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Alcorn picked to win SWAC’s East Division — again

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alcorn State is still the beast in the East.

The five-time defending Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division champions were projected to win it again in the 2019 SWAC preseason poll.

Senior quarterback Noah Johnson, meanwhile, was selected as the SWAC’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and senior linebacker Solomon Muhammad was voted the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

The Braves earned a whopping 14 selections on the preseason All-SWAC teams, including nine on the first team.

The announcements were made Tuesday at the 2019 SWAC Football Media Day in Birmingham.

Southern University was picked to win the West Division. Jackson State was picked to finish third, and Mississippi Valley State fifth, in the East.””

Representing the Braves on the All-SWAC first team were Johnson, Muhammad, running back De’Shawn Waller, offensive linemen Deonte Brooks, Kevin Hall and Mustaffa Ibrahim, defensive back Javen Morrison, defensive back Qwynnterrio Cole and kicker Corey McCullough.

McCullough was also on the second team as a punter. He was joined on the second team by defensive linemen Theron Bonds and Darrell Henderson, linebacker Brelion Hollis and defensive back Daylon Burks.

Johnson, from Tampa, Florida, is a third-team preseason FCS All-America selection. He was the 2018 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and SWAC championship game Offensive MVP.

Johnson was also one of four finalists for the HBCU Player of the Year Award, one of four finalists for the C Spire Conerly Trophy given to the best player in Mississippi, and one of 25 finalists for the Walter Payton Award as the best player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Johnson threw for 2,207 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, and rushed for 1,080 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ranked third in the FCS in rushing yards per carry (7.5) and 16th in completion percentage (.621).

In three seasons, Johnson ranks eighth all-time in school history in touchdown passes (30), ninth in passing yards (4,018) and 10th in rushing yards (1,867).

Muhammad is coming off a big year in 2018, when he was an HBCU All-American and an All-SWAC first team selection.

Muhammad finished second on the team in tackles, with 64, despite missing two games. He also had four sacks and nine tackles for loss. Muhammad helped Alcorn lead the nation in sacks per game.

Jackson State had two players selected to the preseason All-SWAC team, both on defense. Defensive lineman Khalil Johnson and linebacker Keonte Hampton were both picked.

Johnson had 40 total tackles last season, including 10 for loss and three sacks. Hampton, a sophomore, led the Tigers with 83 tackles including 10.5 for loss.

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