Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Albany State Picked to Repeat As SIAC Football Champs; Rivers and English Named Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year

Albany State's Frank Rivers (photo by Reginald Christian/The Albany Herald)
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference experts believe perennial power Albany State will have everything they need to reclaim their spot atop the conference standings in 2014.

The Golden Rams, who won the 2013 SIAC championship game despite starting the season by losing four of their first five games, received 111 votes from the conference's head coaches as the favorite to win the title again this year.  

Even though they got the fewest first place votes (finished) ahead of Tuskegee (103 total votes and five first place votes) and last season's runner-up, Miles (102 and four).

Albany State has the 2014 SIAC's preseason Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Frank Rivers (more than 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns passing last season) and nine other players who were named to the conference's preseason All-SIAC team this year.  

"We have had some really good quarterbacks play at Albany State and Frank has been a good student and good leader and good all-around athlete," said head coach Mike White in the Albany Herald.  "You enjoy working with a kid like that."

"With eight starters coming back on offense, and four starters coming back on defense, I think we can be better offensively than we were last year," White added in a story that ran on WALB-Albany web site.  "The big improvement that we have to make is on defense."

Julantate English, the 2014 SIAC preseason Defensive Player of the Year, will try to lift a Miles College defense that struggled at times last season.  While their offense was the in the upper tier of the SIAC in 2013, their defense was one of the conference's worst, giving up an average of 420 yards of offense and 26 points a game.  English did all he could, finishing second in the SIAC with 90 tackles, along with a sack and a forced fumble.

The SIAC's most balanced team last season was Tuskegee.  They topped the conference in points per game on offense (32) and fewest points allowed on defense (15.7).   They return seven players tabbed preseason All-SIAC, including running back Hoderick Lowe who had nearly 500 yards rushing and seven touchdowns as a freshman.  His two best blockers, offensive linemen Matthew Reece and Michael D. Horton, also return.

Here is the predicted SIAC order of finish in 2014:


Albany State (111 total votes, three first place votes)
Tuskegee (103, five)
Miles (102, four)
Fort Valley State (87)
Stillman (64)
Kentucky State (63)
Benedict (62)
Morehouse (56)
Clark Atlanta (43)
Lane (42)
Central State (31)
Paine (28)


Albany State
Fort Valley State
Clark Atlanta

Kentucky State
Central State

First Team Offense
QB Frank Rivers - Albany State
RB Jacquise Lockett - Kentucky State
RB Hoderick Lowe - Tuskegee
OL Victor Moli - Albany State
OL Terrence Owens - Miles
OL Matthew Reece - Tuskegee
OL Michael D. Thornton - Tuskegee
OL Aderus Hood - Miles
TE Delarius Webb - Miles
WR Jamion Dunning - Lane
WR Jesse Atkins - Albany State
KR Dondre Purnell - Stillman
K  Zach Holley - Albany State

First Team Defense
DL Grover Stewart - Albany State
DL Bryshon Jones - Miles
DL Gabriel Mass - Lane
DL Clarence Christian - Morehouse
LB Julantate English - Miles
LB Bre'Nard Williams - Clark Atlanta
LB LeRon Furr - Fort Valley State
DB Joe Beckham - Miles
DB Cameron Stallings - Stillman
DB Michael Robinson - Tuskegee
DB Robert Crosby - Stillman
P Austin Casillas - Clark Atlanta
PR Rodney Hall - Benedict

Second Team Offense
QB Demetrice Price - Miles
RB Montavious Taylor - Clark Atlanta
RB Phillip Moore - Albany State
OL Montell Collins - Miles
OL Shea Martin - Morehouse
OL Daniel Ford - Kentucky State
OL Brandon Baker - Fort Valley State
OL Michael Brown - Fort Valley State
TE Zach Thomas - Central State
WR Dondre Purnell - Stillman
WR Antonio Pitts - Miles
KR Darius Mitchell - Lane
K  Trevor Wylie - Tuskegee

Second Team Defense
DL Peter Dele - Stillman
DL Damien Goosby - Albany State
DL Benard Little - Fort Valley State
DL Justin Woods-West - Central State
LB Terry Horton - Kentucky State
LB El'Malik Chinn - Tuskegee
LB Larry Whitfield - Albany State
DB Dewayne Brown - Lane
DB Bryan Walker - Fort Valley State
DB Breon Issac - Fort Valley State
DB Tyrin Thurmon - Tuskegee
P  Ryan Latner - Albany State
PR Adrian Alexander - Albany State