The field has been narrowed and only four finalists remain in the running for the inaugural Deacon Jones Trophy. The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced North Carolina Central’s Malcolm Bell, North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen, Grambling’s DeVante Kincade and Southern’s Lenard Tillery as finalists for the award.
Bell, a senior from Richmond, VA, earned first-team All-MEAC honors last month after leading his team to its third-straight conference title. He completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,191 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Kincade, Bell’s counterpart in the Celebration Bowl, is up for the award as well. The former Ole Miss quarterback has had a big year for Grambling. He’s thrown for 2,870 yards and 30 touchdowns to just three interceptions all season for the nationally-ranked, SWAC Champions.
The Grambling quarterback beat out Tillery for SWAC Offensive Player of The Year after a season that would have won the award most other years. The conference’s all-time leading rusher ran for a career-high 1,665 yards and 20 touchdowns to close out a standout career.
And last, but definitely not least, Cohen also put up career numbers in his final year of college football. The North Carolina A&T running back rushed for 1,558 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016, becoming the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher in the process and wrapping up his third-straight MEAC Offensive Player of They Year Award,
The award, named after the legendary NFL sack artist who played at South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley, will be given out on Feb. 25, 2017 during the induction to the latest class of the Hall of Fame.