Thursday, July 20, 2017

New York fuels Donaldson’s competitive fire

NEW YORK, New York -- It has been an intense and exciting summer for Khaila Donaldson, who enters her senior year at Howard University this fall. An outside hitter on the Bison volleyball team, she has done her best to train while doing an internship at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. A successful internship will result in a full-time offer for the company’s two-year rotational analyst program, and Donaldson has put her competitive energies to use in doing a standout job.

“Most of it is personified in competition and trying to be the best at all times,” said Donaldson, a finance major. “I’m trying to be the best. I’m competing with myself.

“What I’ve learned with volleyball is the stress passes,” she added. “Hopefully, if you do well enough under pressure, the end result will be something you will be proud of.”

Howard’s volleyball team has gone to the national tournament the past two years, and Donaldson’s goal is to repeat that and make it to the Sweet 16, building a foundation for the team’s future success. Training has not been easy with the demanding internship, but she’s done her best to squeeze in workouts.

Despite the pressures, Donaldson, who grew up in the Chicago area, has fallen in love with New York and looks forward to returning to the city after graduation. She will do so with the confidence she has developed attending Howard, a renowned HBCU in Washington, D.C.


NCCU head coach measures up to Triangle peers

CARY, North Carolina -- Five college football coaches sat on stage during the 15th Annual Bill Dooley Pigskin Preview.

Among the coaches was legendary quarterback whisperer David Cutcliffe, the head coach at Duke. Sitting to Cutcliffe’s left was his protege, second-year East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery. At the end of the table sat coaches from rival schools: North Carolina’s Larry Fedora and N.C. State’s Dave Doeren. Between Fedora and Doeren sat N.C. Central’s Jerry Mack.

If the casual football fan looked at the stage and was asked to pick the most successful of the five, who would it be? Cutcliffe’s had his fair share of success, first as the head coach at Ole Miss and for the last 10 years at Duke, giving life to a Blue Devils program that was constantly at the bottom of the ACC. He tied for a division title as the Rebels head coach, and won the ACC Coastal Division in 2013.

Fedora took over a North Carolina program at a dark time, right when the team was under heavy fire from the NCAA. Despite that, Fedora led the Tar Heels back to the top of the conference, winning the Coastal in 2015. Doeren won two MAC conference titles at Northern Illinois, but has not had that kind of success since taking over in Raleigh.


JSU's Robert Porter earns first CFL start

VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada – The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will enter Friday’s road game against the B.C. Lions without one of their key leaders on defence.

When the team released its roster and depth chart for the Week 5 matchup at BC Place, missing on it was strong-side linebacker Maurice Leggett. With Leggett out, Robert Porter will earn his first CFL start.

Porter, 24, played two seasons at Jackson State, where he earned All-SWAC honours in 2015, lining up at both corner and nickel. That year he finished with 38 tackles and one interception. He also broke up 12 passes.

Porter, who stands 5-10 and weighs 190 pounds, went undrafted to the NFL in 2016, but later signed a free-agent deal with the Chicago Bears. After his release from the Bears, the Bombers signed the Detroit, Mich. native to a contract in January. He was assigned to the practice roster at the start of the 2017 CFL season.

With the absence of Leggett, the Bombers are without two of their original starting linebackers. Weakside linebacker Ian Wild was injured during a 29-10 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in Week 3 and has been ruled out for at least six weeks. Kyle Knox, who lost out the middle linebacker job to Sam Hurl, has been playing in relief of Wild.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Towson-Morgan State Hold Battle For Greater Baltimore Press Conference

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- (7/18/17) Today, representatives from Towson University and Morgan State University held a joint press conference atop the Greene Turtle in Towson, Md., to announce the 'Battle For Greater Baltimore' – a renewal of the sports rivalry between the Baltimore area's only two local universities with a college football program. The competition for local bragging rights begins on September 2, 2017, when the Bears take a short trip over to Johnny Unitas® Stadium to take on the Tigers.

"Both programs have a rich history of playing outstanding football and this rivalry is something that our students, fans, and alumni can look forward to each year," said Edward Scott, director of intercollegiate athletics for Morgan. "Our goal is to create an event that is more than just a football game; we see this as an opportunity to rally the Greater Baltimore community."

"We are excited to renew the rivalry with Morgan State," said Towson University Director of Athletics Tim Leonard. "The series is not only good for both Universities, but it is also very beneficial to the Greater Baltimore community. Both myself, and (Morgan State AD) Ed (Scott), are committed to playing this game as often as the schedule permits."

The teams are scheduled to play the home-and-home series in 2017 and 2018. During the press conference, both AD's noted that they are working out the details of extending the series through 2020.

Saturday, September 2, will mark the 24th meeting in the series between the two university football programs that began with a 34-7 Morgan Sate win on September 1, 1979 at Towson. The Tigers hold a 17-6 advantage in the all-time series and will be playing Morgan for the first time since 2011. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The game will be broadcasted by WEAA, 88.9FM and televised.

Fans can keep up-to-date with all MSU Athletics via twitter at and @MSUBearFootball. You can also become a fan of the Bears on Facebook at


NSU-ODU to Renew Basketball Rivalry This Year at Scope Arena

NORFOLK, Virginia – The Norfolk State and Old Dominion men's basketball programs will renew a once-strong rivalry this upcoming season when the two teams play a non-conference game at Norfolk Scope Arena on Dec. 22.

Game time will be 7 p.m. from Scope Arena in the first game between the two programs in two years. The teams last met on Dec. 29, 2015, a 68-57 win for the Monarchs at ODU's Ted Constant Center. That game marked the first meeting between the two programs in 15 years after they met at Scope Arena during the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons.

"I am looking forward to a great evening of basketball between these two outstanding programs," said NSU Athletics Director Marty L. Miller. "I think this is the game that fans from both institutions want to see on the schedule every year. This game will be marked on the calendar of every sports fan in the Hampton Roads community."

ODU leads the all-time series 12-6 dating back to the first ever meeting during the 1965-66 season. The two programs played regularly during the early 1970's, meeting several times during the regular season at Scope Arena and in the NCAA tournament when both teams were members of Division II. Altogether, the teams have met 10 times at Scope Arena over the years.

"I am very excited that we have renewed the series with ODU," said NSU head coach Robert Jones. "When we played in 2015 the atmosphere was electric! The city was buzzing, and there was talk in the barber shops, beauty salons, and other places about this game.

"It also showcased how comparable our basketball programs really are. It allowed us to gain new fans who had never seen us play before that have continued to support us since then. Now that the game has moved to the Scope Arena, it will allow more fans to witness this exciting game. My hope is that this will become an annual event."

NSU will have game tickets available for sale. More information
will be announced at a later date.

Mike Bello, Assistant Sports Information Director

Morgan State Women's Basketball Star Corin 'Tiny' Adams In Midst Of International Odyssey

ATHENS, Greece -- Former Morgan State women's basketball star Corin "Tiny" Adams, whose 2,058 career points with the Bears are the most among men and women at the school, completed her seventh season playing overseas this spring after a successful season with Panathinaikos Athens. The team finished third in Greece's A1 national women's basketball league during the 2016-17 season.

Primarily a pick-and-roll style point guard, the 5-foot-7 Adams averaged 11.5 points, 4.3 assists, 3.7 defensive rebounds and 3.1 steals per game with Panathinaikos this season.

For Adams, 28, it was a long, winding road to Greece, which she described as a "great experience" and said she "felt like a real, real pro for the first time" thanks, in part, to Panathinaikos' professional staff.

Playing overseas has presented unique opportunities for Adams, such as exploring Europe with her mother, Gwendolyn, during her teams' winter breaks and experiencing different cultures -- Adams proudly said she's eaten Caracois (Portuguese snail). She's now played in 15 different countries internationally, including 13 in Europe.

But playing overseas wasn't necessarily Adams' first choice. Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., Adams averaged 19.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game and was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year during her senior year at Morgan State in 2009-10. She had hoped to parlay a terrific four-year college career into a shot at a WNBA roster. But that chance evaporated before it ever materialized, a harbinger of the challenges to come overseas.


Wash High’s Blount moves on from Duquesne to NCCU

DURHAM, North Carolina -- There was much more on the mind of Khalid Blount as he got into a three-point stance during spring football practices throughout March at Duquesne University. It wasn’t a worry about execution. It was a decision about leaving.

The 2015 Washington High School graduate had a good understanding of what needed to be done to get playing time on Saturdays, rotating on the Dukes’ defensive line in 10 games as a freshman.

Blount recorded five tackles – three solo – while taking up blockers and plugging holes from his tackle spot. He knew he could play, but wasn’t sure this was the place.

“When the thought of transferring came into my head, I was always telling myself it was something I didn’t want to do,” Blount remembered.

“I liked Duquesne,” he continued. “When I was on the football field, I was happy. Once I got away from football, I just wasn’t happy. As spring progressed, I had talked to my brothers, my family and God about it.”

Through those conversations, and a desire to move further away than the 25-minute drive home Blount made on many weekends, he finally decided to transfer to North Carolina Central University.


Ex-NCAA scoring leader Daniel ready to return for new team

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee guard James Daniel III finally has the chance to deliver a follow-up performance to his 2015-16 NCAA scoring title, an opportunity that essentially eluded him last season.

After an ankle injury caused Daniel to play just two games last season at Howard, the 6-foot graduate transfer brings experience and offence to Tennessee’s backcourt.

“I wanted to go on the biggest stage for my last year and try to pursue my hopes and dreams since I’ve been a little kid, which was to get to the NBA,” Daniel said.

Daniel likely won’t be shooting or scoring as much as he did at Howard, where he averaged 27.1 points per game to lead all Division I players in 2015-16. He’s more interested in getting to the NCAA Tournament, something he hasn’t done and Tennessee hasn’t accomplished since 2014.

“At this point in my career I’m ready to win,” Daniel said. “That’s pretty much what I have to do. I feel like if we win, my personal goals will be met.”


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jackson State Football Adds Two Assistant Coaches

JACKSO, Mississippi -- Jackson State University head football coach Tony Hughes has added Carl “Big C” Roberts and Lionel Stokes to the Tigers coaching staff. Roberts will serve as the offensive line coach and Stokes will take over defensive back responsibilities.

Roberts, a long time offensive line coach at JSU, was most recently the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach at Texas Southern (2012-2015). Roberts has over 30 years of coaching experience. He first joined the JSU coaching staff in 1983 as a graduate assistant. He came on as a full time staff member in 1987, when he served as the offensive line and strength coach. He remained a member of the JSU coaching staff until 2003. After at stint at Grambling State, he returned to JSU as a special teams coach in 2010.​

While in college, Roberts was an outstanding offensive guard for Jackson State (1979-82). He was a three-time All-SWAC team member and went on to play for the Oklahoma Outlaws and the San Antonio Gunslingers (USFL).

​”Coach Roberts brings a wealth of experience back to Jackson State,” said Hughes. ” He has a proven track record of producing great offensive linemen. He has an outstanding relationship with the community and we are proud to welcome him back.”​

Stokes comes to JSU after serving as the linebackers coach at Louisiana-Lafayette. Before coming on as a full​-​time member of the Ragin’ Cajuns coaching staff, Stokes spent two seasons (2014-2015) as a graduate assistant on Louisiana-Lafayette’s defensive coaching staff. Before going into coaching,

Stokes played two seasons at Copiah Lincoln Community College before finishing his playing career at Louisiana-Lafayette (2010-12). He was a two year starter at defensive back for the Ragin’ Cajuns. In 25 games he recorded 135 tackles and had five interceptions playing both corner and safety.

​”Stokes, who is a lifelong Mississippi resident, is a young and energetic coach,” said Hughes. “He brings a lot of intensity to the program. He has proven to be an outstanding position coach. He will enhance play making on the field, as well as with recruiting.”

JSU reports to campus for training camp on July 25 and the Tigers open the 2017 season on September 2 when they travel to Fort Worth, Texas to face TCU.


MEAC Announces 2017 Football Media Day Student-Athlete Attendees

NORFOLK, Virginia -- The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) has announced its list of student-athlete attendees for the 2017 MEAC Football Media Day and luncheon on Friday, July 28 at the Marriott Waterside Hotel.

Twenty-two student-athletes and head football coaches from the MEAC's 11 football playing institutions will kick off the 2017 football season. ESPN college football analyst and former Howard University quarterback Jay Walker along with College Football Hall of Famer and former SC State head coach Willie Jeffries will serve as co-master of ceremonies for the second consecutive year.

A limited number of tickets are available to the public for the press luncheon and can be purchased by calling the MEAC Office at (757) 951-2055. Tickets are $30 per seat or $300 per table (10 persons) and must be purchased by 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21 in order to obtain the special rate.

Media members may obtain a credential for the luncheon and/or one-on-one interviews by completing an application found on One-on-one interviews will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. followed by the luncheon at noon.

The 2017 MEAC football season kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 26 as Florida A&M will host Texas Southern in a non-conference game.

South Carolina State will travel to Baton Rouge, La. to face Southern University in the 13th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Labor Day Weekend, Sunday, Sept. 3 at 2:30 p.m. Details and ticket information can be found on

For more information about the MEAC, log on to

Click the link below to access the credential application:

QB Frank Brown (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
LB Trenton Bridges (DeLand, Fla.)

Delaware State
RB Brycen Alleyne (Wilmington, Del.)
LB Brian Cavicante (Portsmouth, Va.)

Florida A&M
OL Osman Aguilera (Miami, Fla.)
DL Calvin Darville (Belle Glades, Fla.)

RB Yahkee Johnson (Richmond, Va.)
LB Steven Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.)

TE Howard Warren (Hopewell. Va.)
LB Devin Rollins (Miami, Fla.)

Morgan State
QB Elijah Staley (Marietta, Ga.)
DL A.J. Agbelese (Lanham, Md.)

Norfolk State
WR Marcus Taylor (Highland Springs, Va.)
DL Chris Lee (Woodbridge, Va.)

North Carolina A&T State
OL Brandon Parker (Kannapolis, N.C.)
DB Zerius Lockhart (Auburn, Ala.)

North Carolina Central
RB Ramone Simpson (Wilmington, N.C.)
DL Antonio Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Savannah State
QB Tino Smith II (Carmel, Ind.)
LB Mulik Simmons (Savannah, Ga.)

South Carolina State
QB Dewann Ford, Jr. (Atlanta, Ga.)
LB Darius Leonard (Lake View, S.C.)


Monday, July 17, 2017

WSSU ready to be favorites yet again in CIAA

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- When you are the top dog in the CIAA, heading to yet another media day means one thing.

“I’m sure somebody will take whatever we say and use it against us,” coach Kienus Boulware of Winston-Salem State said.

The conference will hold its football media day later this week in Salem, Va., the site of the CIAA championship game in November, and when the preseason coaches’ poll is released it’s a safe bet the Rams will be the favorite again.

As two-time defending league champions who have most of their top players back, it would be a surprise if the Rams weren’t the favorite.

“It’s a great position to be in, and I don’t mind being the hunted,” said Boulware, who will begin his fourth season as head coach this fall. “It says a lot about where we are as a program, and because we are back-to-back champions, one of the hardest things we are going to do is try to defend those titles.”


SC State LB Will Battle The Big Boys For The Butkus

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- He's the reigning MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and now South Carolina State senior linebacker Darius Leonard finds himself on a list with college football's heavyweights as they up for a national award.

Leonard joins Skai Moore from USC and Kendall Joseph from Clemson on the 51-player watch list for the Butkus Award. The award is named after former Chicago Bear Dick Butkus who wore the #51. A 51-person panel compiled the list of candidates for the award which is presented by the Butkus Foundation.

Leonard led the MEAC with 124 tackles and finished 4th in the FCS with 78 solo tackles. He also added14.5 tackles for a loss of 64 yards, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, five pass deflections, four forced fumbles (8th in FCS) and two blocked kicks. Leonard also scored two touchdowns for the Bulldogs, one on offense and one on defense.


LSWA selects XULA' s Moses Louisiana Coach of the Year

NEW ORLEANS — For the second time in three years, Xavier University of Louisiana's Joseph Moses is Louisiana Coach of the Year in women's track and field.

A Louisiana Sports Writers Association of college sports publicists selected Moses. The LSWA announced the honor and its 2017 All-Louisiana men's and women's teams late Saturday.

Moses coached XULA to the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women's team championship, its fourth in five years. The Gold Nuggets won just 5-of-20 events at conference but had great depth — 20-of-24 athletes scored. Freshmen and sophomores combined for 86 percent of XULA's points at conference.

Additional season highlights:
     •  School records in the 1,600-meter relay, 3,200 relay and 400.
     •  XULA qualified for the NAIA National Championships in four events (five entries) and scored in two.
     •  Junior Drew Chatters (javelin) and sophomore Brianna Pace (distance) were named CoSIDA Academic All-District — and Chatters earned second-team Academic All-America.

Moses outpolled Loyola's Nick Dodson, LSU's Dennis Shaver and Tulane's Eric Peterson for the state award. Shaver was voted men's Coach of the Year.

The coaching honor is Moses' 12th at the state level. In cross country, Moses has won the women's award six times and the men's honor four times.

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

RICK CLEVELAND: In college athletics, the rich get richer

JACKSON, Mississippi -- USA Today’s recent report about athletic budgets at universities around the country raised some eyebrows in Mississippi.

The headlines told us Jackson State ($7.6 million), Alcorn State ($6.7 million) and Mississippi Valley State ($4.3 million), which all compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), all were among the lowest spenders in Division I.

Valley ranked No. 228 of 230 schools, Alcorn No. 225, and JSU No. 220.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss’ athletic revenue was highest among Mississippi universities at $110.5 million, followed by Mississippi State at $94.9 million.

The Southern Miss athletic budget checked in at $25.9 million.

Of course, everything is relative, and all the Mississippi schools were near the bottom of their respective conferences. JSU, Alcorn and Valley were all at or near the bottom of the SWAC. Ole Miss and State were among the lowest spenders in the SEC. And Southern Miss was next to lowest in Conference USA.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

S.C. State quarterbacks talented, but inexperienced

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- A quick examination of the 2017 South Carolina State projected preseason football roster finds six quarterbacks listed.

Missing from that group are the two signal-callers who shared the quarterbacking duties on the 2016 team. Adrian Kollock Jr. completed his studies and playing eligibility and the once-promising Caleb York (1,116 passing yards in 2016) transferred to play at Campbell University.

That leaves Bulldog head coach Buddy Pough and his staff having to rely mostly on a youthful group of quarterbacks in 2017. The group has promise and loads of talent, but little game experience. That could prove to be big in a conference that has become more and more reliant on a top performer behind center.

The Bulldog quarterback logjam most likely signals a fierce preseason battle to win the position and lead S.C. State on the field September 3 against Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.

Leading the pack are ...


'When Rickie says something, we listen:' Former Southern star Rickie Weeks a steadying influence for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Inside the home clubhouse at Tropicana Field, it’s a night for good times. The sound system’s thump-thump-thump sets a fun-loving mood. Players for the Tampa Bay Rays, enjoying a victory, are making light-hearted conversation while mixing in occasional hijinks.

Over in the corner, it’s all business.

The team’s oldest player, Rickie Weeks Jr., is quietly sitting at his locker stall, slowly putting himself together, his back to the room.

Soon, he will slip away, barely making a sound.

“But when Rickie says something, we listen,’’ Rays pitcher Alex Cobb said. “He knows how to act like a pro. We respect him so much. Nobody has to say it. It’s just the truth.’’

To the untrained eye, Weeks appears to be a veteran with his best days long behind him, a name that once generated considerable buzz and All-Star votes. Now a first baseman who plays almost exclusively against left-handed pitching, the former Southern star batted .216 with two home runs and eight RBIs before landing on the disabled list.


SWAC Basketball Tournament Trophy To Be Named After Legendary Coach Davey Whitney

LORMAN, Mississippi  -- The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) men's basketball championship trophy will bear the name of an iconic Alcorn State University sports figure.

The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted to name the Men's SWAC Championship Basketball Tournament trophy after the legendary Coach Davey L. Whitney.

Whitney posted a 508-292 record at Alcorn including a 259-115 mark in the SWAC. He coached the Braves for 27 seasons over two stints from 1969-89 and 1996-03.

Whitney guided Alcorn to 12 SWAC Championships and was a nine-time SWAC Coach of the Year winner. His 508 wins are the most in school history, ahead of Dwight Fisher who recorded 190 victories from 1948-56.

Furthermore, Whitney coached three SWAC Player of the Year winners (Larry Smith twice and Michael Phelps once) and six SWAC Tournament MVP's (Larry Smith twice, Aaron Brandon twice, Albert Irving and Marcus Fleming).

President Alfred Rankins Jr. commended the Council for recognizing Whitney's achievements.

"I am pleased that the SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors recognized the great accomplishment and contributions of Coach Whitney by naming the tournament championship trophy in his honor," said Rankins. "Coach Whitney was one of the best Division I coaches of all time."

Whitney, who passed away in 2015, coached at Alcorn to a win over Mississippi State 80-78 in the 1979 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Whitney led Alcorn to a win against South Alabama in the first round of the 1980 NCAA Tournament, which was the first time a historically black college and university had won in the tournament. Whitney also guided Alcorn to NCAA Tournament wins in 1983 and 1984 and six appearances in the dance.

Whitney was elected to the Kentucky State University Hall of Fame in 1976, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, the Alcorn State University Hall of Honors in 1993, the Alcorn State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Whitney family expressed their appreciation upon receiving the good news. Gail Whitney, Coach Whitney's daughter, said that the family is grateful for the love and support that the SWAC and the University has shown for her late father.

"The Whitney family would like to extend our appreciation to the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Alcorn State University for honoring the legacy of our father, Davey "The Wiz" Whitney, Sr.," said Whitney. "We look forward to the first presentation of the trophy at the 2017-2018 SWAC Basketball Tournament Championship."

Alcorn renamed its basketball gym to the Davey L. Whitney Complex in 1995. It was previously known as Scalpin' Grounds Arena. Whitney was one of the few coaches in the history of the sport to ever coach in a building that was named after him.


Fobbs: GSU Offense may take time to be as potent

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Expectations on the offensive side of the ball soar when the conference Offensive Player of the Year returns to the huddle.

With rising senior quarterback DeVante Kincade piloting the attack, Grambling State’s offensive firepower in 2017 has the chance to pack more gunpowder than last season’s potent arsenal that put up almost 40 points per game and scored 66 touchdowns.

Kincade, in his first year starting, accounted for 35 of those scores, with 31 coming through the air along with 3,022 passing yards, making him the lone 3,000-yard passer in the SWAC last season and landed him Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors at the conference’s annual Media Day Friday in Birmingham.

Preseason first-team All-Conference running back Martez Carter, looking to improve off his successful junior campaign of 891 yards and 10 touchdowns, also comes back to fully load the backfield chamber, giving the Tigers the most proven one-two punch in the league.

But standout wide receiver Chad Williams is gone and now lines up wide with the Arizona Cardinals. Three of GSU’s offensive linemen have graduated, and while those departures don’t diminish fourth-year head football coach Broderick Fobbs’ confidence, they do illicit some pause.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

FAMU High School Band Camp Halftime Show 2017

COURTESY: Derrell Smith, Videographer

Southern University High School Band & Dance Camp (2017) | Full Performance

COURTESYtrin.t productions

2017 Chicago Bears training camp preview: Running back Tarik Cohen (N.C. A&T)

CHICAGO, Illinois -- The star of the Bears’ offense this summer is at running back in the form of Jordan Howard, and he has a couple of new teammates in the position room with fourth-round rookie Tarik Cohen and former Rams back Benny Cunningham. The Bears also have a couple of fullbacks and bring back Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey. Here are the key questions to be answered at running back during training camp.

How will the offense utilize Cohen? One of the highlights in OTAs and minicamp was Cohen, a human highlight reel in college. He clearly has the shiftiness and playmaking ability to be a force in the open field, but making plays in minicamp in shorts is one thing. Doing it against a padded defense (albeit one that is not supposed to bring down the ball carrier) will be a challenge, especially as he makes the transition from the MEAC defense he faced in college. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has a Swiss Army knife in the backfield to get creative with, and we’ll start to see how involved Cohen can be in the offense during camp.


XULA Gold Nuggets sign 2; recruiting class increases to 6

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana announced Thursday the signing of Vivica Price-Spraggins of Chicago and Whitney Young Magnet High School and Kayla Black of Magnolia, Texas, and Houston's St. Pius X High School to athletic scholarships for volleyball.

The Gold Nuggets have signed six for the 2017 season, which will begin in August. XULA won the last six Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships and earned six consecutive automatic bids during that time to the NAIA National Championship.

Price-Spraggins is a 5-foot-11 middle blocker/right-side hitter. She helped Whitney Young's Dolphins in 2016 go 24-12, win a regional playoff and advance to sectionals. Price-Spraggins hit .402 as a senior with 105 kills, 47 blocks, 22 aces and 53 digs.

Price-Spraggins played five years of club ball — first with Club Kace, then with Chicago Elite. She was a starter for a bronze-medal-winning team at 2016 nationals.

Black, a 5-9 outside hitter, helped St. Pius in 2016 reach the Class 6A quarterfinals of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools playoffs. She was second-team all-state as a senior and junior. Black was her team's MVP in 2016.

Black has nine years of club experience, most recently with Willowbrook but also with Waves and Revolution. She was a starter for a Waves team that placed eighth in nationals in 15s.

Black's paternal grandfather is former NFL player and executive James "Shack" Harris, a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the first African-American quarterback to start and win an NFL playoff game (1974: Los Angeles 19, Washington 10).

Price-Spraggins will major in early elementary education, and Black will be a biology/pre-medical major with plans to pursue a career in pediatric cardiology.

2017-18 XULA Volleyball Signees
Name Pos. Ht. Yr.* Hometown High School

Ariel Bell # OH 5-7 Fr. White Castle, La. White Castle
Kayla Black OH 5-9 Fr. Magnolia, Texas St. Pius X
Jaida Dowd OH 5-8 Fr. Aurora, Ill. Metea Valley
Eva Le Guillou S 5-9 Fr. Velizy-Villacoublay, France Emmanuel Mounier
Vivica Price-Spraggins MB/RS 5-11 Fr. Chicago, Ill. Whitney Young Magnet
Lauryn Taylor RS/OH 5-9 Fr. Sairburn, Ga. Booker T. Washington

* XULA athletic classification in 2017-18
# also will compete in track and field

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

LU's Donnita Rogers Honored as 2016-17 RRAC Athletic Director of the Year

WACO, Texas --  Langston University's (Okla.) Donnita Drain-Rogers has earned the distinction of 2016-17 RRAC Athletic Director of the Year, two years after returning to the school to take the lead role with the Lions' program. Rogers was the head women's basketball for Langston from 2000-08 and, since her return in 2015, the department has reached new heights.

The RRAC AD of the Year award recognizes the athletic director who had the best year in overall program improvement, facility development, game administration, NAIA Champions of Character commitment, ability to hire and keep quality coaches, program growth in sports and revenue opportunities, contributions at the conference and national levels, and student-athlete development.

Rogers was previously recognized as the 2003 NAIA Region VI Athletic Director of the Year while at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. In the last year, she improved Langston's promotional tools, created a new national event and has overseen a number of program honors such as the Lions first trip to the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championship quarterfinals.

"Although I am not surprised, I am proud that our Director of Athletics, Donnita Drain-Rogers, was selected for this prestigious award by the RRAC," says Langston President Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr. Donnita exhibits daily the rare combination of having a remarkably high work ethic while maintaining exemplary character at all times"

"We are blessed and honored to have her at Langston University and we appreciate the RRAC for recognizing her value and effort."

Led by Head Coach Stan Holt, the Langston men's basketball team reached the RRAC Basketball Tournament championship game before climbing to the Elite Eight of the NAIA tournament. The Lions won the RRAC tournament in 2016. Langston's women's basketball team also reached the RRAC tournament.

In the spring, Langston hosted the first ever National HBCU Softball Classic at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. In addition to the Lions, seven visiting teams competed over two days including Grambling State University (La.) and Southern University (La.). Langston followed that with two upsets in the RRAC Softball Tournament to finish fourth in the event. The Lions placed third in RRAC men's track & field and fourth in the women's meet.

Langston had five volleyball all-conference selections, four in women's basketball, five in men's basketball and two NAIA All-Americans.

During the last year, Langston redesigned its athletics website to enhance its coverage and stepped up its efforts to provide news and content through social media.

Rogers graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in December of 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education and an endorsement in Biology. She obtained her Master's degree in Education Administration at Texas A&M University-Commerce. While attending NWOSU, she obtained such honors as NAIA National Player of the Week, Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference Scholar-Athlete, OIC and NAIA District IX All-Conference Teams and Northwestern Ranger Queen in 1988. Rogers was inducted into the NWOSU Hall of Fame in January of 1998. After gruaduating, she served four years as Athletic Director for Women's Sports at her alma mater.

During her coaching tenure at Langston, Rogers led the Lady Lions to six NAIA Division I National Tournament appearances. The 2007 season also marked Coach Rogers's first trip to the Elite Eight of the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship. Rogers has more wins than any other Langston women's basketball coach and recorded nine consecutive winning seasons prior to leaving. Rogers' teams went undefeated in conference play their last two seasons and won 34 consecutive conference games. Her 2008 team had a 27-game winning streak and consisted of Jamie Skinner, the RRAC Player of the Year, First Team All-American and State Farm All-American, as well as Dominique Thomas, the RRAC Defensive Player of the Year. Rogers' 2007-2008 team finished with a #6 national ranking, a record of 31-2 and a berth to the round of 16 at the NAIA tournament.

Rogers coached for four years at Grambling and led the Tigers to two consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal appearances. Rogers was named the SWAC Coach of the Year during the 2010 season and had the ninth-ranked recruiting class among NCAA Division I mid-major colleges in her last season.

Prior to becoming the athletic director at Langston, Rogers served as the head boys basketball coach at Booker T. Washington High School in Shreveport, La., and is the first female to coach a varsity boys' basketball team in Caddo Parish. Rogers picked up her 300th career win during her first season and finished 22-9 and ranked #13 in 3A boys' basketball this yea
r. Rogers' Lions made it to the LHSAA quarterfinals to achieve their best finish since the mid-1980s.

Rogers' husband, Eric, is Youth Minister at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Grambling, La., and a business entrepreneur.


Langston Volleyball Signs Three Players

LANGSTON, Oklahoma -- Langston University head volleyball coach Jacob Rodriguez announced the addition of three incoming student-athletes for the 2017 season. The Lions welcome Allexus Frazier, Cynamyn Temple and Courtlyn Harris.

Allexus Frazier joins the Lady Lions as incoming freshman; she most recently played at Trimble Tech in Fort Worth, Texas. The 5'9 freshman is projected to play middle/front row for the Lady Lions.

Cynamyn Temple is a 5'9 middle from Westmoore High School in Moore, Okla.; Temple is another incoming freshman for Coach Rodriguez and is projected to play middle/front as well.

Courtlyn Harris is a 5'7 outside/defensive specialist from Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas. Harris is another incoming freshman and is projected to continue playing as an outside/defensive specialist.

"We're really excited about how this recruiting class came togeth
er," Rodriguez noted. "Not only are these incoming student-athletes highly skilled but there are also incoming freshman which helps us continue to build for a brighter future. We're ready to get everyone here and start come August."


GLVC Honors Eight Lincoln Football Players

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana  --  Eight members of the Lincoln football team were honored by the Great Lakes Valley Conference for their academic performance during the 2016-17 school year, the league office announced on Tuesday (June 27).

Junior defensive back Aaron Brown (Quincy, Calif.) was recognized by the GLVC for having a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Seven other Blue Tigers who had cumulative GPAs of 3.3 or higher were also honored by the conference.

Junior defensive end Jervonta Jones (St. Louis, Mo.) and redshirt sophomore linebacker Justus Schulte (Jefferson City, Mo.) each received the third Academic All-GLVC awards of their Lincoln careers. Senior running back Miles Drummond (Centralia, Mo.), senior linebacker Daniel Mande (Cuthbert, Ga.) and sophomore defensive back Zeke Smith (Kansas City, Mo.), meanwhile, each earned their second career Academic All-GLVC award.

The other two first-time Academic All-GLVC honorees, besides Brown, included junior kicker Alexander Templeton (Poway, Calif.) and junior linebacker Addison Tucker (Memphis, Tenn.).

Dan Carr, Assistant AD for Media Relations

KSU FOOTBALL | John L. Smith excited for second season with Thorobreds

FRANKFORT, Kentucky -- The Kentucky State football team won the SIAC western division in its first year under head coach John L. Smith, and as he enters year two, the standards are set even higher.

The Thorobreds are picked to finish third in standings this season, but after a year of overachieving, coach Smith says his players are hungry for an outright conference championship.

Sports Night producer Garrett Moore spoke with Coach Smith, and Smith says he is happy to see the progress his players and program are making.


WSSU Rams Women's Basketball Announces 2017 Signing Class

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- The Winston-Salem State University women's basketball team will welcome a stellar cast of newcomers to the team in the fall of 2017. The Rams will welcome a quartet of players who will look to build upon a promising effort by the team in its second season under the guidance of head coach L'Tona Lamonte. The Rams wasted little time in getting their signees as the team signed three student-athletes in the fall and one in April.

"I am excited for this recruiting class and the future of WSSU women's basketball. We focused on bringing in winners with high character, a strong work ethic, and great students," Lamonte said. "I look forward to meshing them with our returners and watching this team develop. Each player brings something different to the table, but they all have an understanding of basketball."

One area of concern that the Rams addressed was the backcourt. The Rams will welcome the duo of Teara Johnson and Nyona Shields. Both players come to Winston-Salem State with some impressive resumes. Johnson is a well-decorated athlete from Dudley High School in nearby Greensboro, N.C. During her career, she earned Metro 4A All-Conference honors twice and was named the team's offensive MVP during her senior season. She also earned both all-district and all-area honors during her career as well. Her accomplishments also extended to the classroom where she holds a 4.3 grade-point average and will come to college with 50 credit hours. Shield is a four-year starter from Union Pines High School where she led the team to a 93-20 overall record during her career and scored 1,657 total points with 500 assists and earned Cape Fear Valley (CFV) first team all-conference honors three times and she was also named the CFV Conference Player of the Year during her senior season. She was also a four-time CFV Academic All-Conference honoree as well.

The Rams will also look to bolster their front court with the additions of incoming freshmen Tamani Manning and Lenzi Brown. Manning is a 6'2" forward from William Fleming School Roanoke, Va. She will come to WSSU after a great high school career at William Fleming High after beginning her career at nearby Ben L. Smith High School in Greensboro, N.C. Her career includes 505 career points with 488 rebounds, and 38 total blocks. During her career, she led her team to a runner-up finish in the 2015-16 state championships and a regional appearance during the 2016-17 season. During her career, she led her teams to a combined 44-12 overall record with back-to-back Blue Ridge District championships. She is no stranger to WSSU as her brother, Shaquan Manning, was a member of the Rams' 2012 football team that reached the NCAA Division II National Championship Game. Joining her in the front court will be Brown, a 5'10" forward who comes to WSSU after attending Hopewell High School in Huntersville, N.C. She also spent time at Northside Christian Academy where she earned MAC All-Conference honors before completing her career at Hopewell High School.

The sole transfer among the Rams' newcomers is Ziara Doe, a 5'9" sophomore guard from Alabama State University. She is a graduate of Hilton Head Academy in Hardeeville, S.C. where she led the team to the 2015 South Carolina Independent Schools Association (SCISA) State Championship and earned All-Area Player of the Year and All-State honors. She also scored 1,900 points during her career. She played in 28 games with 11 starts for the Hornets and averaged 4.5 points per game.

The Rams and their recruiting class will look to build upon a solid 2016-17 season after a 14-14 overall record and finished third in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division. For more information on Rams women's basketball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to


Jenkins warns SWAC of breakout season for ASU

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Alabama State football coach Brian Jenkins was fashionably late for the 2017 SWAC media day at the Birmingham Marriott, but was grinning from ear-to-ear.

Jenkins spoke confidently about his team coming off his first losing season as a head coach.

The Hornets went 4-7 and suffered their first losing season since 2009, but Jenkins said his program is coming back with a vengeance.

“We’re really looking forward to playing this season,” Jenkins said. “They know how they felt and how I felt (about last season). You can tell that the feeling runs deep, because they haven’t repeated anything they did last year.”

Last year, the Hornets lost four games by seven points or less. They had leads in the fourth quarter against Texas Southern (31-27 loss) and Alabama A&M (42-41 overtime loss).

Hornets senior cornerback Ronnie Scott said the difference this season will paying attention to the smaller things.


Picks to click: Four SWAC players sure to stand out this season

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- DeVante Kincade, QB, Grambling

The reigning SWAC Offensive Player of the Year guides a Grambling squad that is the heavy favorite to repeat as league champion. Kincade, who transferred from Ole Miss a year ago, is a capable runner but is at his best when attacking through the air. He posted an outstanding 31:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season to go with a league-best 3,022 passing yards. Kincade looked phenomenal in Grambling’s spring game, completing 38 of 47 passes for 502 yards and three scores.

Lenorris Footman, QB, Alcorn State

Footman was slowed by injury last season, but he could be primed for a big campaign in Year 2 under coach Fred McNair. When healthy, there are few players in the league who can match Footman’s ability to take over a game, particularly when he gets room to run. He gashed Southern in a losing effort for 147 yards and three touchdowns on the ground (in addition to 304 yards and two scores through the air). Three weeks later, he ran for 122 yards and three more scores against Alabama A&M.


Can anybody catch Grambling in the SWAC? 'Everyone wants to exceed that standard'

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs doesn’t see the target on his team’s back, but he feels it.

After his Tigers went 10-0 against Southwestern Conference competition last season — including a come-from-behind win in the SWAC championship game — and then followed it up with a win in the Celebration Bowl, Fobbs knows everybody is gunning to take his team down a peg.

“Absolutely,” Fobbs said. “At the end of the day, every time you set the standard, everyone wants to exceed that standard. We understand that, that’s the reason we worked extremely hard.

“We don’t want to play the same way we played last year, we want to play better than we played last year. Of course we want the same result, but we realize we have to play better than we did last year in order to achieve so many goals.”

Grambling is expected to set the standard again this season. With several key pieces coming back, including SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Devante Kincade, Grambling was picked to win the SWAC west for the third consecutive year.

Asked if the gap between Grambling and the rest of the league is too big to overcome, Alcorn State coach Fred McNair was not so sure. McNair’s club was picked to win the SWAC east for the fourth straight year.


Rabalais: The end of its title game and a seven-game slate makes this a big season of change in the SWAC

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — It’s a season of change in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the reason for that change was summed up succinctly Friday by Southern coach Dawson Odums.

“At the end of the day,” Odums said at SWAC Media Day, “football is a business.”

For the SWAC, the business of continuing to put on a conference championship game no longer made financial sense. So this year’s game, Dec. 2 at NRG Stadium in Houston, will be the final edition of a game that made its debut in 1999 but in 2017 has outlived its usefulness.

Get your T-shirts and hats now, because when it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

From a business standpoint downsizing the conference schedule from nine to seven games also made financial sense for the SWAC’s members — at least for the time being.

More on that later. The biggest story for this season is the end of the championship game.

The SWAC, along with its playing partner the MEAC, has decided to put its nest egg in the Celebration Bowl’s basket. The game between the two conference champions, the de facto black college football national championship C, is moving this year into the Atlanta Falcons’ sparkling new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the heart of Georgia’s capital city. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 on ABC.


Alcorn ready to move on after turbulent off-season

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- None of the Alcorn State football players involved in an on-campus brawl in April will miss playing time when the season begins, ASU coach Fred McNair said Friday at SWAC media day.

Seven of the 21 players arrested in relation to the fight were found guilty of simple assault, a misdemeanor, and ordered to pay $100 restitution. They were also subject to the school's disciplinary board, which addressed each of the players individually.

In the end, the Braves' coach said he felt the players involved had been through enough.

"We're ready to move on from it," McNair said. "I feel like the university did things the right way, and those guys have done everything they've been asked to do, been compliant and handled it the way they should have handled it. Now I think they are anxious to get back on the field."

That's big news for a team that was voted as the overwhelming favorite to win the SWAC's Eastern Division in the annual preseason poll.

McNair's Braves are eager to erase the bad taste left in their mouths coming off a 27-20 loss to Grambling in the SWAC Championship. If they can stay healthy, they might very well get their chance.


Southern is eligible to compete in this year's Celebration Bowl, Odums hopeful for spring practice in 2018

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — For the first time since the inception of the Celebration Bowl, Southern will be eligible to play in it.

The NCAA lifted its postseason ban on Southern, which had prohibited the football team from participating in the Southwestern Athletic Conference's only guaranteed postseason football game. The conference championship game is considered to be part of the regular season.

That said, coach Dawson Odums said not to expect his team to treat the season any differently.

“That opportunity doesn’t present itself if you don’t do what you’re supposed to,” Odums said. “That’s always been the approach. Nothing at the end matters if you don’t go through the beginning and the middle.”

While he hasn’t received official word, Odums said he is assuming it means his team will be able to go through full spring practices as a team in 2018.

Neither of Southern’s two representatives at Southwestern Athletic Conference media day, seniors Austin Howard and Danny Johnson, has gone through spring practice, as Southern has gone three years without it.


Luke Johnson's SWAC media day Four Downs: Some good news for Southern, a suggestion for the SWAC

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama  --  1. An end in sight.

Southern can finally go into a season knowing that, if it plays well enough, it will be able to compete for a bowl championship just like everybody else in the conference. While coach Dawson Odums said that having the end-of-season incentive doesn’t change anything for how his football team must approach the day, it is nice for the program to know it can be rewarded for a strong season.

2. New rule, same Odums.

A rule was implemented college football-wide this offseason aiming to penalize coaches for going onto the field of play to argue a call. “I’m rarely on the field arguing calls,” Odums said. “I think it also sets an example for your following to think that it’s okay to argue calls. I try to be the best role model for our players. Officials make mistakes just like we make mistakes. You live with it, they give you a good explanation.”

3. Money game.

The SWAC is abandoning its championship game to focus on the Celebration Bowl, but what it really boils down to is money — money for fans traveling, money to play in a fancy stadium with all the bells and whistles. What about this for a solution: Play the games on a campus site. The Conference USA has been using that system for years, and the Sun Belt is adopting it this season. The league is better with a championship game.


SWAC Football All-Conference Preseason Teams Released

BIRMINGHAMN, Alabama -- The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2017 SWAC Preseason Teams Friday with 14 players from defending SWAC Champion and Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl winner Grambling State being tabbed for the most individual honors.

The teams were announced during SWAC Football Media Day at the newly renovated Birmingham Marriott after ballots were cast by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

49 players were named to this year’s preseason teams, with several returning players that earned SWAC All-Conference honors at the conclusion of the 2016 season. Should a player that was named to the first team in the postseason awards not return, the second-team player for that position was elevated to the first team. Players were ranked in their position based upon the number of votes received. Ballots required voters to rank their selections in order. After helping lead the Tigers to a conference-best 11-win season, Grambling State quarterback Devante Kincade was the voters’ choice for the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year award. In 2016, Kincade completed 63 percent of his passes and threw for 3,022 yards with 31 touchdowns against just four interceptions.

Jackson State defensive end Keontre Anderson was tabbed as the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after leading the nation with 25.5 tackles for a loss to go along with nine sacks and six hurries.

Prairie View A&M had the second most selections with eight including four first teamers. Alcorn State and Southern were tied for the third most amount of selections with seven apiece (four first team selections each) while Alabama A&M garnered five selections. Jackson State nabbed three spots, Alabama State and Mississippi Valley State each had two representatives while Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff had one selection apiece.

Joining Kincade on the preseason first-team offense are: running backs Martez Carter (Grambling State) and Jordan Bentley (Alabama A&M), offensive linemen Trent Scott (Grambling State), Donovan Wheaton (Prairie View A&M), Timothy Gardner (Alcorn State), William Waddell (Grambling State), and Sam Baptiste (Alabama State), wide receivers KhaDarel Hodge (Prairie View A&M) and Devohn Lindsey (Grambling State) and tight end Dillon Beard (Southern). Joining Anderson on the preseason first-team defense are: defensive linemen Aaron Tiller (Southern), Michael Brooks (Alcorn State), and DeVohn Reed (Prairie View A&M), linebackers Kenneth Davis (Alabama A&M), Sean Jones (Texas Southern), De’Arius Christmas (Grambling State), and defensive backs Danny Johnson (Southern), Everett Nicholas (Mississippi Valley State), Tere Calloway (Alabama A&M) and Derrick Dixon (Grambling State). Kicker Nick Carden (Alabama A&M), punter Owen Hoolihan and Martez Carter (Grambling State) were each tabbed as first team selections for special teams. Carter was the only player to double as a first team selection at separate positions (also made first team as a running back).

East Division defending champion Alcorn State totaled 80 points as it was named the preseason favorite to win the East. Alabama State was selected to finish in second with 66 points, Jackson State received 59 points, followed by Alabama A&M (45) and Mississippi Valley State (20). In the West Division, reigning SWAC champion and Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl winner Grambling State was chosen as the overall favorite after amassing a conference-best 85 points in the voting. Southern was selected second after it received 68 points. Prairie View A&M followed closely in third place with 59 points while Texas Southern (37) and Arkansas Pine Bluff (21) rounded out the order of predicted finish.

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Devante Kincade (QB) – Grambling State

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Keontre Anderson (DL) – Jackson State

2017 Preseason All-SWAC Football Team

  • QB Devante Kincade, Grambling'
  • RB Martez Carter, Grambling
  • RB Jordan Bentley, Alabama A&M
  • OL Trent Scott, Grambling
  • OL Donovan Wheaton, Prairie View
  • OL Timothy Gardner, Alcorn State
  • OL William Waddell, Grambling
  • OL Sam Baptiste, Alabama State
  • WR KhaDarel Hodge, Prairie View
  • WR Devohn Lindsey, Grambling
  • TE Dillon Beard, Southern

  • DL Aaron Tiller, Southern
  • DL Keontre Anderson, Jackson State
  • DL Michael Brooks, Alcorn State
  • DL DeVohn Reed, Prairie View
  • LB De'Arius Christmas, Grambling
  • LB Kenneth Davis, Alabama A&M
  • LB Seth Jones, Texas Southern
  • DB Danny Johnson, Southern
  • DB Everett Nicholas, Mississippi Valley State
  • DB Tere Calloway, Alabama A&M
  • DB Derrick Dixon, Grambling

Special teams
  • PK Nick Carden, Alabama A&M
  • P Owen Hoolihan, Prairie View
  • RS Martez Carter, Grambling

Second team
  • QB Austin Howard, Southern
  • RB Sta'Fon McCray, Prairie View
  • RB De'Lance Turner, Alcorn State
  • OL Skylar Prol, Southern
  • OL Deonte Brooks, Alcorn State
  • OL Vincent Hunter, Jackson State
  • OL Austin Simmons, Alabama A&M
  • OL Alvin Solomon, Mississippi Valley State
  • WR Norlando Veals, Alcorn State
  • WR Darius Floyd, Prairie View
  • TE Jordan Jones, Grambling

  • DL Christopher Johnson, Grambling
  • DL Brandon Varner, Grambling
  • DL James Harper, Prairie View
  • DL Ramonte Bell, Alcorn State
  • LB Kentavious Preston, Southern
  • LB Malcolm Williams, Grambling
  • LB Shawn Bishop, Jackson State
  • DB Jamar Mitchell, Southern
  • DB Ja'Terious Pouncy, Grambling
  • DB Percy Cargo, Grambling
  • DB O.J. O'Neal, Alcorn State

Special teams
  • PK Trevor Vincent, Alabama State
  • P Jamie Gillan, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
  • RS Joshua Simmons, Prairie View

Predicted order of finish

Western Division
  1. Grambling, 85 points
  2. Southern, 68
  3. Prairie View, 59
  4. Texas Southern, 37
  5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 21

Eastern Division
  1.  Alcorn State, 80
  2. Alabama State, 66
  3.  Jackson State, 59
  4. Alabama A&M, 45
  5. Mississippi Valley State, 20

SWAC West Division is loaded again

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- – If Southwestern Athletic Conference member Prairie View A&M played in the East Division instead of the West Division, it would have won the title by two games last year.

Instead the Panthers finished as the third-place team in the West by two games.

Sure, the large FCS conferences like CAA Football, the Big Sky and the Missouri Valley are stuffed with depth, but the West Division also should be viewed as a gauntlet. It’s only five teams deep but boasts the likes of defending SWAC champion Grambling State, Southern and Prairie View, a trio that went a combined 24-3 in conference games, and perfect against the East.

Those three teams were installed in that order in the SWAC’s preseason poll on Friday. Over in the East, Alcorn State was favored to win its fourth straight division title.

Incredibly, Grambling (11-1, a second straight 9-0 in the SWAC), Southern (8-3, 8-1) and Prairie View (7-4, 7-2) combined for fewer losses than what Alcorn State (5-6, 5-4) suffered while winning the East under first-year coach Fred McNair. Grambling, under coach Broderick Fobbs, went on to beat Alcorn in the SWAC Championship Game and then topped Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champ North Carolina Central in the second annual Air Force Celebration Bowl to be crowned as the black college football national champion.


SWAC banking on Celebration Bowl for money, prestige

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The Southwestern Athletic Conference is all-in when it comes to the Celebration Bowl, banking on it to put the league on better financial footing.

The SWAC is dropping its championship game in a money-saving move. The league won’t have a title contest starting in 2018 after ending up in the red because of dwindling attendance.

“Whenever you get a million dollars and you’re not spending a million dollars on your own championship game, it helps tremendously,” SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said Friday at the league’s media day.

The SWAC’s postseason, barring receiving what is believed would be its first at-large FCS playoff berth, will pit the champion against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference winner in the Celebration Bowl at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

But it’s not just about the money. Coaches in the league that once routinely produced NFL stars, including Jerry Rice and Walter Payton, believe the platform will have a positive impact onTR recruiting, enhance the prestige of the conference and make travel easier for fans.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Power and glory on display at annual Queen City Battle of the Bands

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- Nothing sounds quite like black college bands – even in the rain.

Despite a driving downpour, last year’s Queen City Battle of the Bands rocked on before a packed house at Memorial Stadium. This year’s showcase will take the field August 26 at 7 p.m., featuring some of the nation’s best college bands Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the showcase.

Advance tickets can be bought at or by calling 1-888-547-6478. A College Fair will be held 3-5 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center, Doors open at 5 p.m., with pre-show at 6:30 p.m.


Alabama State University
Bethune Cookman University
North Carolina Central University
Miles College
Talladega College
Tennessee State University
Winston Salem State University

“To be honest, we were very blessed last year to have the amount of people we had with the rain,” QCBB founder Derek Webber said. “It shows the interest the community has in HBCUs and marching bands and supporting the event that donates scholarship money back to the universities. It’s a great testimony to what we’re doing and what we will continue to do to enhance the exposure of our HBCUs and marching bands.”

The 2017 lineup includes in-state rivals N.C. A&T State, N.C. Central and Winston-Salem State universities as well as out-of-state newcomers. The goal is to widen the QCBB’s reach and expose fans to bands they may not have seen in person.


NCCU football lands another transfer

DURHAM, North Carolina -- Add another one to the list. The North Carolina Central football team added its fifth FBS transfer to its football roster Saturday night.

De’Niro Laster, a linebacker, posted on his personal Twitter account that he would be closing out his college career with the Eagles. Laster, a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, started his playing career at Minnesota but played at Kentucky last season.

Laster is a 6-4, 241-pound inside linebacker, who was a three-star player coming out of Cleveland Heights High School. He earned his degree in May and will be eligible to play right away for N.C. Central, which won its first outright MEAC title in 2016.

In 2014 Laster played in nine games as a redshirt freshman with the Gophers, making seven tackles. That same season he was also named to the Academic All-Big Ten list. He sat out 2015 at Kentucky due to NCAA transfer rules but did practice with the team. He missed most of last season with a knee injury, recording 14 tackles in five games during his lone season in Lexington. Laster also recorded one sack and a fumble recovery in 2016.