From Southern University
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Southern's Virgil WIlliams earned first team All-SWAC honors at two positions joining teammates wide receiver Lee Doss and linebacker Anthony Balancier as the preseason conference teams and predicted order of finish were announced at SWAC Football Media Day.
Senior quarterback Dray Joseph returns as a member of the All-SWAC second team after finishing 2012 in the same spot and is joined by defensive end Arthur Miley.
Southern was selected to finish behind defending SWAC champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the western division followed by Prairie View, Grambling and Texas Southern.
The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2013 SWAC Preseason Teams with University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff quarterback, Ben Anderson, and Jackson State University defensive back, Qua Cox, spotlighting the honors.
In a vote by the league's football head coaches, sports information directors and select members of the media, Anderson was named SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year with Cox tabbed as the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Both student-athletes join 49 players that total this year's preseason squads. All 10 member institutions were represented on this year's team.
Defending champion, UAPB, led the way with 11 selections including nine voted to the first team. Alabama State, Jackson State, and Prairie View A&M had seven picks apiece. ASU and PVAMU tallied three players on the first team with JSU posting two.
Alabama A&M and Southern each recorded five picks with SU finishing the tally with three players making the first team. Rounding out the selections include: Mississippi Valley with four players, registering two on the top team. Alcorn State, Grambling State and Texas southern posted one player apiece on the second team.
Anderson finished last season on the All-SWAC First Team before leading the Golden Lions to their first-outright SWAC Championship crown since sharing the title in 1966. He was named Offensive MVP of the 2012 Toyota SWAC Football Championship after lifting UAPB to a 24-21 overtime win over Jackson State.
He helped the Golden Lions claim a West Division title on their way to a 10-2 record, the most wins in the program's history. With Anderson, UAPB captured the HSRN Conway Cup and the network's National Championship title. The Golden Lions were also named Black College National Champions by the American Sports Wire.
Anderson completed the season with 2,346 passing yards and 16 touchdowns finishing second in SWAC. He rushed for 524 yards and recorded five touchdowns on the ground. He led UAPB in total offense (2,870) while finishing second in the league in the category.
Anderson is joined on the preseason first-team offense with running backs Isaiah Crowell (Alabama State) and Justin Billings (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), wide receivers Lee Doss (Southern) and LaDarius Eckwood (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), tight end Dezmond Beverly (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), along with offensive linemen Kenny Eagle (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Damien Love (Alabama State), Tre Glover (Prairie View A&M), Dillon Bonnet (Prairie View A&M) and Edmund Davis (Alabama State).
Last year, Cox led the SWAC with five interceptions leading JSU (7-5) for a consecutive season. He helped the Tigers pick up five consecutive wins to close the regular season en route to winning the Eastern Division with an appearance in the SWAC Football Championship. Cox led the JSU defensive backs with eight pass break-ups and 13 passes defended.
He closed the year with 50 tackles (36 solo) including five for a loss and two sacks on a defensive unit that led the league in sacks with 43. He was named to the All-SWAC First Team at the end of the regular season. For the preseason, Cox was placed on the watch lists for the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) and The Sports Network (TSN). He was also named a TSN FCS preseason All-American and selected to the network's Buck Buchanan Award watch list.
Along with Cox, the preseason first-team defense includes: defensive linemen Robert Simpson (Mississippi Valley State), Damien Lee (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Teddrick Terrell (Jackson State), and DeMarcus Berry (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), linebackers Jer-Ryan Harris (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Jerome Harris (Prairie View A&M), and Anthony Balancier (Southern) with defensive backs Ryan Shaw (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Kevin Eugene (Mississippi Valley State) and Virgil Williams (Southern) closing out the ranks.
For the special teams, Williams (Southern) and Bobby Wenzig (Alabama State) spotlighted the selections. Wenzig topped the votes to garner the first-team place kicker and punter slots. Williams added to his first team defensive back selection receiving the votes for the return specialist.
For the predicted order of finish in both divisions, Arkansas-Pine Bluff totaled 105 points, including 14 first-place votes, to become the favorite out of the West Division. Southern followed with 88 points, Prairie View A&M gathered 83 points, with Grambling State (51) and Texas Southern (38) closing the division's preseason ranking.
In the East Division, Alabama State claimed 108 points with 15 first-place votes. Jackson State received 102 points followed by Alabama A&M (60), Mississippi Valley State (51) and Alcorn State (40).
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Ben Anderson (QB) - Arkansas - Pine
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Qua Cox (DB) - Jackson State