UAPB wide receiver Miller named SWAC Freshman of the Year

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2018 All-Conference Teams on Thursday with 12 players from the SWAC East Division champions Alcorn State being tabbed for the most individual honors.

The teams were announced two days prior to the 2018 Toyota SWAC Football Championship at Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium on the campus of Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss., after ballots were cast by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

48 players were named to this year’s All-Conference teams. Players were ranked in their position based upon the number of votes received. Ballots required voters to rank their selections in order. After helping lead the Braves to a conference-best eight-win season, Alcorn State quarterback Noah Johnson was the voters’ choice for the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year award. Following up on his Preseason All-SWAC First team nod, Johnson delivered as the redshirt junior completed a conference best 63.4 percent of his passes (168-of-265) and threw for 1,944 yards with 15 touchdowns against eight interceptions. The Tampa, Fla. native also held the top passing efficiency with a rating of 137.7. Additionally, Johnson thrived as a dual threat by accounting for the fifth highest total of rushing yards in the conference with 813 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns. He was second in the SWAC in total yards of offense with 2,757.

De’Arius Christmas was tabbed as the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season after he racked up 55 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown and two forced fumbles. The senior linebacker from Vicksburg, Miss. also recorded seven quarterback hits and blocked a kick on the season.

Alcorn State redshirt junior transfer De’Shawn Waller was named the SWAC Newcomer of the Year after the running back ranked fourth in the conference in rushing yards with 871 and was also tied for second in the SWAC in rushing touchdowns with nine and was ranked second in average rushing yards per contest with 108.9. The Atlanta, Ga. native had transferred from Hutchinson Community College in the offseason.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff wide receiver DeJuan Miller was named the SWAC Freshman of the Year after ranking tied for first in the conference in receptions with 56, third in receiving yardage with 801, and was tied for second in receiving touchdowns with six. The Belle Glade, Fla., native was also third in receiving yards per game with 72.8 and was second in receptions per contest with 5.1. During one stretch, Miller eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark three consecutive weeks and recorded a season-high 10 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns versus Grambling State on Oct. 27.

“It really says a lot of what other coaches think of him,” said UAPB Head Coach Cedric Thomas. “Coach Gayles did a great job of getting DeJuan to come to UAPB without seeing the campus. When our star wideout Josh Wilkes went down early in the season, DeJuan put the offense on his back in terms of receiving. We are excited about his growth and maturation as it relates to our program. I can’t say enough about our coaching staff and DeJuan for achieving those goals.”

Fred McNair was dubbed the SWAC Coach of the Year after leading the Braves to a fifth straight SWAC East Division crown. Alcorn State was first in points allowed per game (20.6), boosted the conference’s best run stopping defense (allowed 93.2 yards per game), tied for second most interceptions (12), most sacks (45) and limited opponents to the least amount of first downs per game (15.9). On offense, Alcorn State was ranked second in the conference in points per game (33.2), first in total average yards of offense (471.3) and was first in rushing yards per game (274.3).

Prairie View A&M had the second most total amount of selections on the teams with nine (seven on Second Team), Arkansas-Pine Bluff followed with seven selections (five on First Team) while Alabama A&M and Alabama State each had five choices apiece named to the teams. The Bulldogs had two players named to First Team and the Hornets had one player honored with a First Team slot.

Grambling State had five student-athletes chosen to the teams including two on First Team. Southern, Texas Southern, Mississippi Valley State and Jackson State all had two selections each with one First team player apiece.

There were two players who received multiple team selections in kicker/punter Jamie Gillan (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) and Mississippi Valley State wide receiver/return specialist Booker Chambers. Gillan was voted on as both the First Team kicker and punter while Chambers was named to the First Team as a return specialist and was awarded Second Team honors in the wide receiver position.

“To watch him for four years in this league, to see the consistency and overall development of that kid, and him getting all-conference honors year in and year out has been great.” said Coach Thomas. “I really think he has a shot on the next level. We really hope he gets a chance to show his leg off on a bigger scale.”

Coach Thomas also mentioned just how important junior running back Taeyler Porter has been to his program. The First Team All-SWAC running back led the SWAC in both total rushing yards (1,220) and average rushing yards per game (122.0). Porter finished second in total rushing touchdowns with nine and had a breakout game with 226 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns against Grambling.

“Taeyler embodies everything we stand for,” said Coach Thomas. “He runs hard, and I think pound for pound he is one of the best running backs I have ever dealt with. We are super proud of him and he is definitely the face of our program.”

Offensive Player of the Year: Noah Johnson (QB) – Alcorn State
Defensive Player of the Year: De’Arius Christmas (LB) – Grambling State
Newcomer of the Year: De’Shawn Waller (RB) – Alcorn State
Freshman of the Year: Dejuan Miller (WR) – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Coach of the Year: Fred McNair – Alcorn State

2018 All-SWAC Football Team

First Team
QB Noah Johnson Alcorn State
RB Taeyler Porter Arkansas-Pine Bluff
RB De’Shawn Waller Alcorn State
OL Chris McCrea Alcorn State
OL Tytus Howard Alabama State
OL Mustaffa Ibrahim Alcorn State
OL Jodeci Harris Southern
OL Kevin Hall Alcorn State
WR Bobby Hartzog Texas Southern
WR DeJuan Miller Arkansas-Pine Bluff
TE Zarrian Holcombe Prairie View A&M
First Team
DL Terry Whittington Alcorn State
DL Sterling Shippy Alcorn State
DL Jalen Steward Arkansas-Pine Bluff
DL Yurik Bethune Alabama A&M
LB De’Arius Christmas Grambling State
LB Armoni Holloway Alabama A&M
LB Solomon Muhammad Alcorn State
DB Javen Morrison Alcorn State
DB Qynnterrio Cole Alcorn State
DB Joseph McWilliams Grambling State
DB Ju’Anthony Parker Prairie View A&M
First Team
Special Teams
K Jamie Gillan Arkansas-Pine Bluff
P Jamie Gillan Arkansas-Pine Bluff
RS Booker Chambers Miss. Valley State
Second Team
QB Aqeel Glass Alabama A&M
RB Dawonya Tucker Prairie View A&M
RB Trevon Walters Alabama A&M
OL Christian Rice Prairie View A&M
OL David Aduo Arkansas-Pine Bluff
OL Deonte Brooks Alcorn State
OL DeJohn Jones Prairie View A&M
OL Jaylon Brinson Southern
WR Booker Chambers Miss. Valley State
WR Tristan Wallace Prairie View A&M
TE Jaquaveon Boles Alcorn State
Second Team
DL Quinton Bell Prairie View A&M
DL Willie Green Prairie View A&M
DL Anferenee Mullins Grambling State
DL Malik Hamner Jackson State
LB Darron Johnson Alabama State
LB Je’Kevin Carter Arkansas-Pine Bluff
LB Sean Jones Texas Southern
DB Percy Cargo Grambling State
DB Will Skinner Prairie View A&M
DB Joseph McWilliams Grambling State
DB Dylan Hamilton Alabama A&M
DB Kurron Ramsey Alabama State
Second Team
Special Teams
K Christian Jacquemin Jackson State
P Anthony Craven Alabama State
RS Ezra Gray Alabama State


courtesy of www.swac.org