SWAC Announces 2008 Football Honors

By SWAC Media Relations
Updated: December 10, 2008

SWAC secondary BIRMINGHAM — The SWAC has announced its 2008 All-Conference Football Team with 12 all-conference honorees from 2007 highlighting this season’s selections.

The team was selected by nominations and votes from the member schools’ coaches and sports information contacts along with selected members of the media.

The lone unanimous selection on the team is Southern’s Juamorris Stewart. He caught 76 passes for 1,138 yards and 12 touchdowns. Stewart finished the season with nine catches for 174 yards and a touchdown during the Bayou Classic. He led the conference in receptions per game (6.9) and in receiving yards per game (103.5)

Among the top overall vote-getters were Prairie View A&M RB Donald Babers (222 carries, 1,085 yards, 11 TDs), Jackson State DE Marcus Benard (80 total tackles, 31 solo, 16 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss), Texas Southern WR/RS William Osbourne (82 rec., 1,092 yards, 7 TDs; 192.3 all-purpose yards per game) and Grambling State DB Jeffrey Jack (74 tackles, 45 solo, INT, two blocked kicks).

Seven defensive players, three offensive players and two specialists were among those who were chosen for post season recognition after receiving the award in 2007.

The list includes Ledarius Anthony (DE, Univ. Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Zach East (LB, Prairie View A&M), Vincent Lands (DE, Southern), Bryant Lee (QB, Southern), Jeremy Licea (K, Alabama A&M), Jeremy Maddox (DE, Alabama A&M), Xavier Manuel (OL, Alabama A&M), Malcolm Palmer (SS, Jackson State), Eric Perri (K, Jackson State), Marcellus Speaks (LB, Jackson State), Demarcus Stewart (OL, Southern) and Tim Turner (LB, Univ. Arkansas-Pine Bluff). UAPB running back Martell Mallett was first-team selection in 2006.

In all, there were 13 seniors selected to the first team and 10 for the second team. Ten juniors were chosen for the first team while eight were selected second team.

One sophomore was a first-team selection while six were chosen for the second team; one freshman was selected for the second team.

Grambling State led the count with nine selections — including four on first team. Jackson State placed eight players on the all-conference squad with four first-team choices.

Both Prairie View A&M and Southern each had seven players chosen and each placed four players on the first team. Texas Southern had five selections with three first-team slots while Alabama A&M and the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff each had four all-conference players and two first-team selections.

Mississippi Valley State had three (one first-team choice) while Alcorn State had two; Alabama State rounded out the list with one second-team selection.


Southern University QB Bryant Lee was named Offensive MVP and Jackson State LB Marcellus Speaks was named Defensive MVP of the 2008 SWAC football season, among individual honors announced.

Grambling State QB Greg Dillon earned Newcomer of the Year honors, and Texas Southern CB De’Markus Washington earned Freshman of the Year accolades in voting by conference coaches, sports information personnel, and selected members of the media.

Lee led the SWAC in completions (217), attempts (352), passing yards (2,682) and touchdown passes (20) while throwing just seven interceptions. He was seventh in the conference and second in rushing yards among quarterbacks with 534 yards (on 139 attempts) with six touchdowns.

Lee also had four games of at least 300 yards passing (including one 400-yard game), and posted back-to-back games where he accounted for at least five touchdowns.

Lee was a three-time conference Offensive Player of the Week, and also won National Player of the Week honors once in 2008.

In back-to-back games against Texas Southern (Oct. 11) and Florida A&M (Oct. 18), the 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior from Boutte, La. combined to complete 43-of-76 passes for 712 yards with five touchdowns and one interception and rushed 37 times for 180 yards and six touchdowns.

In the game against the Rattlers, Lee completed 25-of-42 passes for a career-high 407 yards with three touchdowns and one interception and rushed 16 times and 64 yards and three touchdowns. His 471-yard, six-touchdown effort helped him earned National Offensive Player of the Week honors

Speaks led the SWAC with 115 tackles (54 solo; 20.5 for loss), along with 5.0 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one blocked kick in leading the Tigers to the SWAC Championship Game for the second consecutive year.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior from Jackson, MS earned conference Defensive Player of the Week honors three times this season.

Speaks had six games of at least 10 tackles this season, with a streak of three consecutive 10+ tackle games earlier this season. Speaks made 14 tackles at Grambling State (Sept. 20), a season-high 16 tackles (with 1.0 for loss with 0.5 sacks) vs. Southern (Oct. 4), and 13 tackles (with 3.5 for loss with 0.5 sacks) vs. Univ. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Oct. 11).

Speaks made his interception on the road at Texas Southern (Oct. 18) and blocked a field-goal attempt vs. Alcorn State (Nov. 22).

Dillon emerged as the No. 1 QB for Grambling State, leading them to a nine-game winning streak and a return trip to the SWAC Championship Game.

This season, he has completed 97 of 172 passes for 1,242 yards with 15 touchdowns (seven INTs) while rushing 164 times for 676 yards and three touchdowns.

Dillon led all SWAC signal callers in rushing this season. He earned conference Newcomer of the Week honors four times this season, and earned conference Offensive Player of the Week honors once.

Dillon had three games in 2008 in which he posted at least 100 yards both passing and rushing: His best double-double game came against Alabama State on Oct. 18, in which he had career highs in passing yards (180) and rushing yards (147).

Washington made 37 tackles with five interceptions with one forced fumble and averaged nearly 16 yards per kickoff return for Texas Southern.

Washington was tied for second in the SWAC in interceptions and tied for third in the nation in interceptions among freshmen.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder from Dallas proved to be one of SWAC’s best ball hawks, posting a pair of two-interception games in the first three games of the season.

Washington had two picks each vs. Prairie View A&M (Aug. 30) and vs. Shaw (Sept. 6), the latter game helping TSU post its first win since 2006. Washington also had a career-high nine tackles against Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 8.


Classics Sports Radio Network will broadcast nationally the SWAC Championship Game on between Jackson State and Grambling live from Birmingham on Saturday.

The broadcast will begin with the pre-game show at 12:30 p.m. CT. At this time, radio stations scheduled to carry the game include WBOK-AM 1230 in New Orleans , WJSU-FM 88.5 in Jackson, MS, WHOV-FM 88.1 in Hampton , VA covering the Hampton Roads area, WAUG-AM 750 in Raleigh, NC, WLVV-AM 1410 in Mobile, AL, WAML-AM 1340 in Hattiesburg, MS, WXKL-AM 1290 in Sanford, NC, WBTE-AM 990 in the Greenville, NC area, and WCPS-AM 760 in the Rocky Mount, NC area.

Other stations may be added.

The SWAC Championship Game can also be heard anywhere around the world at www.classicsportsradio.com. The SWAC championship game is the last HBCU football game of the season.

Donal Ware will handle play-by-play, duties, Eric Curry color commentary and Michelle Gipson will handle sideline reporting.

In this its inaugural season, CSRN has provided live play-by-play broadcasts of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando, the John Merritt Classic in Nashville, the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis, the Atlanta Football Classic, the State Fair Classic in Dallas, and the CIAA Championship game.

Classics Sports Radio Network is a presentation of DWCommunications, LLC and is committed to broadcasting America’s biggest Black college football games and sporting events.