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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grizzled Vets: CIAA Filled With Home Run RB Threats

(WSSU photo)

Marquise Grizzle, Shaw 

Heading into last season, Grizzle looked like he could potentially be special back. It didn't take long for him to fulfill his potential, as the sophomore rushed for a conference high 1,276 yards and finished fourth with 12 rushing touchdowns. Grizzle was consistently good all season, rushing for 100-plus yards in eight of the ten games he played in and breaking off a run of at least 20 yards in every single game. He also became a factor in passing game last season, catching six passes for a career-high 132 yards and a touchdown. Right now, the only weakness in his game is his tendency to lose the football (he fumbled eight times, losing four of them). With two seasons of eligibility left, it's scary to think how good he might be when its all said and done.

(Gazzette Photo)

Keith Brown, Bowie State

2013 was just another ho-hum season for Bowie State, but Brown showed up big all year long. Brown rushed for five 100-plus yard games, saving his best for last with a 230 yard, four touchdown performance against Elizabeth City in the season finale. For the season, Brown finished with an impressive 1,132 yards and 16 touchdowns. Look for him to continue to be a big part of the Bowie State offense in 2013.

(Daily Advance Photo)

Petey Boone, Elizabeth City State 

Elizabeth City State failed to repeat as CIAA North Champions for the third straight season, but Boone did all he could to help. The former Hertford County quarterback and Western Carolina transfer was the central cog in the Vikings' engine, finishing fourth in the conference in rushing yards (957) and third with 14 rushing touchdowns. He got off to a slow start in the season's first three games, but followed that up with 100-plus yard rushing games in three of the next four contests, including a career-high 182 yards and four rushing touchdowns against Lincoln. Boone also factored into the passing game, catching 17 passes for 233 yards.

(WS Journal photo)

Maurice Lewis, Winston-Salem State 
Considered by many to be one of the best D2 backs in the country heading into last season, Lewis came into the season with big expectations. Like his team, he had a good season (902 yards, 11 TDs) but not a great one. He only put together two 100-plus yard performances (albeit against rivals Johnson C. Smith and Fayetteville State), and rushed for just over 70 yards in WSSU's two losses. When healthy, he's an explosive offensive force, but he'll have to have a more consistent season as a senior to help the Rams stay atop the CIAA and increase his pro prospects.

Others To Watch: Leander Barney-JCSU; Josh Glisson-WSSU

Monday, July 21, 2014

Skeege, Albany State Picked To Win SIAC Divisions

(HBCU Football News photo)
Heading into last season Tuskegee was considered a shoe-in to win the SIAC crown. Skeege did make the playoffs for the first time in its school history, but Albany State claimed the conference championship. So it should be no surprise that the two schools have been picked to win their respective divisions.

Check out the preseason All-SIAC selections.

First Team OffenseSecond Team Offense
Frank RiversAlbany StateQBDemetrice PriceMiles
Jacquise LockettKentucky StateRBMontavious TaylorClark Atlanta
Hoderick LoweTuskegeeRBPhillip MooreAlbany State
Victor MoliAlbany StateOLAderus HoodMiles
Terrence OwensMilesOLMontell CollinsMiles
Matthew ReeseTuskegeeOLShea MartinMorehouse
Richard WashingtonMorehouseOLDaniel FordKentucky State
Michael D. ThorntonTuskegeeOL
William LeachKentucky StateTEDelarius WebbMiles
Jamion DunningLaneWRDondre PurnellStillman
Jessee AtkinsAlbany StateWRAntonio PittsMiles
Dondre PurnellStillmanKRDarius MitchellLane
Zach HolleyAlbany StateKHector SolisMorehouse
Second Team DefenseSecond Team Defense
Grover StewartAlbany StateDLPeter DeleStillman
Bryshon JonesMilesDLDamien GoodsbyAlbany State
Gabriel MassLaneDLBenard LittleFort Valley State
Clarence ChristianMorehouseDLJustin WoodsCentral State
Julante EnglishMilesLBTerry HortonKentucky State
Bre'Nard WilliamsClark AtlantaLBEl'Malik ChinnTuskegeee
LeRon FurrFort Valley StateLBLeRon FurrFort Valley State
Jack HowardLaneDBMichael RobinsonTuskegee
Joe BeckhamMilesDBJoshua AndersonMorehouse
Dexter MoodyAlbany StateDBRobert CrosbyStillman
Cameron StallingsStillmanDBDewayne BrownLane
Austin CasillasClark AtlantaPRyan LatnerAlbany State
Quintory BraswellAlbany StatePRRodney HallBenedict

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SWAC RBs: PVAM Duo Tops List

(Houston Chronicle photo)

Courtney Brown, Prairie View

Brown is a big reason why his teammate Jerry Lovelocke  ranked so high on the quarterback list a few weeks ago. The bruising 6'0, 200lb running back had a breakout junior season in 2013, rushing for 1,039 yards and 10 touchdowns to help Prairie View finish second in the SWAC in rushing yards. He's also a talented receiver, as he hauled in 52 passes and caught four touchdowns out of the backfield. With he and Lovelocke in the backfield, defending the Panthers will be no easy task.

Johnta' Hebert, Praire View 

With all due respect to his teammates Lovelocke and Brown, Herbert may be the most versatile backfield player in the SWAC. After earning his stripes as a kick returner during his freshman season, the Panthers decided to put the ball in Hebert's hands more in 2013 and it paid off big time. He rushed for 907 yards on just 151 carries, 250 of them in the season finale against UAPB. Hebert's ability as a breakout runner is legit, as he broke off several runs of 40-plus yards last season. Add that with his pass catching abilities (36 catches last year) and you have one of the most exciting players at the FCS level.

(Central Ky. News photo)

Malcolm Cyrus, Alabama State 

After two seasons of taking a backseat to Isaiah Crowell, Malcolm Cyrus will finally take a starring role in the Alabama State backfield. He was pretty good in his supporting role last season, rushing for 742 yards and six touchdowns. He really flashed his potential as a feature back late October when he stepped in for a banged up Crowell and rushed for over 350 yards and two touchdowns in a two-game stretch against Prairie View and Alabama A&M.

(NOLA.com photo)

Lenard Tillery, Southern

Last season, Dray Joseph and Lee Doss were the unquestioned stars for Southern. And rightfully so, as both players had great seasons to end their careers with a SWAC title. But without Tillery, there wouldn't have been a SWAC title for Southern. The redshirt freshman from Baton Rouge played a big role for the Jags from his first game against Prairie View (3 rushing TDs) through the Bayou Classic, where he ran for 104 yards and a touchdown. With Joseph and Doss gone, expect Tillery's totals of 787 yards and nine TDs to jump in 2013.

(ForwardTimesOnline.com photo)

Ben Anderson (UAPB) and Homer Causey (Texas Southern) 

Ok, so both these guys are quarterbacks, but when you put up numbers on the ground like these guys its hard to ignore. Anderson (our top-rated SWAC QB) ran for nearly 900 hundred yards and nine touchdowns last year. Causey proved to be more effective running the ball than throwing it as he rushed for just under 700 yards and had four games of 100-plus yards rushing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Top Five HBCU D2 Quarterbacks

(WSSU photo)

1A. Rudy Johnson, Winston-Salem State 

This time last year, Johnson was on the outside-looking-in at WSSU's starting job. Incumbent Anthony Carrothers started the team's season opener against UNC-Pembroke in what would become the Rams first regular season loss in two years. A week later, Johnson took over as starter and the team's offense took off. Johnson was a threat on the ground, as well as the air, running for nearly 500 yards while completing 63 percent of his passes for 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He was 10-1 for WSSU as a starter in 2013, so you would think he would be the clear choice to be the man in 2014. But...

(Winston-Salem Journal photo)

1B. Phil Sims, Winston-Salem State 

By now, you probably know Sims' story--highly recruited out of VA, signed with Alabama before transferring to UVa for a year with mixed results. He agreed to play at WSSU prior to last season, but had to sit out due to academic ineligibility. Sims doesn't have any 2013 stats, but his kind of talent doesn't come along at the FCS Division every day, let alone at a D2 school. The competition between he and Johnson will be fierce, as both of them looked pretty good during the team's spring game in April. Whichever quarterback wins will definitely have to earn it.

Frank Rivers, Albany State- A late edition to the 2013 roster, Rivers didn't make our 2013 list. But the Grambling State transfer won the starting job and led ASU to the championship game in his first season. Rivers completed more than 56 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns against six interceptions in nine games last season.

Josh Straughn, Stillman College- Straughn got off to a fast start in his sophomore season, completing over 60 percent of his passes and throwing for 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions before getting injured in the fifth game of the season against Lane.

(Charlotte Post photo)

Keahn Wallace, Johnson C. Smith

Wallace entered last season as our top quarterback in the CIAA. He started off with a bang, throwing for seven touchdowns in his first two games, but threw only eight more scores the rest of the season while throwing six interceptions during that span as JCSU finished in the middle of the CIAA pack. Look for him to try to finish his career with a bang and help JCSU turn some heads.

*Honorable Mention: Derek Bryant, Fayetteville State;

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Twelve HBCU Players Named Preseason FCS All-Americans

(Herald-Sun photo)

The start of the college football season is less than two months away, and preseason accolades are starting to roll in. The Sports Network announced their FCS All-American team today with twelve HBCU players on the list, including three first-teamers.

Norfolk State linebacker Lynden Trail, Tennessee State defensive back Daniel Fitzpatrick and North Carolina Central punt returner Adrian Wilkins were all named first-team All-American.

Other players recognized included:

Second Team

K Anthony Provost, Hampton
DT Rodney Gunter, Delaware State
CB Darrin Marrow, Norfolk State

Third Team

OL Jonathan Smith, Jackson State
OL Domanic Wilson, SC State
DE Anthony Bass, Tennessee State
CB Avery Boykin, Mississippi Valley
S Julien David, Howard
P Corey Carter, Texas Southern

MEAC QBs: Howard's McGhee Leads Inconsistent Crop

(Washington Post photo)

1. Greg McGhee, Howard 

McGhee has had a complicated career at Howard. He went from talented freshman to disappointing sophomore to unpredictable junior in a three-season span. McGhee lead the conference in passing yards (2,379) and tied for the lead in passing touchdowns (16) as a junior. He also rushed for 896 yards, ranking third in the conference from the quarterback position.

The Pittsburgh native enters his senior season as the most experienced quarterback in the MEAC. If he can be a little more protective of the ball and get some help from his receivers, Howard could find itself in the thick of the conference title hunt.

(Hampton Photo)

2. Bryan Bailey, Hampton 

Bailey entered last season as an afterthought in the Hampton quarterback race, and ended up being one of the second half success stories. He helped the Pirates put wins together in the second half of the season, throwing for more touchdowns (nine) than interceptions (eight), which isn't always the norm in the MEAC.

Obviously, there has been a coaching change since last season, with Connell Maynor taking over in Pirateland. No one player on the team stands to benefit more from that move than Bailey.

(Orlando Sentinel photo)

3. Quentin Williams, Bethune-Cookman

Williams' has fallen a couple of spots since last year, but that could easily change in 2014. Williams threw more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (five) but still managed to lead the MEAC in pass efficiency.
(FAMU photo)

4. Damien Fleming, FAMU 

Coming into last season, Flemming topped this list. What happened since then? Flemming's touchdown total declined by 10 in 2013, as he threw for just six scores while he threw for 13 interceptions and barely averaged 100 yards passing.

(Baltimore Sun)

5. Seth Higgins, Morgan State

Last season was another disappointing year for Morgan State, but Higgins was one of the bright spots. The junior completed 52 percent of his passes while throwing seven touchdowns to four interceptions. He is also a threat with his feet, running for nearly 500 yards with 100+ yard games against FAMU and Del State.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Top Five SWAC QBs 2014

Football season is still months away, but there's no better time than now to get prepared for the upcoming season. So we're kicking off our summer Top Five series, highlighting the best players at their positions across HBCU football.

This list is based on production from 2013 as well as other factors that could push one player over the edge or hold them back. Feel free to share the list with others and leave us your top five. Let the games begin.

1. Ben Anderson, UAPB- Anderson and his teammates entered the 2013 riding high as defending SWAC champs and a squad full of returnees. But eligibility and injury issues ended any chance of a repeat for the Golden Lions. Anderson was a bright spot, however, throwing for 2,787 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior without many of his favorite targets in the lineup. He also led UAPB in rushing, running for over 800 yards and nine touchdowns. All signs point to him having another big year with targets like Willie Young back in the fold.

(Houston Chronicle photo)

2. Jerry Lovelocke, Prairie View A&M -The Baltimore native began the 2013 season as he had the previous one, sharing reps with De'Auntre Smiley. He quickly emerged as the primary signal-caller for Prairie View which remained in the race for the SWAC West for much of the season. His best game came against Stephen F. Austin where he combined for seven touchdowns (four in the air and three on the ground) while giving Prairie View one of its biggest non-conference wins ever. On the season he threw for nearly 2,900 yards and 23 touchdowns while running for nine more and throwing just nine interceptions despite throwing almost 500 passes. Look for Lovelocke to have a good season and attempt to impress pro scouts.

3. John Gibbs, Alcorn State- Much like his team, Alcorn State's John Gibbs burst onto the scene out of nowhere in 2013. The 6'6, 193 lb Houston native took a big jump as a sophomore, directing the reigns of the the second-highest scoring offense in the SWAC for a squad that beat both the SWAC champs (Southern) and runners-up (Jackson State). With defenses trying to stop stud running back Arnold Walker, Gibbs managed to throw compete 57 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while rushing for over 450 yards. The challenge for Gibbs will be to continue to improve despite Walker's absence. If he does that, the rest of the SWAC might be in trouble.

(Montgomery Advertiser photo)

4. Daniel Duhart, Alabama State-Like Gibbs, Duhart put together an impressive sophomore season in 2013. Duhart threw for 18 touchdowns to just eight interceptions last season for ASU. He also benefited from having a star in the backfield in running back Isaiah Crowell, but he has another good one coming back in Malcolm Cyrus.

(The Advertiser Photo)

5. Jonathan Williams, Grambling State-The answer at quarterback for Grambling was supposed to be named Williams, but not this one. The G-Men didn't have many bright spots in 2013, but the play of Williams down the stretch gave them hope for a better 2014.

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About Me

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Steven J. Gaither is a multimedia journalist and founder of HBCU Gameday. Steven began covering HBCU Sports nearly a decade ago as a student at Winston-Salem State University. His work can also be found at The Shadow League, Diverse Issues In Higher Education and Slam Online.