In a vote on Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day, head football coaches and
sports information directors selected Alcorn State University as the favorite to win its fourth-straight SWAC East title. The Braves earned 80 points to finish well ahead of Alabama State University, which garnered 66 points.
SWAC officials picked Jackson State University to finish third with 59 votes, and Alabama A&M University ended up in fourth with 45 points. Mississippi Valley State University had the fewest votes overall, with 20 points for fifth place.
Coaches and directors picked defending SWAC and Celebration Bowl champion Grambling State University to finish first in the West with 85 points. Southern University finished a distant second with 68 points.
Officials picked Prairie View A&M University to finish third with 59 points. Texas Southern University landed in fourth place with 37 points, and the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff was picked last with 21 points.
Grambling State and Alcorn could meet for the second-straight year in the final SWAC Championship Game if these predictions hold up. The Braves would be looking to win a third of SWAC title game out of the last four.
Grambling State dominated the preseason All-SWAC nominations with 14 players earning first- or second-team honors. Alcorn State tied with Southern for third place with seven selected players. Jackson State had three players earn honors, and Mississippi Valley State equaled Alabama State, with just two players on the list.
Alcorn State offensive lineman Timothy Gardner earned first-team All-SWAC honors with defensive lineman Michael Brooks earning a spot on the defensive first-team. Running back De’Lance Turner, wide receiver Norlando Veals and offensive lineman Deonte Brooks nabbed second-team offense honors. Defensive lineman Ramonte Bell and defensive back O.J. O’Neal landed on the defensive second-team.
Jackson State defensive lineman Keontre Anderson received the title of Preseason SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-SWAC on defense. Offensive lineman Vincent Hunter landed on the second-team offense, and linebacker Shawn Bishop was on the second-team defense.
Mississippi Valley State defensive back Everett Nicholas was first-team All-SWAC, and wide receiver Alvin Solomon received second-team offense honors.
The 2017-2018 season will open on Sept. 2 for most programs. Alcorn State will play at home against Miles College, Jackson State will travel to battle Texas Christian University, and Mississippi Valley will take on North Dakota State University on the road.