BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama A&M University, Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M University took home the four major awards of the 2016 season, as the Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its postseason football awards in voting conducted by league head coaches and sports information directors. The conference made the announcement on Wednesday, just two days prior to its 2016 Toyota SWAC Football Championship on Saturday, Dec. 3, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Grambling State quarterback Devante Kincade was named Offensive Player of the Year, and fellow Tiger Donovan McCray secured Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Alabama A&M running back Jordan Bentley received the Freshman of the Year award, and Prairie View A&M’s Joshua Simmons landed the Newcomer of the Year award.
Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs took home his third-straight SWAC Coach of the Year award after leading the Tigers to a second-straight nine-win season as well as an unblemished record in conference play for the second-straight year. Under Fobbs, Grambling State currently stands as the only team in the nation (FCS) with a top-5 scoring offense and defense.
Grambling State picked up the most all-conference selections with 14. Southern was next with 10 selections. Both Grambling State and Southern each had an astounding nine players garner first-team consideration.
Kincade led Grambling State to a 9-1 overall record and a second-straight perfect record in conference play. The signal-caller for the Western Division champion ranks third in the FCS and first in the SWAC in passing efficiency (171.6) and is first in the conference in completion percentage (65.2), passing yards per game (263.3) and total offensive yards per game (290.4). Kincade boasted 28 touchdown passes to just three interceptions, and posted two games where he threw for at least 400 yards and five scores or better this season (Sept. 24 vs. Alcorn State, Oct. 29 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff).
McCray anchored the front four of a Tigers defensive unit that led the SWAC in most every statistical category and ranked fourth in FCS in points allowed (16.4), as well as ranked first nationally in red zone defense (.577). McCray made 28 total stops – 11.5 for loss -- with five sacks, three fumble recoveries, a blocked kick and a safety recorded.
Bentley was one of the Bulldogs’ brightest spots this season, as he rushed for 851 yards and notched 10 total scores (9 rush, 1 receiving). The Guntersville, Ala. native rushed for 100 yards or more three times this season and had himself a three-touchdown game against Texas Southern on Oct. 1 during a stretch where he found the end zone in four straight contests.
Simmons was used in a variety of roles for the Panthers, doing much of his damage as a receiver and return man. He posted 20 grabs for 240 yards and two scores – fourth-best on the team in each category – and racked up 434 return yards and one kick return touchdown. In all, Simmons accounted for more than 700 all-purpose yards and three total touchdowns.