Football season is still months away, but there’s no better time than now to get prepared for the upcoming season. So we’re kicking off our summer Top Five series, highlighting the best players at their positions across HBCU football.
This list is based on production from 2013 as well as other factors that could push one player over the edge or hold them back. Feel free to share the list with others and leave us your top five. Let the games begin.
1. Ben Anderson, UAPB– Anderson and his teammates entered the 2013 riding high as defending SWAC champs and a squad full of returnees. But eligibility and injury issues ended any chance of a repeat for the Golden Lions. Anderson was a bright spot, however, throwing for 2,787 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior without many of his favorite targets in the lineup. He also led UAPB in rushing, running for over 800 yards and nine touchdowns. All signs point to him having another big year with targets like Willie Young back in the fold.
|(Houston Chronicle photo)|
2. Jerry Lovelocke, Prairie View A&M -The Baltimore native began the 2013 season as he had the previous one, sharing reps with De’Auntre Smiley. He quickly emerged as the primary signal-caller for Prairie View which remained in the race for the SWAC West for much of the season. His best game came against Stephen F. Austin where he combined for seven touchdowns (four in the air and three on the ground) while giving Prairie View one of its biggest non-conference wins ever. On the season he threw for nearly 2,900 yards and 23 touchdowns while running for nine more and throwing just nine interceptions despite throwing almost 500 passes. Look for Lovelocke to have a good season and attempt to impress pro scouts.
3. John Gibbs, Alcorn State– Much like his team, Alcorn State’s John Gibbs burst onto the scene out of nowhere in 2013. The 6’6, 193 lb Houston native took a big jump as a sophomore, directing the reigns of the the second-highest scoring offense in the SWAC for a squad that beat both the SWAC champs (Southern) and runners-up (Jackson State). With defenses trying to stop stud running back Arnold Walker, Gibbs managed to throw compete 57 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while rushing for over 450 yards. The challenge for Gibbs will be to continue to improve despite Walker’s absence. If he does that, the rest of the SWAC might be in trouble.
|(Montgomery Advertiser photo)|
4. Daniel Duhart, Alabama State-Like Gibbs, Duhart put together an impressive sophomore season in 2013. Duhart threw for 18 touchdowns to just eight interceptions last season for ASU. He also benefited from having a star in the backfield in running back Isaiah Crowell, but he has another good one coming back in Malcolm Cyrus.
|(The Advertiser Photo)|
5. Jonathan Williams, Grambling State-The answer at quarterback for Grambling was supposed to be named Williams, but not this one. The G-Men didn’t have many bright spots in 2013, but the play of Williams down the stretch gave them hope for a better 2014.