their 6- foot-5 QB who was inconsistent as a part-time starter during his redshirt freshman campaign. Like the rest of the offense, McDonald is learning the Tigers' new spread offense. Hope centers around the return of all five starters on the offensive line. The defense surrendered a SWAC-low 103 points and has a strong returning nucleus. It includes Washington, a 2008 standout who missed last season with a back injury. Rich sparks the linebackers and the secondary is highly experienced, led by Hoskins at safety and shutdown cornerback Anthony Johnson. In a huge advantage, the Tigers will host both Alabama A&M and Alcorn State.

3. ALCORN STATE BRAVES (3-6 overall; 3-4 SWAC)

COACH: Earnest Collins Jr. (3-6 in one season at Alcorn State)

STARTERS RETURNING: 17 (8 offense, 9 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: WR Edward Johnson, Sr. (41 receptions, 642 yards, 6 TDs)

DEFENSIVE STAR: DE Malcolm Taylor, Sr. (66 TT, 13 TFL, 9 sacks)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Terrance Barnes, Sr. (4 of 6 for 26 yards);
RB Arnold Walker, So. (119 carries, 448 yards, 3 TDs);
WR Terrence Lewis, So. (21 receptions, 306 yards, 3 TDs);
TE Ryan Singleton, Sr. (42 receptions, 330 yards, 3 TDs);
G Isaac Williams, Jr.;
G Robert Benson, Jr.;
LT Nate Fears, Jr.;
RT Jerry Salas, Jr.;
DE Brandon Morris, Jr. (42 TT, 9.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 FR);
LB/P Josh Craigin, Sr. (76 TT; 37.3-yard punt average);
MLB Herve Tonye- Tonye, So.;
LB Kenny Roby, Jr.;
S Jason Owens, Jr. (49 TT);
CB Jameson Smith, Sr. (36 TT, 2 FR)

OUTLOOK: Road games at Alabama A&M and Jackson State are challenges for the Braves, who proved a lot last season by going 3-1 within the division and posting a convincing win over Alabama A&M, the Eastern champion. They expect to have a much-improved defense behind Taylor, a candidate for the Buck Buchanan Award, sponsored by Fathead.com, and leading tackler Craigin. The usually strong secondary is more vulnerable after the loss of Tomasi Fuller and Rod Williams. Offensively, the receiving game is strong with Johnson, Singleton and Lewis, but the Braves are inexperienced at quarterback, where they replace Tim Buckley. Barnes has faced stiff competition from redshirt freshman Darius Smith. A lot is expected out of the veteran offensive line.

4. ALABAMA STATE HORNETS (4-7 overall; 1-6 SWAC)

COACH: Reggie Barlow (12-21 record in three seasons at Alabama State)

STARTERS RETURNING: 11 (6 offense, 5 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: WR/RS Nick Andrews, Jr. (47 receptions, 803 yards, 5 TDs)

DEFENSIVE STAR: DE Kynjee Cotton, Jr. (38 TT, 12 TFL, 6.5 sacks)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Anthony Speight, Sr. (32 of 62 for 314 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs);
RB Tim Clark, Jr.(40 carries, 95 yards);
FB Andrew Tate, So.;
WR Darius Mathis, Sr. (36 receptions, 398 yards, 4 TDs);
C Tim Moore, Sr.;
G Bruce Beal, Sr.;
LG Terren Jones, So.;
OL Kevin Bryant, So.;
OLB Anthony Burney (35 TT, 5PBU, 4 QB hurries);
CB Donovan Masline, Jr. (35 TT, 14 PBU);
FS Kejuan Riley, So. (38 TT, 1 INT);
S Jacolby Chatman, Sr. (17 TT);
PK/P Andrew Lyons, Jr. (7-for-13 FG, 45 long; 35.3-yard punt average)

OUTLOOK: Expect the Hornets to be more exciting this season with Barlow looking to stretch the field with the playmaking Andrews as well as Mathis. In addition, he wants his defense to be more aggressive and create turnovers after the Hornets were minus-eight in turnovers last season. QB Speight has gained experience in each of the past two seasons and is ready to lead the offense. Cotton and Masline are the standouts for a defense that must improve against the pass. The secondary is particularly experienced this year. The Hornets started last season by winning three straight games, but beat only Alcorn State once they got into SWAC play. Barlow faces a critical season to show progress within the program.

5. MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE DELTA DEVILS (3-8 overall; 1-6 SWAC)

COACH: Karl Morgan (first season)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (9 offense, 6 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: WR/RS Brandon Stargell, Sr. (31 receptions, 447 yards, 4 TDs);

DEFENSIVE STAR: NT Reginald Foster, Sr. (59 TT, 9.5 TFL, 5 sacks)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Anthony Bowie, So. (19 of 57 for 327 yards, 1 TD and 4 INTs);
QB Marvin Pittman, Sr. (22 of 48 for 297 yards and 2 INTs);
QB Carl Davis, Fr.;
RB Stephen Robert, Sr. (54 carries, 207 yards, 3 TDs; 27 receptions, 348 yards);
WR Chris Williams, So. (32 receptions, 393 yards, 3 TDs);
WR/RS Paul Cox, Jr. (20 receptions, 285 yards, 2 TDs);
LG Keynnon Mumphrey, Jr.;
RG Ian Luckett, So.;
RT Bryant Taylor, Jr.;
MLB Rory Malone, Sr. (76 TT, 2 sacks, 2 FR);
OLB DeKoven Burrell, Jr. (43 TT);
LB Desmond Spivey, Jr. (30 TT, 5.5 TFL);
SS Markkus Davis, Sr. (72 TT, 3 FF);
CB Armon Williams, Sr. (34 TT);
PK/P Carlos Sanchez, Jr. (5-for-7 FG 33 long; 38.5-yard punt average)

OUTLOOK: With MEAC power South Carolina State as the Delta Devils' only non- conference opponent, they will struggle to improve in Morgan's first season. He is greeted by three games at a high school field because renovations at Rice-Totten Field will not be completed this season. The offense needs an overhaul, too, after it scored only 69 points in seven conference games last season. The Delta Devils will look to pass the ball with Stargell, Chris Williams and Robert on the receiving end. The new QB (Bowie or Pittman, unless the freshman Davis has a huge preseason camp) will need better protection after the line allowed 58 sacks last season. The linebackers unit, led by team tackler leader Malone, is experienced. Morgan will keep a close eye on the defense. He was defensive coordinator the last five seasons at North Alabama, and the Lions went 55-10 and had an incredible plus-82 turnover margin during that time.

WESTERN DIVISION

1. PRAIRIE VIEW A&M PANTHERS (9-1 overall; 7-0 SWAC)

COACH: Henry Frazier III (36-26 in six seasons at Prairie View A&M; 62-50 overall)

STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (7 offense, 7 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: QB K.J. Black, Sr. (162 of 230 for 2,033 yards, 22 TDs, 4 INTs; 170 yards rushing, 4 TDs)

DEFENSIVE STAR: DE Quinton Spears, Sr. (51 TT, 8 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 FR)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
RB Donald Babers, Jr. (919 yards, 9 TDs; 25 receptions, 236 yards, 1 TD);
RB Idreis Augustus, Fr.;
RB Jamichael Rozier, Fr.;
WR Shaun Stephens, Sr. (36 receptions, 404 yards, 3 TDs);
WR Brandon Bell, Sr. 19 receptions, 174 yards, 3 TDs);
LG James Dekle, Jr.;
LT Tim Tusey, Jr.;
C Stoney Owens, Sr.;
RT Jay Blanton, Sr.;
DE Jamail Lavan, Sr. (4 tackles; injured last season);
DT Dalvin Nettles, Sr. (38 TT, 4.5 TFL);
OLB Chris Ford, Sr. (36 TT);
OLB Max Sencherey, Sr. (63 TT);
CB Lester Butler, Jr. (40 TT, 6 PBU);
CB Moses Ellis, Jr. (18 TT, 8 PBU);
CB John Mark Henderson, Jr. (Syracuse transfer);
FS Chris Adingupu, Sr. (68 TT, 4 INT);
SS Eric Moore, Sr. (11 TT, 1 INT);
PK Brady Faggard, Sr. 7 of 8 FG, 39 long);
P Pedro Ventura, Sr. (43-yard punt average)

OUTLOOK: Everywhere opponents turn, the Panthers basically have a senior or an experienced player in a starting role. They are well positioned to repeat as SWAC champions, especially if they win their September games with Texas Southern and Grambling State. The backfield of Black and Babers is one of the best in the FCS, with Babers hoping to win a second straight SWAC Offensive Player of the Year award. The offensive line, anchored by three-year starter Owens, returns four starters. The Panthers scored at least 30 points in each of their final four games last season and averaged over 428 yards during that stretch. The defense lost All-America safety Anthony Beck, but will be solid. Spears sets the tone with his athletic play at defensive end, and the team's top two tacklers - Adingupu and Sencherey - return to the fold. The kicking game is strong, with Ventura named to The Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason All-America second team.

2. TEXAS SOUTHERN TIGERS (6-5 overall; 5-2 SWAC)

COACH: Johnnie Cole (10-13 in two seasons at Texas Southern; 25-29 overall)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Arvell Nelson, Sr. (212 of 368 for 2,392 yards, 12 TDs and 13 INTs; 275 yards rushing, 4 TDs)

DEFENSIVE STAR: LB Dejuan Fulghum, Sr. (88 TT, 20 TFL, 8 sacks)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
RB Martin Gilbert, Sr. (165 carries, 644 yards, 6 TDs; 20 receptions, 202 yards);
RB/WR Joseph Warren, Jr. (40 carries, 142 yards, 1 TD; 31 receptions, 337 yards, 1 TD);
WR Joe Anderson, Jr. (51 receptions, 554 yards, 7 TDs);
WR/PR William Osborne, Sr. (3 receptions, 31 yards; injured last season);
G/T Charles Smith, Sr.;
G Skylar Trimple, Sr.;
C Marvin Holly, Fr.;
OL Darryl Stevenson, So.;
DT Rolando Melancon, Sr. (30 TT, 12 TFL);
DL Tim Benford, Fr.;
OLB Shomari Clemons, Jr. (63 TT, 12 TFL);
SS Curtis Thomas, Jr. (37 TT, 6 INTs);
FS Darrell Glasper, Sr. (23 TT);
FS Tyerrell Jones, Fr.;
CB De'Markus Washington, Jr. (21 TT, 4 INTs);
CB Kydarian Wilkins, Jr. (29 TT);
PK Robert Hersh, Jr. (7 of 15 FG; 23 of 26 PAT)

OUTLOOK: The Tigers overcame a 4-8 record in Coles' debut season in 2008 with their best conference and overall records since 2000. The Tigers, who tied Grambling State for second place in the Western Division, won five of their final six games. The Tigers hope to maintain a defensive level in which they finished first in the SWAC and 21st in the FCS. They know how to get into opponents' backfields, as linebackers Fulghum totaled 20 tackles for losses and Clemons had another 12, and Melancon had another dozen from his tackle position. The offense can bail out the defense more if it holds onto the ball more. Last season, the Tigers had a minus-15 turnover ratio, losing 25 of their amazing 44 fumbles. Charged with fixing that problem is exciting QB Nelson, who won SWAC Newcomer of the Year honors. Nelson and Anderson form a dynamic passing duo, and an improved running game would make them even more effective.

3. GRAMBLING STATE TIGERS (7-4 overall; 5-2 SWAC)

COACH: Rod Broadway (26-10 in three seasons at Grambling State; 59-21 overall)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (7 offense/8 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: RB Frank Warren, Sr. (166 carries, 926 yards, 7 TDs; 23 receptions, 205 yards, 3 TDs)

DEFENSIVE STAR: DE Christian Anthony, Sr. (76 TT, 15 TFL, 8 sacks, 5 INTs, 5 FF, 3 FR)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Danny Reyes, So. (6 of 12 for 63 yards and 1 TD);
RB Cornelius Walker, Sr. (113 carries, 679 yards, 7 TDs);
C Julian Wyndon, So.;
WR/PR Kiare Thompson, Sr. (28 receptions, 387 yards, 1 TD; 19.4-yard punt average);
WR Vann Phillips, Jr. (15 receptions, 267 yards, 3 TDs);
TE Larry Donnell, Sr. (14 receptions, 141 yards, 2 TDs);
DE Kendall Robinson, Sr.;
LB Cliff Exama, Jr. (94 TT, 12 TFL), 2 FR;
LB Derrick Johnson, Sr. (37 TT, 4 TFL);
LB Mychael Sampson, Sr. (17 TT);
S Desmond Leonard, Sr. (40 TT, 1 INT);
CB Bruna Foster, Jr. (48 TT, 2 PBU);
S Derrick Wilhite, Sr. (35 TT);
PK Ari Johnson (18-for-23 FG, 47 long)

OUTLOOK: It took until early August for the Tigers to learn they wouldn't be getting back two-year starting quarterback Greg Dillon for a sixth year of eligibility. It's a huge blow to their chances for contending in the SWAC (he helped lead their 2008 championship season). They will focus on keeping the ball on the ground with Warren and Walker, who rushed for a combined 1,605 yards with a 5.8-yard average. When Reyes, the new QB, goes to the air, he will look to Thompson, who is more known for his punt return exploits. When you talk defense, it's hard to find a more dominant player in the FCS than Anthony. He has to be double-teamed, and that still doesn't stop him from making plays. Right behind him at LB is Exama, the Tigers' leading tackler last season. The always in-demand Tigers play in four classics, and none is more pivotal than the State Fair Classic against Prairie View A&M on Sept. 25 in Dallas' Cotton Bowl.

4. SOUTHERN JAGUARS (6-5 overall; 3-4 SWAC)

COACH: Stump Mitchell (first season)

STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (6 offense, 8 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: G Ramon Chinyoung, Sr.

DEFENSIVE STAR: S Jason House, Jr. (47 TT, 10 INTs)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
QB Jeremiah McGinty, So. (3 of 5 for 34 yards);
RB Gary Hollimon, Sr. (51 carries, 346 yards, 6 TDs; 14 receptions, 197 yards, 2 TDs);
RB Byron Williams, Jr. (25 carries, 110 yards, 1 TD);
WR Curry Allen, Sr. (26 receptions, 336 yards, 3 TDs);
WR LaQuinton Evans, Jr. (15 receptions, 166 yards, 1 TD);
RG Roddrell Stewart, Sr.;
T/G Lee Almanza, Jr.;
DT Jordan Miller, Sr. (54 TT, 12 TFL, 6 sacks);
DE Steven Williams, Sr. (42 TT, 12 TFL, 4 sacks);
DT Casey Narcisse, So.(35 TT);
LB Andre' Coleman, Sr. (68 TT, 6 TFL, 2 INTs);
LB Justin Fletcher, Jr. (45 TT, 6 TFL);
LB Marcus Clark, Jr. (41 TT, 6 TFL);
LB Gary Chatman, Sr. (29 TT);
LB Corey Ray, Jr. (26 TT);
CB Tim Berry, So. (46 TT, 3 INTs);
CB Pierre Warford, So. (23 TT);
S Demetric Rogers, Jr. (51 TT, 8 TFL, 2 INTs);
P/PK Joshua Duran, Jr. (41.3-yard punt average; 3 of 10 FG, 33 of 42 PAT);
PK William Griswold, Fr.

OUTLOOK: Southern replaced 17-year head coach Pete Richardson with the 50-year-old Mitchell, who was a player and assistant coach in the NFL for 21 seasons. He is all business and it should translate into more disciplined play for the Jaguars. The former running back and punt returner has to find some answers offensively as his team replaces the SWAC's top passer (Bryant Lee) and top receiver (Juamorris Stewart) as well as its top rusher (Brian Threat). McGinty hopes to jump-start the offense as a dual-threat QB and Hollimon should be a steady running back behind a veteran offensive line. There are fewer worries defensively. Amazingly, after House switched from wide receiver to safety last season, he led the FCS with 10 interceptions. Coleman, the team's top tackler, returns, and Miller is a force on the defensive line. Southern opens its season against Delaware State at the SWAC/MEAC Challenge Sept. 5 in Orlando, Fla. The first half of the schedule gives Mitchell a chance to get off to a solid start.

5. ARKANSAS PINE-BLUFF GOLDEN LIONS (5-5 overall; 3-4 SWAC)

COACH: Monte Coleman (8-14 in two seasons at Arkansas-Pine Bluff)

STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (8 offense, 6 defense)

OFFENSIVE STAR: QB Josh Boudreaux, Jr. (71 of 122 for 974 yards, 9 TDs and 4 INTs)

DEFENSIVE STAR: CB Joe Brown, So. (42 TT, 4 INTs)

OTHER KEY PLAYERS:
RB Dhabion Woodfin, So. (49 carries, 209 yards, 2 TDs);
RB John Toney, So. (42 carries, 125 yards);
RB/KR Mareo Howard, So. (2 carries, 60 yards; 31-yard KO return average, 1 TD);
WR Raymond Webber, Jr. (36 receptions, 392 yards, 4 TDs);
WR Ladarius Eckwood, So. (12 receptions, 212 yards, 1 TD);
WR Thomas Winters, So. (4 receptions, 35 yards, 1 TD);
RT Colton Jones, Jr.;
LT Terron Armstead, So.;
NT Ibraham Abdulai, Jr. (45 TT, 12 TFL, 5 sacks);
DL Brandon Thurman, So. (24 TT, 8 TFL);
DE Theodore McNeal, So. (28 TT, 4 sacks);
DT Arthur Thomas, Jr. (25 TT);
DE Michael Johnson, So. (25 TT, 6 TFL);
LB Matthew Price, Jr. (30 TT, 3 PBU);
LB Derrick Timber, So. (18 TT);
CB Jamel Maxwell, So. (24 TT);
CB James Harrell, So. 20 TT, 4 INTs, 1 FR)

OUTLOOK: Unlike a lot of SWAC teams, Coleman wants his Golden Lions to play smash-mouth football. The 52-year-old, three-time Super Bowl champion with the Washington Redskins believes his program gets overlooked because of its lack of a winning tradition. His Golden Lions took a big step during his second season last year, posting a 49-42 shootout win over Grambling State. Still, it seems difficult for them to reach a winning season in the always difficult Western Division. QB Boudreaux flashed skills as a sophomore and is coming off a strong spring. He relies on a talented receiver in Webber. The defense lost its top five tacklers, including All-SWAC linebacker Freddie Fairchild. Brown is a ballhawk at cornerback.

By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director


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