The SWAC often gets titled as the conference of the quarterback and wide receivers. The offenses in the conference are known to be high flying and capable of generating a lot of points. The running back position in the conference sometimes gets forgotten about but to forget about the ball carriers who have cut their teeth in the SWAC would be a mistake.
One of the best backs to ever play the game of football Walter Payton was magical at Jackson State rushing for more than 3,500 yards in his career as a Tiger. Another Tiger by the name of Destry Wright assaulted the school and conference record books in the late 90s, rushing for 4,020 in three seasons and becoming the SWAC’s all-time leading rusher until a young man by the name of Lenard Tillery from Southern University left his
own mark. Tillery came to Southern as a walk-on but left as the school’s all-time leading rusher and the conference’s all-time leading rusher with 4,856 yards rushing and 45 touchdowns over his career.
Over the years the SWAC has produced running backs like Isaiah Crowell of Alabama State, Frank Warren of Grambling, Brad Baxter of Alabama State, and so many more. This year the league will boast another talented crop of running backs. Let’s take a look at the top 5 running backs in the SWAC for 2019.
No. 3: Prairie View A&M’s Dawonya Tucker
They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Dawonya Tucker listed at only 5’6 and 165 pounds but he plays a big game. Last year Tucker exploded onto the scene rushing for 542 yards and 3 touchdowns in Prairie View’s first three games. For the month of September a season ago Tucker was the nation’s leading rusher and looked like the odds on favorite to be the SWAC Offensive Player of The Year but when the calendar flipped to October, Tucker and the Panthers came crashing back down to Earth.
Tucker would only eclipse 70 yards or more rushing yards in a game once in the months of October and November. He finished 2018 with 1096 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the ground. He also added 26 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdown receptions. Tucker is back for his senior season and he and the Panthers are off to prove that they are to be taken seriously. If Prairie View is to contend for a conference title, Tucker has to be the back that he was in the first half of the season a year ago. Despite being a smaller back, Tucker has displayed the vision and toughness to run between the tackles and the physicality to finish runs.
Since arriving at Prairie View from Terrell Texas, Tucker has been Mr. Big Play for the Panthers. As a freshman in 2016, he ran for 406 yards and four touchdowns with only 83 rushing attempts for the season. In 2017 he followed that up with 485 yards and 5 touchdowns with only 89 carries during the season. Outside of just running the football, Tucker is a threat in the passing game and the return game.
He has already rushed for 1921 yards, 15 touchdowns, and averages 5.9 yards per carry in his career. When you add what he does in the return game and passing game, Tucker has 2703 total yards in his career and he still has his upcoming senior season to add to add to already impressive totals.
There may be running backs in the conference that are more physically imposing than Dawonya Tucker but you’d be hard pressed to find too many with his overall skillset.