Birmingham Al (al.com) After losing a senior class of more than 20 from its 2012 team which went 7-4, including a 6-0 start and a the school's first ever ranking in the NCAA's FCS Top 25 poll, Alabama A&M didn't have anyone named to the 2013 preseason All-SWAC football team first unit.
However, the Bulldogs made their impression felt on the second-team with five players earning honors at today's SWAC Football Media Day at the Birmingham Marriot.
Headlined by wide receiver Birmingham native wide receiver Montaurius Smith, the group of players named to the all-league squad also includes offensive lineman Justin Goodrich, defensive lineman Reginald Bailey, defensive lineman Corey Johnson and defensive back Derrick Harris.
Smith, a Jackson-Olin alumnus, led the Bulldogs with 50 receptions, including four touchdown grabs, for 511 yards in 2011 and will be heavily depended upon on an offense that won't include former standouts quarterback Deaunte Mason and running back Kaderius Lacey anymore. Goodrich, a 6-foot-1, 325-pounder should provide some needed leadership up front on a Alabama A&M squad that will be one of the youngest in recent years.
Bailey had a breakout season after transferring from Mississippi's Pear River Junior College, racking up 37 tackles, including a team-high 9.5 for loss, two sacks, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. Johnson, Bailey's counterpart at the defensive end slot, showed promise with 5.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup, a pass defended and two hurries in limited duty as a freshman last season and Harris had a pair of picks in 2012.
The Bulldogs were picked to finish third in the SWAC East behind rival Alabama State and Jackson State (Miss.) They begin their 2013 slate August 31st at Grambling State (La.)
"We'll be young but we'll be competitive," Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones said.