A total of seven Alabama State Football Hornets were named to the 2011 Southwestern Athletic Conference Preseason All-Conference team Tuesday during Media Day.
The defending Eastern Division Champions had four players named First-Team Preseason All-SWAC. FS Kejuan Riley, DL Kynjee Cotton, WR Nick Andrews and OL Terren Jones garnered accolades among the league's best.
"I think it's outstanding," fifth-year head football coach Reggie Barlow said. "However, I'm one of those guys that wants 10 or 11 on the team. I'm happy for these guys. The preseason awards are good. It should be a motivation, so at the end of the season, we should have seven or more on there. I think it tributes to good recruiting and our coaches have done a good job over the past couple of years."
Riley earned first-team All-SWAC honors and second-team All-America Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) honors last season. The junior from Wetumpka, Ala. made seven interceptions a year ago to rank second in the SWAC and tie for the second highest total in the nation.
"It's a great accomplishment," the soft-spoken Riley said. "I put God first and I always want to thank Him. I accomplished this because of my teammates. They really helped me, along with Defensive Coordinator Cedric Thornton, to put me in position to make plays. I thank Coach Barlow for allowing me to be a Hornet."
Andrews earned second-team All-SWAC accolades 2009 and is ranked among career leaders in Hornet history in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
"It's a blessing to be considered first team All-SWAC," Andrews said. "I want to give thanks to my teammates for making it possible for me, the offensive line was huge for us and the quarterbacks for getting me the ball. I want to thank God for giving me the talent to get this honor."
A trio of Hornets earned second-team honors - WR T.C. McWilliams, LB Demarques Taylor and DB Donovan Masline.
"It just shows the hard work and dedication that we have at Alabama State," Andrews said. "The guys are really buying into the system and working very hard."
Despite having seven players earn conference preseason honors as well as being defending division champions, the Hornets were predicted to finish third in the Eastern Division. Jackson State and Alcorn State were picked ahead of Alabama State.
"It's always a challenge," Barlow said of the SWAC in which ASU was predicted to finish fifth in the East but won the division title. "Jackson State has some good players coming back, as do the other teams in our division. Until we can consistently win and dominate and consistently get in the SWAC Championship Game, they will always pick us low. However, the games still have to be played and we'll take where we are and go to work and hopefully be number one at the end."