Alcorn’s McNair and Harper, JSU’s Hampton earn SWAC honors

Published 5:33 pm Wednesday, December 4, 2019

LORMAN — Mississippi rules the roost when it comes to the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s postseason football awards.

Alcorn State quarterback Felix Harper and head coach Fred McNair were named the SWAC’s Offensive Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, on Wednesday.

Jackson State linebacker Keonte Hampton won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

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Harper took over as Alcorn’s starting quarterback in Week 3 for the injured Noah Johnson — last year’s Offensive Player of the Year — and threw for 2,387 yards and 29 touchdowns, with only five interceptions.

McNair won the Coach of the Year award for the second season in a row. He led the Braves to an 8-3 record and their sixth consecutive East Division championship. They’ll host Southern University in the SWAC championship game Saturday at 3 p.m.

Keonte Hampton

Before McNair won it in 2018, no Alcorn coach had won the Coach of the Year award since Cardell Jones in 1992.

Hampton, a sophomore, racked up 106 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

Hampton is the first Jackson State player to win the Defensive Player of the Year award since linebacker Marcellus Speaks in 2008.

Harper wasn’t the only one from Alcorn to get some accolades from the SWAC on Tuesday. The Braves had six players selected to the All-SWAC team. Harper, offensive lineman Michael Ajumobi, linebacker Solomon Muhammad and defensive back Qwynterrio Cole all made the first team. Offensive lineman Kevin Hall and kicker/punter Corey McCullough were on the second team.

Jackson State defensive lineman C.J. Anderson also made the All-SWAC first team, while offensive lineman Cedric Dunbar was on the second team.

Mississippi Valley State linebacker Tracy Thompkins was on the All-SWAC first team as well. Defensive lineman Jerry Garner and defensive back Jonathan Jones made the second team.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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