This is the second in a series examining the top players at each position for HBCU schools and conferences. Today we’re taking a look at the top returning quarterbacks in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Tomorrow, we will take a look at the CIAA.
After two seasons of inconsistent playing time, Joseph finally assumed control of the reigns of Southern’s offense in 2013. And boy, did he ever. The 6’1 Edgar, La native led the SWAC in completions (210), yards (2,511) and touchdowns (25) while throwing just seven interceptions. Joseph got better as the season went along, tossing five touchdowns in the Bayou Classic against rival Grambling State. With last season’s leading reciever Lee Doss returning for another year and the addition of ESPN Four-Star recruit Chuck Baker, it could be another long year for pass defenses in the SWAC.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsBen Anderson, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
How do you improve on a Freshman of The Year season? If you’re Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Ben Anderson, you increase your numbers, lead your team to the SWAC Championship Game and throw a game-altering 95-yard touchdown pass to lead your team to its first championship game win ever. This year Anderson won’t have Terron Armstead protecting his blindside, but Anderson has plenty of mobility (524 yards rushing, four touchdowns in 2012). He will have his top two receivers from 2012 back in LaDarius Eckwood and Dezmond Beverly.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsDe’Auntre Smiley, Prairie View A&M
Despite coming into his freshman season as a heralded recruit, De’Auntre Smiley has spent the past two seasons splitting time with Jerry Lovelocke. When he was under center, Smiley was deadly efficiency, completing a sizzling 67 percent of his passes and throwing just eight interceptions in nine games. His dead-eye passing and quick feet (6.1 yards per rush, three touchdowns) make him a nightmare for defensive coordinators. He will be without both of his leading receivers from last season, but help is on the way in the form of Zach Hoppenworth-Pedersen, a 6’6 JUCO transfer set to play wideout for Prairie View. Be afraid, be very afraid!
Clayton Moore came to Jackson State in July 2012 as a journeyman quarterback, and by December he had Jackson State in the SWAC Championship Game for the first time since 2008. Moore’s previous experience included walking on at Ole Miss, and playing stints at both a JUCO and Akron before returning to Jackson. Moore threw for 1,705 yards and ten touchdowns in his debut Tiger season. It will be hard to replace the production that Rico Richardson provided Moore (1,087 yards, 10 touchdowns) but a full year working with other receivers should keep passing defenses honest.
Jerry Lovelocke, Prairie View A&M
He doesn’t have the gaudy stats as a result of splitting carries with Smiley, but Jerry Lovelocke is definitely one of the better passers in the conference. The 6’5 Baltimore native completed 65 percent of his passes, though his touchdown to interception ration was worse in 2012 (5-4) than it was as a redshirt-freshman in 2011 (10-4). Still, Lovelocke has shown the talent to be a solid starter in the SWAC.
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Virginia State knocks off Bowie State in a homecoming shootout.