Braves trio selected to SWAC Preseason All-Conference team
Published 2:18 pm Thursday, July 21, 2022
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Niko Duffey and CJ Bolar have been named to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Football Preseason All-Conference Second Team for offense, while Claudin Cherelus was named to the All-Conference Second Team for defense. The announcement came during the SWAC Preseason Football Media Day event taking place at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel. Furthermore, Alcorn State was predicted to finish second in the SWAC West Division as part of the preseason predicted order of finish.
Duffey, a 5-11, 175-pound junior running back from Tampa, Florida, finished the 2021 campaign ranked fourth in the SWAC with 805 rushing yards (73.2 yards/game) and four touchdowns on his way to being voted to the All-SWAC Second Team Offense at the end of the season. The Jefferson High product also stepped out of the backfield to post 18 receptions for 181 yards and one touchdown. Throughout the campaign, Duffey had a string of three consecutive games in which he eclipsed 100 yards rushing in contests against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (142 yds), Grambling State (138 yds) and Mississippi Valley State (138 yds), respectfully. He also turned in a 128-yard performance at Southern University.
Bolar, a 6-1, 190-pound senior wide receiver from Purvis, Mississippi, made an instant impact for the Braves in his first season with the program. After transferring into Alcorn at the end of the 2019 campaign, he was sidelined for the duration of the 2020-21 athletic year due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. In his first playing season for the Purple and Gold in fall of 2021, the former Vanderbilt Commodore finished the season 10th in the league with 668 receiving yards (16.7 yards/reception) and five touchdowns. He went on to average 60.7 receiving yards per contest for the season, including a 152-yard effort in a win away to Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
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Meanwhile, Claudin Cherelus, a 6-2, 195-pound senior from Naples, Florida, is earning all-conference preseason recognition for the first time in his Braves career in being selected to the Preseason All-SWAC Second Team Defense as a linebacker. The transfer from Massachusetts arrived to Lorman prior to the 2020-21 athletic term. In his first playing season for the Braves, the Golden Gate High alum finished second on the squad and eighth in the conference overall for total tackles (76). His 11 tackles for loss allowed him to finish 11th in the league in that department, while mixing in a pair of quarterback sacks along the way. He went on to record four quarterback pressures and a fumble recovery. He garnered the first double-digit tackles performance of his Alcorn career when he amassed 14 tackles (10 solo) at Southern.
As a team, Alcorn was predicted to finish second in the SWAC West with 110 points – just a single point behind Southern, who was predicted to finish atop the SWAC West at the end of the season with 111 votes. Prairie View A&M (82), Grambling State (77), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (42) and Texas Southern (40) rounded out the predicted order of finish for the western division of the league.
Meanwhile, Jackson State was predicted to finish atop the SWAC East with 116 points, followed closely by Florida A&M (108). FAMU closed its 2021 season as at-large participants in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs in what was the Rattlers first year competing as a SWAC member after joining the league in June 2021, from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Alabama A&M (87), Alabama State (60), Bethune-Cookman (56) and Mississippi Valley State (35) completed the preseason predictions for the eastern division of the conference.
For a complete list of this year’s Preseason All-SWAC Teams and league’s predicted order of finish, please visit SWAC.org.
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