BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - SWAC Media Day at the Birmingham Mariot has come and gone, the unofficial start to Alabama A&M head coach James Spady's fourth season With The Bulldogs. 2016 was an up and down year for A&M, but the team finished the season with wins in three of its final four conference games, and coach Spady hopes to carry that momentum over to this season.
He has more talent this year than ever before with five players selected to the All-SWAC preseason team including rising sophomore Jordan Bentley. The Guntersville native was the SWAC freshman of the year last season after rushing for 851 yards and 9 touchdowns. Still just an underclassman, he's already at media day representing his team, a responsibility he says he doesn't take lightly. "I'm glad coach has put that faith in me to be a key player to build around. It's a wonderful thing time down here and interact with players, coaches and media. It's just blessed." Spady is showing a lot of confidence making an underclassman the face of his team, but the Bulldogs head coach says Bentley will not disappoint. "We changed his jersey number to one, and there is one good reason. He's first at everything, Spady told WHNT News 19. "He does everything right. He had a 4.0 GPA in the fall, and that's the guy you want to build your football team around. If I had 21 other players exactly like Jordan Bentley we would take over the world."
The Bulldogs open the season in a big way, heading to legion in field in Birmingham to take on UAB. It's the Blazers first game since the program was eliminated back in 2014, so it's not just A&M that's excited about being part of history, the entire conference can't wait for that game. "We're excited, I know UAB is excited to be back at football," SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said. "I think coach Spady and Alabama A&M is going to put on a great performance. So we are really excited for that game."
Bellow is Alabama A&M's complete schedule for the 2017 season.
Sep. 2 - @ UAB (on WHNT)
Sep. 9 - @ Vanderbilt
Sep. 16 - @ South Alabama
Sep. 23 - vs. Texas Southern
Sep. 30 - vs. University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff
Oct. 7 - @ Southern
Oct. 14 - vs. Mississippi Valley State
Oct. 28 - vs. Alabama State (at Legion field)
Nov. 4 - @ Alcorn State
Nov. 11 - vs. Jackson State
Nov. 18 - vs. Kentucky State