GSU lands four on All-SWAC Preseason Team 

Sundiata Anderson (GSU Courtesy Photo)

Courtesy of GSU Athletic Communications

The Grambling State University football team placed four members on the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Preseason teams, which was announced by the league office on Thursday morning during Media Day at the Sheridan-Birmingham hotel. In addition, the Tigers were predicted to finish fourth in the SWAC West Division. 

Grambling State defensive lineman Sundiata Anderson was named to the All-SWAC Preseason First Team, while linebacker Blake Thomas, defensive back Quincy Mitchell and kicker/punter Garrett Urban earned Second Team honors. 

Anderson, who received the Bluebloods Podcast All-American Preseason honors and was named to the East-West Shrine Bowl 1000 list, finished with 31 total tackles, including 21 solo stops as he was an All-SWAC First Team selection last season. The College Park, Ga., native registered a team-high five sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss of 42 yards. In addition, the defensive lineman forced a team-high three fumbles, had two quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. 

Thomas played in 11 games last season for the Tigers and finished tied for first on the team in total tackles with 48, including 33 solo stops. He had 3.0 sacks for a loss of 12 yards and 5.5 tackles for a loss of 17 yards. In addition, he recorded one quarterback hurry. 

Mitchell finished fifth on the team in total tackles in nine games played. He registered 39 total tackles, with 29 solo stops. Mitchell added 3.0 tackles for a loss of 11 yards. In addition, he recorded three pass breakups and led the team in interceptions, with two, including a 75-yard pick six touchdown against Texas Southern.  

Urban, who was named to the All-SWAC Second Team last season, was the Grambling State Most Valuable Player of the 48th Bayou Classic after booting five field goals, including the game-winner against rival Southern.  

As a field goal kicker, Urban missed just two kicks all season (at Southern Miss and vs. Alabama A&M) as he went 15-of-17 (88.2 percent), including 8-8 inside 30 yards. In addition, the Houston, Texas native led Grambling State in points with 63 and was 18-of-19 in extra point attempts.

As a punter, Urban registered 79 kicks for 2,844 yards, including 20 inside the 20 and four of over 50-plus yards. His career bests included 12 punts at Houston and 11 against Southern Miss. He averaged 36.0 yards per punt. Urban kicked off 46 times for Grambling State this season, averaging 53.5 yards a kickoff. 

Grambling State garnered 77 points, along with one first-place vote, to claim the fourth spot in the SWAC West predicted order of finish. Southern, with 111 points and 11 first-place votes, was chosen to win the division. Alcorn State, with 110 points and five first-place votes, was predicted second followed by Prairie View A&M (82 points and five first-place votes). Arkansas-Pine Bluff (42 points) and Texas Southern (40 points) rounded out the West Division predicted order of finish. 

Jackson State, the defending SWAC Champions, was chosen to win the SWAC East Division with 116 points and 12 first-place votes. Florida A&M (108 points and seven first-place votes) claimed the second spot, followed by Alabama A&M (87 points and two first-place votes), Alabama State (60 points and one first-place votes), Bethune-Cookman (56 points) and Mississippi Valley State (35 points). 

Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders was selected the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Florida A&M’s Isaiah Land was chosen the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Grambling State opens the 2022 season on Saturday, September 3 in Jonesboro, Ark., against Arkansas State. The Red Wolves won the only other time these two teams met, a 10-7 victory in 1985. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. from Centennial Bank Stadium and the game will be streamed live on ESPN+. 


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