HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Alcorn State.
ALCORN STATE (7-5 IN 2017)
The SWAC (Alcorn won SWAC East in 2017)
COACH: Fred McNair – 3rd year (12-11 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 31.0 ppg. (26th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 21.8 ppg. (31st in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Alcorn State has won four straight SWAC East titles and will be the favorite to do it again. The Braves return 8 full-time starters from last year's team, but also several other players with a lot of experience — and certainly talent is abundant. This is a balanced program that ranked among the nation's best in the FCS in both offensive and defensive production. The offense lost some impressive skill talent like RB De'Lance Turner and WR Norlando Veals, so that will be something to keep an eye on. But don't forget — this program is a traditional winner.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Braves have two FBS opponents on the schedule and face the best three SWAC West opponents from 2017 – Grambling, Southern and Prairie View. The path back to 7 wins won't be easy, a ceiling so to speak — and that is considering the program may be as strong as last year. The schedule is just much tougher.
TOP RETURNEE: RB P.J. Simmons (687 yards, 7 TDs).
THE NEXT BEST: QB Noah Johnson (1,000+ total yards, 10 total TDs); OL Mustaffa Ibrahim (2nd team All SWAC); PK Corey McCullough (17 FGs – 2nd team All SWAC); LB Trae Ferrell (2nd team All SWAC); DB Brady Smith (55 tackles, 7 PBU).
TOP NEWCOMER: WR Chris Blair (JUCO transfer with Mississippi State offer)
DID YOU KNOW?: In 1994, former Alcorn State QB Steve "Air" McNair not only won I-AA's Walter Payton Award for being the top player at this level, he also finished in third place for the Heisman Trophy — tied for the best finished for an I-AA/FCS player with Holy Cross' Gordie Lockbaum (1987).
THE QUOTE: "I'm looking forward to the upcoming season. We start out against a very tough Georgia Tech team. We've played them before, and we'll be able to see where we're at early on. The seven game conference schedule is similar to last season, except with there not being a conference championship game this year it makes each regular season game that much more important. We can't take any weeks off and have to play every game like it's the championship." – Alcorn coach Fred McNair said this spring.
“Heaven must be like this, heaven must be like this. It must be like this, it must be like this.”
On the Reservation supporting our Alcorn State Football Braves, QB #13 @Noahj_12 Noah Johnson. #FearTheBrave!#Woooooooo! pic.twitter.com/0kYqwqKjQs
— Tell Em Rankin (@TellemRankin) June 9, 2018