Before I go any further let me say this… I LOVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL! All of it! From the rivalries to bowl season and even obscure trophy games, but there’s something about HBCU football that you just can’t find anywhere else in the country.
When the NFL draft was here in Cleveland, I was all for it and excited. The entire world got to see what Cleveland was truly all about. People from all walks of life interacted and enjoyed a little bit of normalcy and the draft experience live and in person.
Although this was a great time, one thing bothered me and has still bothered me even days after the draft. Not ONE single player was drafted from a HBCU! Seven…yes, seven draft rounds and not one HBCU player was drafted.
For those thinking or wondering why this is such a big deal. Allow me to explain. HBCU football is and has been very VERY vital to the NFL. Especially in the ” modern” and Super Bowl eras, respectively.
Don’t believe me?
Just look at some of the names that have been associated with NFL history. Jerry Rice (MVSU) is in many regards the greatest wide receiver in all of NFL history. Walter Payton (Jackson State) is in the top-5 greatest running backs of all time and at one point was the all-time leading rusher in league history. Had it not been for Mel Blount (Southern) beating the daylights out of receivers every play there would be no pass interference penalties now. Also, who could forget Doug Williams (Grambling State) becoming the first African-American quarterback to start and win a super bowl and setting a super bowl record for yards and touchdowns in a quarter.
All of these feats whether still standing or now broken were set or held by HBCU players. So to say that there’s no talent at that level is not believable because the evidence is clear. Talent can be found ANYWHERE! I have said before that there was a change coming with the introduction of the transfer portal and the hiring of NFL greats Deion Sanders and Eddie George to Jackson State and Tennessee State respectively and I am sticking by that notion. Also, keep in mind that coach “Prime” has the top recruiting class in ALL of the FCS (formerly 1-AA).
Coach Sanders has been visibly frustrated and upset about the whole scenario stating that…
“Our kids are being NEGLECTED and REJECTED. I witnessed a multitude of kids that we played against that were more than qualified to be drafted. My prayers are that this won’t EVER happen again.”
With the return of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic and the Orange Blossom Classic coming in the fall of 2021, I think those prayers may start to get answered.
Don’t be surprised if the HBCU scene starts getting showcased more and continues to be entertaining as it always has. We just may see the next generation of Hall of Famers right in this very crop!