ATLANTA — Alabama A&M senior quarterback Aqeel Glass (St. Louis, Mo.) added to a record-setting Spring 2021 campaign on Saturday, June 19 as he was presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy as the Black College Football Player of the Year as announced by the Black College Football Hall of Fame as part of their annual induction ceremonies.
In its fifth year, Glass becomes the first Bulldog to be so honored and becomes the first player from a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) school to win the award.
The previous winners were current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen (2016), Bowie State quarterback Amir Hall (2017, 2018) and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Chris Rowland (2019). Glass beat out fellow SWAC member and National Defensive Player of the Year Jordan Lewis of Southern as the other finalist.
The recipient of the Deacon Jones Trophy, named for the South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley State legend and 1980 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, is voted on by the four-member selection committee consisting of Black College Football Hall of Fame co-founders James "Shack" Harris and Grambling and National Football League great Doug Williams as well as Power News Radio Network's Ty Miller and ESPN analyst and 1993 I-AA National Player of the Year Jay Walker.
"Aqeel had an amazing season," said Harris. "He showed his character as a leader navigating his team through an unprecedented season and finishing undefeated".
It would be a season for the ages for Glass and A&M as they won their first SWAC Championship in 15 years (2006), went undefeated for the first time in 53 years (1966) and claimed the first Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) National Championship in program history.
All three of those came to fruition in the program's thrilling 40-33 victory over No. 25 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5/1) in the Spring 2021 SWAC Title Game, a contest that would see Glass go 24-for-45 for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
On the season he threw for 1,355 yards on 91-of-158 passing, connected for 16 touchdowns for an average of four per game and averaged 338.8 yards through the air. It also included a Division I Era record-setting performance on a world-wide stage on ESPN when he threw for 440 yards and six touchdowns in a 52-43 victory at Jackson State (4/10) following a 35-day layoff.
Both were records since the program went DI at the turn of the century and he added a rushing touchdown for good measure to make it seven on the day. The 52 points marked the most against a Division I opponent since 2008 and just the ninth time the program had reached the 50-point plateau since moving from DII.
Nationally, he would finish second at the FCS level in Points Responsible Per Game (26.0), third in Passing Yards Per Completion (14.89), seventh in Passing Touchdowns, Passing Yards Per Game and Total Offense (347.8), eighth in Passing Efficiency (158.0) and ninth in Completions Per Game (22.75).
It would be performances like those that earned him not only the Deacon Jones Trophy but a host of other prominent accolades. Those would include the BOXTOROW National Player of the Year and SWAC Player of the Year, both firsts in program history, as well as being named a Walter Payton Award Finalist.
Glass was also a BOXTOROW Postseason and Preseason All-American, All-SWAC First-Team, SWAC Championship Game MVP, STATS Perform FCS and BOXTOROW National Player of the Week, SWAC Preseason Player of the Year and SWAC Player of the Week (Apr. 20).
"It is a blessing beyond belief to be recognized tonight by the Black College Football Hall of Fame and I would like to thank them for this honor," said Glass. "It's particularly special when you consider the great players that I was privileged to meet and interact with as part of an incredible evening."
Alabama A&M and Glass will seek to defend their HBCU National Championship and SWAC Championship this fall with a traditional schedule that will kick off at Louis Crews Stadium on September 4 against South Carolina State.