BASN’s HBCU Football Previews: Scouting The SWAC

By Ivan McDowell
Updated: August 29, 2007

SWAC HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Coming off of a matchup in the 2006 SWAC Football Championship game, the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M and the Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff will likely meet again in this year’s version of the annual December showdown.

At least that’s what the athletic directors and members of the media predicted a few weeks ago at the SWAC Preseason Luncheon in Birmingham. Here’s what I think.


1. Alabama A&M

They are the favorites and should be. The Bulldogs won beat UAPB last season with a mixture of QB Kelcy Luke’s efficiency and stingy defense. He returns for his senior season with a chip on his shoulder after being snubbed in the voting for any of the All-SWAC teams. He’s led A&M to two straight championship games and a title. He’s also the A&M’s all-time leader in yardage and completions.

DE C hris Traylor also returns after leading the conference in sacks (9.5) in just eight games. If he can stay on the field, Traylor will dominate and the Bulldogs will be hard to deal with on the edge. Watch for the Bulldogs to utilize a good, young group of receivers on the outside and a staunch, experienced secondary in the defensive backfield to get back to the championship.

2. Jackson State

The Tigers may be the scariest team in the league after just missing the East crown last year. Head Coach Rick Comegy continues to rebuild and the Tigers led the conference in scoring, while allowing a league low 94 yards per game on the ground. A sleeper in the East.

3. Alcorn State

The Braves hope QB Tony Hobson can return to his form of two seasons ago after an injury plagued 2006. Dual threat WR/KR Nate Hughes is also back . However, defense will keep the Braves from vying for the title.

4. Mississippi Valley State

Just missing the title game, the Delta Devils beat Alabama A&M last season. However, Valley has lost key players on both sides of the ball and brings in a new defensive coordinator. MVSU is average everywhere, but better than Alabama State.

5. Alabama State

New Head Coach Reggie Barlow has his work cut out, but there are pieces to work with. ASU will rely heavily on tailback Jay Peck, who scored eight touchdowns. Questions abound on defense and at wide receiver. The Hornets are not as good as the other teams in this division.


1. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

QB Chris Wallace led the conference in passing, propelling the Lions into SWAC Championship. Wallace tossed 20 touchdowns and was third in yardage (2,023). The Lions may have the best receiver in Jason Jones and one of the best in the backfield in Martell Mallet. The trio will put up a ton of points, but it’s UAPB’s defense that is suspect in the secondary and on the defensive line.

Mickey Dean when teamed with Mallett could become the best duo in the league. Mallett scored 14 touchdowns and rushed for 1,129 yards last season. If Dean can return to his Freshman of the Year form of two years ago, they’ll easily be the best the league has to offer. Jones benefited most from Wallace’s ascension; snaring 38 balls, but totaling almost 1,000 yards and making defensive backs pay with his 13 touchdowns.

End LeDarius Anthony is a beast in the making and at 6-feet-4, 245 pounds. He has the size and tools to play on Sundays. Linebacker Tim Turner was second in tackles with 80 and seems poised for more. The Golden Lions are clearly the best in the West and should return to the championship game with ease.

2. Grambling State

QB Brandon Landers and WR Clyde Edwards return on offense and could be a potent combination. Landers must continue to improve, but did throw 17 touchdowns last season. The running game must improve and secondary is best part of the defense. Former N.C. Central head coach Rod Broadway becomes the ninth coach in school history.

3. Texas Southern

The Tigers slightly edge out Southern for the third spot due to a more proven backfield. Defensively it’s a toss up between the two. Steve Wilson continues to improve TSU.

4. Southern

The dean of SWAC coaches, Pete Richardson, is back for his 14th season and is coming off of back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in his career. DB Jarmaul George is the best in the league and he must be the catalyst on defense. Offensively, WR Gerard Landry is a good receiver, but QB Bryant Lee must prove he can get the ball to him consistently.

5. Prairie View

The beat goes on for the Panthers. Unfortunately, their overall talent is lacking for fourth year coach Henry Frazier. Look for PVU to win as many as they did last season (2).