The football season is still weeks away for the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers but there are still at least two more reasons to celebrate: the team’s quarterback and a running back were recently named to the Deacon Jones Trophy watch list.

The Deacon Jones Trophy is an annual “player of the year” award given to the most outstanding all-around collegiate American football player of the year among teams from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). It’s namesake, James “Deacon” Jones, played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960.

Junior quarterback Micheal Sims and junior running back Santo Dunn are among dozens of players from the SIAC, CIAA, MEAC, Ohio Valley Conference and SWAC expected to vie for the black college football player of the award named after the late National Football League Hall of Fame defensive end.

Sims spent his first season on campus as a backup splitting time with a senior; from that point on, Sims has emerged as one of the SIAC’s best players. Last season, the Detroit native threw for more than 1,800 yards and 14 touchdowns with only four interceptions during his 10 starts.

Dunn, a dual-threat from nearby Griffin High School, came into the SIAC with a huge reputation and has lived up to those expectations and even more. The Miami, Florida native led the Maroon Tigers in rushing and rushing scores with 875 yards and 14 touchdowns, respectively, while also serving as a dangerous receiving option for Sims in the backfield. Dunn made 24 receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

Also named to the watch list are Alabama A&M running back Jordan Bentley—the Bulldogs will open the Maroon Tigers’ season in the Black Hall of Fame Classic Game in Canton, Ohio on Sept 1—as well as Howard University quarterback Caylin Newton and Jalen Morton, Prairie View A&M University’s dynamic quarterback.

The three finalists for the trophy will be announced on Dec. 3 with the Black College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony and awards to be hos Feb. 15, 2020, at the Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

(Photo: Courtesy of Morehouse College)

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...

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