Ad Spot

Alcorn State, Southern picked to win SWAC divisions

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The seasons change, the seasons move, but Alcorn State sitting atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s East Division appears to be eternal.

Alcorn State and Southern University are the favorites to repeat as division champions in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in a season that was moved to spring because of the pandemic.

The league announced its preseason picks during the virtual media day on Thursday.

Alcorn State is the favorite to win its seventh consecutive East Division title. The Braves won their fourth SWAC title in six seasons with a 39-24 win over Southern in 2019.

Alabama A&M was picked to finish second in the division, followed by Alabama State, Jackson State, and Mississippi Valley State.

Southern is seeking to win its third consecutive West Division title and capture its first SWAC title since 2013.

Grambling State, which claimed league titles in 2016 and 2017, was tabbed to finish second followed by Prairie View A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Texas Southern.

The season kicks off in February, with each team facing a six-game league schedule. They’ll face four division opponents and two teams from the other division.

The SWAC title game is scheduled for Saturday, May 1.

Alcorn State head coach Fred McNair said switching seasons will be a challenge. Alcorn’s football team often uses the school’s basketball arena as an indoor practice facility in the fall, but cannot do that while basketball season is under way in the spring preseason period.

The Braves have also not practiced in nearly a year, so getting them into shape in a hurry is a priority.

“We haven’t participated in any organized camp activities since March 6, so we’re behind the 8-ball on that, as are all the other SWAC schools, I’m sure,” McNair said. “So it’s just being able to get these guys back healthy, and get them strong, and get them in some kind of conditioning to where they can compete to the maximum of their abilities during the course of this spring.”

Alcorn State also put seven players on the preseason All-SWAC team, including Offensive Player of the Year Felix Harper.

Harper, the Braves’ quarterback, was also the SWAC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 when he threw for 2,954 yards and 33 touchdowns, while running for another six touchdowns. He ranked fourth in the FCS in passing touchdowns.

Joining Harper on the preseason All-SWAC team were senior defensive back Qwynnterrio Cole; sophomore running back Niko Duffey; senior offensive lineman Joseph Milburn; sophomore Will Ready; senior defensive lineman Chris Monroe; and senior defensive back Juwan Taylor.
All except Harper and Cole were selected to the second team.

Jackson State linebacker Keonte Hampton was selected as the SWAC’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year. The junior linebacker had 106 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and once forced fumble in 2019.

Jackson State running back Keshawn Harper and offensive lineman Cedric Dunbar both made the All-SWAC first team. Tight end Kyland Richey and defensive back C.J. Holmes made the second team.

Senior defensive lineman Jerry Garner was Mississippi Valley State’s only representative on the preseason All-SWAC team.

Crime

Two teens in custody in killing of Yazoo City man

Local

Wreck kills one, seriously injures three others including two small children

Local

Class of 2021 celebrate: Schools announce plans in-person graduation ceremonies

Downtown Vicksburg

New Beginning Church in Christ distributes cases of water to residents

Crime

Crime reports: Vicksburg man charged with possession of meth

Crime

Second teen arrested in connection to recent drive-by shooting

Local

Profile 2021: Historic No. 7 Fire Station remains on duty

Local

Fire Department releases cause of severe Oyo Hotel blaze

Local

Profile 2021: Warren County has a reputation for big alligators

Business

Sandlot owners put focus on the development of young players

Local

Profile 2021: Vicksburg at the forefront of world-class digital solutions

Health

Best of the Best: Agency focuses on helping patients, growing ‘family’

Downtown Vicksburg

United Way organizes community diaper drive

Crime

Teenager charged as an adult in drive-by shooting

COVID-19

Reeves lifts COVID-19 executive orders, local mask mandates remain in place

Crime

Drive-by shooting update: Teenager arrested, faces long list of felony charges

Business

Vicksburg Forest Products expansion project gets supervisors’ support

Downtown Vicksburg

Profile 2021: Just a few more years for this one time capsule

Crime

Fourth suspect tied to Claiborne County murders arrested

Downtown Vicksburg

Profile 2021: The bricks on which part of Vicksburg is built

Downtown Vicksburg

Profile 2021: Where did city hall’s angels go?

COVID-19

District reports significant drop in COVID-19 activity in schools

Local

The Post unveils ‘Letters from Home’ magazine and series

Crime

Three held without bond in Claiborne County shooting, fourth man sought