NCF Nation: Brian Jenkins

The season's best in the MEAC and SWAC

November, 21, 2013
11/21/13
1:32
PM ET
The college football season is winding down. It’s time to take a look at the top HBCU players and coaches in the MEAC and SWAC. Both conferences had a number of great players in just about every phase of the game. There were some great coaching jobs as well.

It’s not easy picking the top offensive and defensive players in each league. There are at least three or four worthy candidates in each category. The same thing applies with the coaches. Nevertheless, it’s time to hand out the top honors in both leagues.

MEAC

Offensive Player of the Year

QB Greg McGhee, Howard


McGhee had a great all-around season. The Bisons signal-caller is the second-leading passer in the MEAC. He completed 202 of 337 passes for 2,114 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. McGhee did a nice job throwing the ball downfield. And when the protection broke down, he showed some good speed getting away from the rush. McGhee’s running and passing skills were a big reason why he led the conference in total offense with 2,863 yards.

Defensive Player of the Year

LB Tazmon Foster, North Carolina Central


Foster has the ability to go sideline-to-sideline and make plays. He led the MEAC in tackles with 74 solo and 131 total. He is an NFL-caliber linebacker. Foster knows how to pick his spots in rushing the passer. He had two sacks. You have to know where he is on the field. He made a lot of plays with his speed and tackling ability.

Coach of the Year

Brian Jenkins, Bethune-Cookman


Jenkins hasn’t missed a beat since coming to Bethune-Cookman in 2010. Prior to B-CU, he was an assistant at Rutgers. He has won two MEAC championships already and B-CU (9-2 overall, 6-1 MEAC) should capture the league title again this year. It already has a win over Florida International, an FBS school, and its only league loss was to Norfolk State.

SWAC

Offensive Player of the Year

QB Dray Joseph, Southern


Joseph is one of the best passers in FCS. The Jaguars' field general can make all the throws. He has completed 229 of 365 passes for 3,010 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His passing exploits have led Southern to the top of the SWAC Western Division. He has a big game coming up against archrival Grambling State in the legendary Bayou Classic in the Superdome in New Orleans on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Defensive Player of the Year

LB Jer-Ryan Harris, Arkansas-Pine Bluff


Harris is a real hitter. He has 51 solo and 97 total tackles this season. Harris knows how to play the run. He reads the play very quickly, comes up and makes the tackle. Harris should get some NFL looks.

Coach of the Year

Jay Hopson, Alcorn State


Hopson, the Braves second-year head coach, helped Alcorn State exceed all expectations by leading it to a 9-3 overall and 7-2 record in the SWAC. The Braves recently pulled off a major upset over Jackson State, 48-33. Hopson was just 4-7 overall and 4-5 in the SWAC last season. In just two seasons, he has set a great foundation for the Braves.

Notes

  • Alcorn State quarterback John Gibbs has been named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week. Gibbs completed 18 of 32 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Jackson State.
  • Alcorn State defensive back Quinton Cantue has been chosen as the SWAC Defensive Player of the Week. Cantue intercepted two passes and returned one 36 yards for a touchdown.
  • North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen has been named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week. Cohen scored two TDs and rushed for 98 yards on 10 carries. He also became the first freshman in North Carolina A&T history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
  • Howard defensive back Cameron Alston was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week. Alston had seven solo tackles and intercepted a pass to help Howard defeat Texas Southern.
  • SBN Sports Network Black College Football Poll

    1. Winston-Salem State
    2. Bethune-Cookman
    3. South Carolina State
    4. Tennessee State
    5. Alcorn State
    6. Southern
    7. Virginia State
    8. Jackson State
    9. Alabama State
    10. Tuskegee

Big games for SWAC, MEAC this weekend

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
9:37
AM ET
This is a huge weekend for black college football in the SWAC and the MEAC, as two games should attract major attention.

In the SWAC, Alabama A&M battles Alabama State in the 71st annual Magic City Classic at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. The longstanding HBCU rivalry game should draw between 55,000 to 60,000 fans on Saturday afternoon and is for bragging rights for black college football in Alabama.

There’s a lot riding on this game. Alabama A&M (6-1 overall, 5-1 in SWAC) and Alabama State (4-3 overall, 4-2 league) are both coming off losses. Two weeks ago, Alcorn State nipped Alabama A&M, 21-20 in an upset, while Alabama State dropped a 37-34 decision to Jackson State. The first-place Bulldogs could put some distance between them and the Hornets in the Eastern Division. Conversely, the Hornets could tighten the decision race with a victory.

This game could be decided on the ground. Alabama A&M has a the league’s leading rusher in Kaderius Lacey. Alabama State has a terrific running back in Isaiah Crowell, who is the league’s second-leading rusher.

Meanwhile, in the MEAC, Bethune-Cookman will host North Carolina Central in a clash of two undefeated conference teams. B-CU (5-2 overall, 4-0 league) and NCCU (5-2 overall, 4-0 league) are well coached. In his second season, NCCU coach Henry Frazier has the Eagles playing at a high level. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Prior to arriving at NCCU, Frazier turned a struggling Prairie View A&M program completely around.

North Carolina Central was impressive in a 37-20 victory over Hampton last weekend.

In just his third season, Wildcats coach Brian Jenkins has established himself as one of the conference’s best after winning a MEAC championship two seasons ago. B-CU crushed Norfolk State 48-3 last weekend. This game could come down to a chess match between two of the league’s top coaches.

Notes

" Savannah State wide receiver Simon Heyward has been named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week. Heyward caught six passes for 160 yards with three touchdowns in the Tigers’ win over Edward Waters University.

" North Carolina Central linebacker Tazmon Foster is the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week. He had eight tackles, including four solo, in the Eagles’ big win over Hampton. Foster also returned an interception 80 yards for a TD and recovered a fumble.

" Prairie View A&M quarterback De'Auntre Smiley has been named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week. Smiley threw for 251 yards on 16-of-20 passes with four touchdowns in Prairie View A&M’s 52-37 win over Alcorn State. He also rushed for 30 yards on five carries.

" Arkansas-Pine Bluff linebacker Bill Ross was the SWAC Defensive Player of the Week. Ross had nine total tackles, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble and an interception which he returned for a 60-yard TD in UAPB’s 50-21 victory over Southern.

2012 Boxtorow HBCU Football Media Top 10 Poll

1. Winston-Salem State
2. Tennessee State
3. Bethune-Cookman
4. Alabama A&M
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
6. North Carolina Central
7. Miles
8. Tuskegee
9. Howard
10. Alabama State

Contact Donald Hunt with HBCU questions, comments or story ideas at dhunt37261@aol.com.

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