Big season projected for Miles College in SIAC

Alabama

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Miles College quarterback Daniel Smith was selected to the preseason All-SIAC second team. (Miles College)

By Donald Hunt

For The Birmingham Times

This could be another big year for the football program at Miles College. The Golden Bears are the defending Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) champions.

Miles College has some terrific players returning from last year’s team. The Golden Bears will be able to showcase their talent when they head to Fort Valley State on Saturday, Sept. 7. The kickoff is set for 5 p.m.

On offense, Miles College should have a great passing combination with quarterback Daniel Smith and wide receiver Leonard Tyree. Smith was selected to the preseason All-SIAC second team. The 6-1, 205-pound senior, completed 162 of 288 passes for 2,217 yards with 19 touchdown and seven interceptions.

Tyree, a 5-10, 170-pound redshirt senior, had 55 receptions for 632 yards and nine TDs last season. The Golden Bears’ passing game has big play potential. If Miles College can move the football and put points on the scoreboard, that should really help the defense.

Defensively, linebacker Austin Stephens who was chosen as the preseason SIAC Defensive Player of the Year, will be a key player for the Golden Bears. Stephens, a 5-11, 210-pound senior, led the SIAC in total tackles with 120 last year.

In addition to Stephens, defensive lineman Jaylun Thomas and cornerback Kendrell Walker help fortify the Miles defense. Thomas, a 6-0, 250-pound senior, had 41 total and 21 solo tackles along with three sacks last season. Walker, a 5-10, 160-pound redshirt senior, was the team’s seconding leader tackler. He had 51 total and 29 solo tackles last year.

In the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical got off to an exciting start defeating Morehouse, 35-30, in the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic. Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass tossed a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brian Jenkins Jr. in the final seconds to give the Bulldogs a spectacular come from behind win.

Alabama A&M under head coach Connell Maynor could be one of the teams to watch in the SWAC. Glass, a 6-5, 215-poud junior, is a great signal caller. He completed 28-of-44 passes for 397 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in the win over Morehouse. Jenkins, a 5-8, 160—pound sophomore, had 12 receptions for 120 yards including the game-winning 20-yard TD catch.

Alabama A&M (1-0) will entertain Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-1) in the annual Lewis Crews Classic on Saturday, Sept. 7. The kickoff will be at 6 p.m.

In other action from the SWAC, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) edged Alabama State, 24-19, in its season opener. The Hornets had some bright spots in a losing effort.

It looks like Alabama State could have a strong running game this season. Hornets redshirt sophomore running back Duran Bell was the team’s leading rusher with a career-high 112 yards on 10 rushing attempts, which included a 67-yard TD run. Another standout was freshman cornerback Irshaad Davis who led the defense with seven tackles and two forced fumbles.

Alabama State (0-1) will host Tuskegee (0-0) in the Labor Day Classic at ASU Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7. The kickoff will be at 5 p.m.

SWAC Schedule Sept. 7, 2019

Prairie View A&M at University of Houston, 7 p.m. Houston, TX

Jackson State at University of South Alabama, 6 p.m. Mobile, Ala.

Southern at Memphis, 11 a.m. Memphis, TN

Tuskegee at Alabama State, 5 p.m. Montgomery, Ala.

Texas Southern at Incarnate Word, 6 p.m. San Antonio, TX

Mississippi Valley State at Lamar University, 6 p.m. Beaumont, TX

Mississippi College at Alcorn State, 6 p.m. Lorman, Miss.

SIAC Schedule Sept. 7, 2019        

Tuskegee at Alabama State, 5 p.m. Montgomery, Ala.

Miles College at Fort Valley State, 5 p.m. Fort Valley, Ga.

Kentucky State at Robert Morris University, 1 p.m. Moon Township, Pa.

Quincy University at Central State, 1 p.m. Wilberforce, Ohio

Lane College at South Carolina State, 4 p.m. Savannah, Ga.

Florida Tech at Savannah State, 6 p.m. Savannah, Ga.

Morehouse at Edward Waters, 7 p.m. Jacksonville, Fla.

Livingstone College at Clark Atlanta, 7 p.m. Atlanta, Ga.

Valdosta State at Albany State, 7 p.m. Albany, Ga.

Benedict at Fayetteville State, 8 p.m. Fayetteville, N.C.

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