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Southwestern Athletic Conference announces its 2014 All-SWAC football teams

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 12/18/2014, 7:46 a.m.
The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2014 all-conference teams Friday and saw the big winners spread across the league with ...
Jerome R. Howard, #40, Prairie View A&M Prairie View A&M

Special to The Dallas Examiner

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2014 all-conference teams Friday and saw the big winners spread across the league with two co-players of the year. First year Grambling State University head coach Broderick Fobbs was named Coach of the Year.

Malcolm Cyrus of Alabama State University and John Gibbs, Jr. from Alcorn State University shared co-offensive player of the year honors. Texas Southern’s Darian Claibourne, and Mississippi Valley State’s Quantavius Peterson shared newcomer of the year. Prairie View A&M University’s Jerome Howard earned the defensive player of the year award, and western division champion Southern University’s quarterback Austin Howard was named freshman of the year.

Cyrus led the SWAC and finished third in the nation with 1,662 yards rushing, scoring 12 touchdowns. The senior also caught 28 passes for another 380 yards and a score. After clocking an additional 34 yards in kick returns, Cyrus finished with over 2,000 all-purpose yards, fourth best in the nation.

Gibbs led the Braves to an eastern division title and the team’s first berth to the conference championship game. He completed 169-of-294 passes for a total of 2,237 yards, 18 touchdowns and has been intercepted only six times. His dominance in the air was only matched by his ability to leave the pocket as he grabbed a career-high 874 yards this season and another 11 touchdowns. He ranks third in the league in passing efficiency.

Howard led all defensive players averaging 11.8 tackles per game. He finished fifth national in total tackles with 118, second in the league. The linebacker is also ranked top 10 in the SWAC for tackles for loss and sacks. He earned 10-plus tackles in eight of the team’s 10 games. The preseason All-SWAC first teamer has also earned College Football Performance Award weekly honors this season.

Claiborne stepped up in the Tigers front seven and immediately began to make an impact. He led with a team-high 77 tackles. He had five tackles for loss and also grabbed an interception this season. Peterson, who has earned SWAC newcomer of the week honors, finished the year with 874 passing yards and six touchdowns. The quarterback also rushed 297 yards and five touchdowns.

Howard led the Jaguars to their second consecutive SWAC Championship appearance as a true freshman. He has thrown for over 2,100 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. Howard passed for over 200 yards in five games and closed out the regular season with four rushing touchdowns.

CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Malcolm Cyrus (Alabama State)

John Gibbs, Jr. (Alcorn State)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jerome Howard (Prairie View A&M)

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Darian Claibourne (Texas Southern)

Quantavius Peterson (Mississippi Valley State)

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Austin Howard (Southern)

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB – John Gibbs, Jr. – Alcorn State

RB – Malcolm Cyrus – Alabama State

RB – Johntá Hebert – Prairie View A&M

OL – DeWayne Houston – Southern

OL – Zach Brown – Southern

OL – Isaac Sampson – Alcorn State