Week One of the 2019 college football season in the books and the race for the most prestigious honor in Black College Football, the Jones Trophy, is underway. Based upon what has happened last weekend, my leaderboard of candidates is complete and two of my current favorites were not on the award’s official watch list that was released in August.
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For those unfamiliar with the award, The Deacon Jones Trophy is awarded annually, in February, to the most outstanding football player from the Historically Black College & University (HBCU) from both the FCS and Division II levels. The award was created in 2016 by the Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) and named after Pro Football Hall of Famer Deacon Jones, who attended South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley State from 1958 to 1960. Past winners of the award are North Carolina A&T alum and current Chicago Bear running back Tarik Cohen (2016) and former Bowie State quarterback Amir Hall (2017 and 2018). Every week, I will release a stock watch of my top five candidates for the Black College Football Player of the Year, along with a list of players who were up for consideration. Let’s look at my first list and their opponents for this weekend.
The players who were not on the original watch list will be in italics.
1. Dawonya Tucker, Senior, Running Back, Prairie View A&M Week One Stats: 298 All-Purpose Yards (11 carries, 188 yds) 3 TDs Next Game: at Houston 2019 is starting like 2018 for Dawonya. Last season, the running back averaged 180 yards rushing in his first three games. Unlike last year, Tucker is now a threat returning punts, equaling his return output from last season in just one game in 2019. Combine his efforts against Texas Southern at The Labor Day Classic, which includes three touchdowns, and you’ll get this week’s SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and my current frontrunner for the Jones Trophy.
2. Aqeel Glass, Junior, Quarterback, Alabama A&M Week One Stats: 397 pass yds, 4TDs ,2 Ints Next Game: vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff If you missed the inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic this past Sunday, you missed a great game. Glass completed 28 of 44 passes, including a 20-yarder to wide receiver Brian Jenkins Jr. with 3 seconds to play as Alabama A&M topped Morehouse, 35-30 Being responsible for four of A&M’s five touchdowns, you would assume that Glass would have the top spot but his two interceptions, in consecutive possessions, led to the Maroon Tigers scoring 14 points.
3. Jalen Morton, Senior, Quarterback, Prairie View A&M Week One Stats: 350 pass yds, 2 TDs, Int Next Game: at Houston Welp, Jalen Morton has not (and will not) lose a Labor Day Classic, with Prairie View winning it’s fifth-straight over Texas Southern. The quarterback tallied 350 yards passing and two touchdowns, both in the third quarter, pushing the Panthers to win 13 of their last 16 meetings against TSU.
4. Jermaine McDaniel, Sophomore, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina A&T Week One Stats: 8 Total Tackles (4 Solo), 3 Sacks Next Game: at Duke The running game, kicking game and defense. These are the stalwarts to Aggies head coach Sam Washington’s coaching philosophy. All three were needed in A&T’s 24-21 win over Elon. K Noel Ruiz’s 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation may be the most memorable moment but DL Jermaine McDaniel’s eight tackles and three sacks was huge enough to have him named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week and earn a spot in my Top 5.
5. Tony Mullins, Junior, Wide Receiver, Prairie View A&M Week One Stats: 6 catches, 141 yds, TD Next Game: at Houston Someone had to be on the receiving end of Jalen Morton’s 350 passing yards, and Tony Mullins was on the end of the lion’s share of them. The junior wide out led the Panthers in receptions and receiving yards in Prairie View’s 44-23 win over TSU.
Players to keep an eye on: Quarterbacks Cameron Rosendahl, Tennessee State: 339 Yds Total Off, 2TDs DeAndre Johnson, Texas Southern: 259yds, 2 TDs, Int Juwan Carter, Norfolk State: 250 Yds Tot Off, 3TDs, 2Ints Tyrece Nick, South Carolina State: 241 Yds Tot Off, 2TDs, Int Running Backs Santo Dunn, Morehouse: 122 All-Purpose Yards, 2TDs Shai McKenzie, Hampton: 9 carries, 121yds, 2TDs Duran Bell, Alabama State: 10 carries, 112yds, TD Frank Bailey, Morehouse: 112 All-Purpose Yards, TD Wide Receivers Chris Rowland, Tennessee State: 11rec, 172yds, TD Brian Jenkins, Alabama A&M: 12rec, 120yds, TD Zabrian Moore, Alabama A&M: 6rec, 117yds, TD De'Montrez Burroughs, South Carolina State: 4rec, 102yds, TD Hunter Register, Southern: 4rec, 82yds, 2TDs DD Bowie, Jackson State: 5rec, 105 Shaquan Davis, South Carolina State: 5rec, 91 Defensive Players Kolby Watts, Line Backer, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 10 Total Tackles (9 solo), Sack Tre'Shaud Smith, Line Backer, Prairie View: 12 Total Tackles (8 solo), Sack Dan Fields, Line Backer, Grambling State: 16 Total Tackles (7 solo), Int Ian McBorrough (MOR): 15 Total Tackles (5 solo) Rico Kennedy (MOR): 14 Total Tackles (4 solo)