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Jackson State

Jackson State football dominates SWAC honors

Jackson State took home plenty of SWAC football hardware, led by Deion Sanders and Shedeur Sanders.

JACKSON, Miss.– Jackson State football earned four major honors as 12 players were named to the all-conference team as the Southwestern Athletic Conference announced all-league honors Tuesday.

JSU QB Shedeur Sanders was named Offensive Player of the Year, LB Aubrey Miller Jr. was named Defensive Player of the Year, WR Kevin Coleman Jr. was named Freshman of the Year, and Deion ‘Coach Prime’ Sanders was named Coach of the Year.

S. Sanders and Miller were two of seven Jackson State players named first-team All-SWAC, along with RB Sy’Veon Wilkerson, OL Tyler Brown, WR Dallas Daniels, DE Nyles Gaddy, and S Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig.

A total of five Tigers earned second-team honors: WR Shane Hooks, TE D.J. Stevens, DE Justin Ragin, CB Isaiah Bolden, and K Alejandro Mata.

Sanders set single-season school records for touchdown passes (32) and completions (284) while throwing for 3,083 yards and rushing for a career-high five touchdowns. He set a career with 438 passing yards against Miss. Valley St. on September 24 and threw a career-high 5 TDs twice in games against Florida A&M (Sept. 4) and Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 15). 

This season, Sanders, a Walter Payton Award finalist as FCS Offensive Player of The Year, led Jackson State football to the first 11-0 record in program history. He has seven games with 3+ TD passes this season (2 3-TD games, 3 4-TD games, 2 5-TD games), and four 300-yard passing games this season. Sanders is the first JSU player to be named SWAC Player of the Year since WR Rico Richardson in 2012. 

Miller made 98 tackles (53 solo) with one sack, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four quarterback hits, five pass breakups, and one touchdown. Miller, a Buck Buchanan Award finalist as FCS Defensive Player of the Year, recorded eight+ tackles in a game seven times, including four 10+ tackle games. Miller tied a career-high with 19 tackles against Texas Southern (Nov. 5), made 17 tackles against Alabama A&M (Nov. 12), and 11 tackles at Alcorn (Nov. 19). Miller is the first JSU player to be named SWAC Defensive POY since LB Keonte Hampton in 2019. 

Coleman totaled 603 all-purpose yards this season. He caught 32 passes for 320 yards and one touchdown while averaging 25.3 yards on kickoff returns and 8.7 yards on punt returns. Coleman had three receptions of 20+ yards, and three kickoff returns of 30+ yards. This is the second straight year JSU has had the league’s Freshman of the Year, as Sanders won the award in 2021.

Coach Prime was named SWAC Coach of the Year for the second straight year after leading JSU football to its first 11-0 season in program history. The Tigers have the nation’s top-ranked defense in five categories and have held 10 teams to 14 points or less. In the last two seasons, Jackson State football is 22-2 overall, with consecutive undefeated seasons in Southwestern Athletic Conference play. 

Jackson State Sy'veon Wilkerson
Jackson State running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson has had a big season so far.

Wilkerson moved into starting lineup in the third game of the season and powered the JSU rushing attack to new heights, rushing for 1,039 yards on 197 carries (5.3 avg.) with eight touchdowns and catching 17 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown. His 1,000-yard rushing season is the 12th in school history and the first since 1999. Wilkerson’s career-high 214 yards rushing against Texas Southern was the sixth-highest single-game total in program history. 

Brown was the top lineman on an offense that leads the SWAC and ranks in the Top 15 in scoring offense (37.5 ppg / 8th FCS), passing offense (290.5 ypg / 10th FCS), and total offense (448.6 ypg / 14th FCS). The offense gained 400+ yards in a game eight times, including a pair of 600-yard games (638 yards vs. Miss. Valley; 608 yards vs. Grambling). 

Daniels has caught 54 passes for 632 yards and six touchdowns this season. Daniels ranks tied for second in the SWAC in receptions, second in receiving yards, and fourth in touchdowns. Among his top games this season, Daniels caught seven passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns against Grambling, followed by a 10-catch, 142-yard game against Mississippi Valley.

Gaddy recorded 33 tackles and ranked second on the team in both sacks (6.0) and tackles for loss (10.0), with two forced fumbles, three quarterback hits, and two pass breakups. Among his top games, Gaddy made six tackles with a career-high 3.5 sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss with two quarterback hits vs. Tennessee St., and recorded five tackles with one sack, two tackles for loss, and one forced fumble vs. Bethune-Cookman.

Silmon-Craig ranked second on the team with 55 tackles (34 solo), with 1.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery. He made a career-high 11 tackles twice (vs. Tennessee State with 1.5 tackles for loss; vs. Texas Southern), with seven solo tackles each game, and recorded six tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss vs. Alabama A&M.

Hooks caught 54 passes for 601 yards and eight touchdowns and is tied for second in the SWAC in receptions, third in receiving yards, and second in touchdowns. He caught five or more passes in game six times with three two-TD reception games (6 rec, 55 yards, 2 TDs vs. Florida A&M; 6-66-2 vs. Bethune-Cookman; 8-92-2 vs. Texas Southern).

Stevens caught 32 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns. He made a career-high six receptions for 31 yards against Bethune-Cookman, and caught touchdown passes in games against Campbell, Texas Southern, and Alabama A&M.

Ragin recorded 36 tackles and leads the team in sacks (8.5 / 5th SWAC) and tackles for loss (14.5 / 4th in SWAC) with three forced fumbles, one blocked kick, and one pass breakup. Ragin made five tackles, career-high 3.0 sacks, and career-high tying 3.5 tackles for loss with one forced fumble at Alcorn, and made career-high seven tackles, 1.0 sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss vs. Tennessee St.

Bolden recorded 38 tackles (25 solo) with 2.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, and five pass breakups while averaging 26.0 yards on kickoff returns. He made career-high nine tackles and had a 31-yard kickoff return vs. Alabama State and tallied five tackles and career-best three pass breakups vs. Alcorn.

Mata leads SWAC in extra points made (43) and attempted (44) and is tied for third in SWAC in field goals made (10) in 11 attempts to rank second in SWAC in scoring with 73 points. He scored 10+ points in a game four times, including making a career-high eight PATs with one field goal to score career-high 11 points against Florida A&M.

Jackson State will return to action Saturday in the SWAC Championship Game in Jackson at The Vet, hosting Southern at 3 p.m.

Jackson State football dominates SWAC honors
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