Press Release from Alcorn State Athletics
A pair of new assistant coaches were hired by the Alcorn State University football program as Damon Frenchers will be in charge of the defensive line and Stevon Moore will oversee the defensive backs, head coach Fred McNair announced.
Additionally, Cedric Thornton was promoted to defensive coordinator and Elliott Wratten to recruiting coordinator. Thornton previously worked as Alcorn’s linebacker coach, and Wratten as Alcorn’s tight ends and full backs coach.
Thornton will enter his third season with the Braves in 2018. As the linebackers coach, he developed Darien Anderson to becoming an HBCU All-American in 2016 and an All-Conference First-Team selection.
“I’m excited about the opportunity and will do whatever I can to help Coach McNair fulfill his vision. The process will remain the same, however the goal has to be to finish in the end this year,” Thornton said.
Thornton coached three All-Conference linebackers in two seasons. Under Thornton’s guidance, Anderson and All-SWAC Second-Team honoree Michael Hurns combined for 159 tackles in 2016. This past season, Trae Ferrell was tabbed to the Second-Team and was top-10 in the FCS in fumbles recovered.
Additionally, Thornton heavily aided in the Braves ranking first in the conference in top-five in the country in red zone defense with a 64.5 percent mark.
It was the second year in a row that he coached an All-Conference selection as Trae Ferrell was tabbed to the Second-Team this past season.
“Coach Thornton is a great coach that has done an outstanding job for us. This will be a great transition for him and he has defensive coordinator experience previously at Alabama State,” McNair said. “Our guys are already familiar with his style of play as well as his expectations.”
Prior to Alcorn, Thornton was the defensive coordinator at Alabama State. He had the Hornets ranked 12th in the FCS in scoring defense and 18th in passing defense. Thornton also spent three seasons as the linebackers coach at Texas Southern.
Wratten will enter his third season with the Alcorn football program. In addition to his duties with the tight ends and full backs, he is now the head of recruiting for the Braves.
“We’re very excited about the class we’re bringing in for the 2018 Season. This class has guys at every position and will help us continue our success,” Wratten said. “Alcorn is a great University on the academic side, and our success on the football field has made this a fun place to recruit. We can’t wait to get these guys in for summer school and get working with them this season.”
Wratten played a vital role in Alcorn’s most recent recruiting class as the Braves signed 20 student-athletes for 2018. The list included eight locals from Mississippi and also recruits from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Texas. Wratten helped sign student-athletes at nine different positions.
Alcorn’s recruiting class was ranked second in the country among HBCU’s by 247 Sports and sixth by BOXTOROW.
“Wratten has really moved us forward in recruiting and identifying players that we want. He’s gone out and gotten players from the Houston and Dallas areas and has expanded our recruiting base overall,” McNair said.
Wratten came to Alcorn after having spent the previous seven seasons at Indiana University working on both sides of the ball. The last three seasons Wratten served as a Graduate Assistant working with the Defensive Line. Wratten helped the Hoosiers advance to their first bowl game since 2007 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and win their third straight Old Oaken Bucket Game against rival Purdue.
The previous four seasons at Indiana, Wratten served as a Student Assistant working with the Offensive Line and Tight Ends.
Damon Frenchers has spent the last 29 seasons coaching football on the defensive end. He’s served the last three years as a defensive line coach with stints at Lyons College, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and North Carolina A&T.
“Frenchers is an experienced defensive coach. He actually coached against us in 2015 in the Celebration Bowl with North Carolina A&T and has had great success everywhere he’s been. He’ll definitely provide a lot of leadership and toughness to the program,” McNair said.
While at NC A&T, the Aggies were the 2015 Black College National Champions after winning the Celebration Bowl. It came after the program won the MEAC. Frenchers coached three defensive linemen to All-Conference honors.
Previous coaching stops for Frenchers include S.C. State, N.C. Central, Delaware State, Norfolk State, St. Paul’s College, and Lane. In addition to his football coaching responsibilities at St. Paul’s and Lane, he also served as head baseball coach at both institutions.
“I’m excited with the opportunity to continue building on the rich traditions here at Alcorn State University. Working alongside Coach McNair and Coach Thornton, we have high expectations for what we want to achieve in the immediate future. I’m looking forward to working closely with the student-athletes in our quest to kick the door down in Atlanta.”
In 1987, Frenchers started his coaching career as a volunteer undergraduate student at the University of Missouri. Frenchers assisted defensive coaches in breaking down and analyzing film. He also assisted defensive coaches during Missouri practices. After spending two seasons with Missouri, Frenchers took over as S.C. State’s defensive end and strength and conditioning coach in 1989.
During his three-year stint there, he coached All-American and 1992 first-round draft pick Robert Porcher. Porcher spent 13 seasons in the NFL (1992-2004) and recorded 95.5 career sacks. After leaving the Bulldogs program, Frenchers took over as N.C. Central’s defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in 1992. He spent seven seasons with the Eagles program where he coached All-CIAA performers Michael Lattimore and Corey Francis.
Frenchers left N.C. Central in February of 1999 to accept his first defensive coordinator position. In 1999, Frenchers became Delaware State’s defensive coordinator. He was responsible for organizing and implementing the Hornets defensive game plan. He served as Delaware State’s defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for three seasons before leaving for Norfolk State. In his second stint with NCCU in 2002, he was named the Eagles defensive coordinator.
In addition to his experience as a college football coach, Frenchers has also worked at various NFL camps over the past quarter century, and he has also spent time coaching camps at various Division I FBS schools such as Florida, North Carolina and Duke.
He earned a B.S., degree at the University of the State of New York, Regents College.
Stevon Moore comes to Alcorn having spent the last 17 years at as a defensive backs coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC. Moore also brings a wealth of NFL experience to the table having served as a scout for the New England Patriots and in player development with the Cleveland Browns.
Prior to Mississippi Gulf Coast, Moore worked with the Miami Dolphins and three years at LSU.
“Moore is a veteran defensive backs coach and was once under Nick Saban at both LSU and the Miami Dolphins. He has a great understanding of the secondary play and has a lot of awareness in teaching coverage,” McNair said.
Moore mentored eight NFL and CFL defensive backs during his 11 years in the pros. He has experience recruiting in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida where he’s mentored 20-30 Division I defensive backs.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Coach McNair, President Alfred Rankins, Derek Horne and the administration for giving me the opportunity to coach here at this great University. I am very thrilled to be here,” said Moore. “We’re on a quest to win a championship and I can’t wait to get started.”
Moore earned his bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss in 2003.
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