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Friday, August 1, 2014

HBCU Players In The Hall (Of Fame)

Jerry Rice is one of over two dozen HBCU alumni in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (SFGate.com)

This weekend, three players from HBCUs will be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The addition of Tennessee State's Claude Humphrey, Southern's Aeneas Williams and Texas Southern's Michael Strahan will bring the number of HBCU alumni in the Hall of Fame to 28. Here's a complete list.

Willie Brown was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1984. (SIKids.com)

Grambling State 

Willie Brown, Defensive Back
Buck Buchanan, Defensive Tackle
Willie Davis, Defensive End
Charlie Joiner, Receiver

Willie Lanier was inducted into the HOF in 1986. (NFL.com photo)

Morgan State

Roosevelt Brown, Offensive Line
Len Ford, Defensive End
LeRoy Kelly, Running Back
Willie Lanier, Linebacker

Jackie Slater was selected into the HOF in 2001. (ImageSlides.com)

Jackson State

Lem Barney, Defensive Back
Walter Payton, Running Back
Jackie Slater, Offensive Tackle

South Carolina State's Harry Carson was inducted into the HOF in 2006. (SiKids.com)

South Carolina State

Harry Carson, Linebacker
Deacon Jones, Defensive End
Marion Motley, Running Back

Deacon Jones played at both South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley. (TampaBay.com photo)

Mississippi Valley State 

Jerry Rice, Receiver
Deacon Jones, Linebacker

Mel Blount was a key part of the Steel Curtain defense. (TheTeamKennedy.com photo)

Southern University

Mel Blount, Defensive Back
Aeneas Williams, Defensive Back

Richard Dent was the last super star to play for TSU's John Merritt. (ChiCity.com photo)

Tennessee State

Richard Dent, Defensive End
Claude Humphrey, Defensive End

Alabama A&M

John Stallworth, Receiver


Larry Little, Offensive Guard


Emmitt Thomas, Defensive Back

Florida A&M

Bob Hayes, Receiver

Fort Valley State

Rayfield Wright, Defensive Back

Maryland State/UMES

Art Shell, Offensive Guard

North Carolina A&T

Elvin Bethea, Linebacker

Prairie View A&M

Ken Houston, Defensive Back

Savannah State

Shannon Sharpe, Tight End

Texas Southern

Michael Strahan, Defensive End

Thursday, July 31, 2014

SWAC WRs: Go-To-Guys Aplenty

Willie Quinn scored two big touchdowns for Southern in the SWAC Championship Game. (Natchez Democrat photo)

Willie Quinn, Southern 

When last season started, all the talk for Southern was about the Dray Joesph/Lee Doss combination. Rightfully so, as those two hooked up for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns while helping lead Southern to the SWAC Championship. But Quinn was arguably the best receiver on the field in the SWAC Championship Game as he caught seven passes for 142 yards and two big touchdowns.

It wasn't just the championship game...the diminutive wide receiver from Miami had a big impact all season, catching 57 passes and scoring seven touchdowns in his first year in blue and gold. He also averaged a heady 29 yards per kick return. With Doss gone, Quinn will be the unquestioned top target for the Jags. The question is, with Joseph gone, will he get the ball enough to continue his progress.

(Dallas Morning News photo)

Chester Rogers, Grambling

Saying last year was a tough year for Grambling would be a huge understatement. Rogers was one of the few bright spots, catching 48 passes (15.8 yards per catch) and five touchdowns for the Tigers.

If he gets consistent quarterback play this season, look for the big-play receiver to add more 100 yard-plus games to his resume as a junior.

(AL.com photo)

Montarius Smith, Alabama A&M 

Alabama A&M had a weak year passing-wise, finishing near the bottom of the SWAC in passing offense and efficiency. But that didn't stop Smith from posting career-high numbers in receptions (55), yards (771) and touchdown passes (7). He was at his best late in the season, when he caught 12 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns in his final two SWAC contests.

(Mississippi Valley State photo)

Julian Stafford, Mississippi Valley State

As bad as the overall passing game was for Smith and Alabama A&M, it was even worse for Stafford at Mississippi Valley last year. Valley's quarterbacks completed just 45 percent of their passes, but Stafford still managed to snag 52 passes on the season. Add in his return abilities, and he remains one of the conference's biggest all-purpose threats.

(Al.com photo) 

DeMario Bell, Alabama State

Bell has the least amount of catches on this list (30) but no one did more with their receptions on this list. The 6'3, 180 pound receiver averaged a ridiculous 19 yards per catch as a sophomore in a run-first offense with a first-year starting quarterback.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Crowell, Leonard Turning Heads At Camps

We aren't sure if Isaiah Crowell and AC Leonard know each other, but the two rookies have a lot in common. Both started their careers at SEC schools, (Crowell at Georgia and Leonard at Florida) before legal issues led them to play their final two seasons at HBCUs (Alabama State for Crowell and Tennessee State for Leonard) and entering the NFL Draft after their junior seasons. Neither was drafted in May, but both found homes as UDFAs.

Well now both Crowell and Leonard are starting to turn heads at their first NFL Camp.

Crowell is competing for time in a crowded Cleveland Browns backfield with veterans like Ben Tate and rookies like Terrance West. Still, the former SEC Rookie of The Year is making a wave in Cleveland, where Fox Sports' Zac Jackson says the Browns consider him "a keeper."

Up in Minnesota, Leonard has left an impression on Vikings Territory writer Brett LaBathe. LaBethe took an in-depth look at Leonard as he battles for a roster spot at tight end.

"There is no doubting Leonard’s receiving ability. Leonard has displayed a nice release off the line and seems to be fluid and athletic in route running. He also possesses the type of speed and acceleration needed to get behind a defense and stretch the field from the tight end position."

Regardless of what happens to these two players from here on out, it's good to see that HBCUs are offering student-athletes a second chance when the big schools turn their backs on them.

The UCLA Flood And The Financial Disparity In College Sports

As many as eight inches of water covered parts of athletic facilites at UCLA on Tuesday night, including Pauley Pavilion and Spaulding Field. A broken water pipe was the culprit, drenching the football practice facility and the gym with millions of gallons of water.

But those aren't the only millions that are eye catching.

"A spokeswoman for UCLA said, at its peak, the water was as deep as eight inches at a facility that underwent a $136-million renovation, completed in 2012. A new synthetic turf was installed on Spaulding Field the same year."

A $136 million dollar renovation. Just think about that figure.

 To put that in to perspective, the SWAC's total athletic budget for 2013-14 was $71.1 million spread across 10 teams. Yet the SWAC and MEAC both compete in Division I, just like UCLA.

Make no mistake about it, the flooding at UCLA was an unfortunate event. But had that happened at an HBCU, it would be a catastrophe.
What would your HBCU do if its athletic facilities were hit with a similar curve ball? Most HBCU athletic departments are just living paycheck-to-paycheck. Something like this would probably set them back years financially, not just weeks or months.

Then again, HBCU sports have been in a broken-pipe financial cycle since they were started. And still, we rise.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WSSU's Powell To Transfer To Hampton

Months after losing its head coach and several assistants, Winston-Salem State looks like it is about to lose one of its best players to Hampton, too.

Receiver Chase Powell announced his intention to join Hampton via Instagram Monday night. If it is true, Powell be reunited with Connell Maynor, who took over as Hampton's coach last winner. 

"God opened up a new chapter in my life," he wrote. "I committed to Hampton University."

The sophomore from Maryland caught 64 passes as a true freshman, helping WSSU make its third-straight playoff appearance. Powell is the reigning CIAA Offensive Rookie of The  Year and was a preseason All-CIAA selection last week. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sizzling Sophomores: Talented Second-Year Players Run The MEAC

(NC A&T Aggies photo)

Tarik Cohen, North Carolina A&T 

The diminutive back from Bunn started last season on the bench, carrying the ball just 22 times in the first four games. His breakout performance came in Week Five against Hampton where he exploded for 299 total yards (180 rushing, 119 receiving) and two touchdowns. Cohen rushed for 100-plus yards in five of A&T's last seven games in 2013, including a season-high 210 against FAMU. When the dust settled, Cohen rushed for a league-high 1,148 yards in 11 games.

Needless to say, Cohen enters 2014 as the key cog in an NC A&T offense that will be key if the program hopes to end its MEAC drought.

(Hampton photo)
Jorrian Washington, Hampton 

The "old man" on this list, Washington actually started 2013 as a wide receiver. Washington didn't see his first action in the backfield until the Hampton game, but paid immediate dividends as he rushed for 85 yards and caught a touchdown pass. Washington would rush for 115-plus yards in his next three games, finishing the season with just under 700 yards rushing with an average of six yards per carry.

The Los Angeles native is probably the best all-around back on this list, as he caught 32 passes and is a dangerous kick returner, averaging over 24 yards per return in 2013. If Hampton is to make the turnaround that many expect them to make in 2014, Washington will be a key component.

(Howard photo)
Anthony Philyaw, Howard 

Philyaw was only the second leading rusher on his team, but he's already one of the MEAC's best backs. Like Cohen, Philyaw didn't set the world on fire his first couple of games, but his confidence seemed to grow with every carry. Philyaw turned in three 100 yard-plus performances in 2013, including two in a row to finish the season vs. Texas Southern and Hampton. Add in a 98 yard, 3 touchdown performance against Morgan State for homecoming and there's plenty of home for Howard heading into 2014.
(Suffolk News Herald Photo)

Lamont Brown, Morgan State

Another first-year success story. Brown's carries at Morgan State weren't always consistent, but he made the most of them. Brown rushed for 708 yards, good for sixth in the MEAC. He only has one 100-yard game, but rushed for more than 75 yards in half of the 12 games he played in.

Greg McGhee, Howard

The quarterback ran for nearly 900 yards last season.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Roll Call: HBCU Alumni In NFL Camps

With the entire NFL now involved in training camp, we figured it was as good a time as any to take a look at which HBCU alumni were in NFL Camps. According to our count, 69 former HBCU stars are currently participating in training camp action.

The program with the most players in NFL Camps as of late July is Hampton with eight, with Tennessee State and South Carolina State just behind at six players apiece. Four teams tied for the lead with five players each: Titans, Redskins, Giants and Seahawks.

Of the 69 players on this list, 21 are rookies. Only two out of those 21, Tennessee State's Kadeem Edwards and Demetrius Rhaney, were selected in May's NFL Draft.

By conference:

MEAC: 28
SWAC: 18

NameTeamPosExp. CollegeConf.
Edawn CoughmanBuffalo BillsOT1ShawCIAA
Kevin ElliottBuffalo BillsWR3FAMUMEAC
Kendrick EllisNY JetsDT4HamptonMEAC
Dimitri PattersonNY JetsDB9TuskegeeSIAC
Jacoby JonesBaltimore Ravens WR8LaneSIAC
Anthony LevineBaltimore Ravens S3Tennessee St.OVC
Deji OlatoyeBaltimore Ravens CBRNC A&TMEAC
David MimsBaltimore Ravens T1Virginia UnionCIAA
LaKendrick RossCincinnati BengalsDTRVUL
Jourdan BrooksCleveland BrownsRB1Morgan State MEAC
Isaiah CrowellCleveland BrownsRBRAlabama StateSWAC
Qua CoxIndianapolis ColtsCBRJackson StateSWAC
Robert MathisIndianapolis ColtsDE12Alabama A&MSWAC
Greg MooreIndianapolis ColtsWRRLaneSIAC
Greg TolerIndianapolis ColtsDB6St. Paul'sCIAA
Ryan DavisJacksonville JaguarsDE2Bethune-CookmanMEAC
Jerome JuniorJacksonville JaguarsSRWinston-Salem StCIAA
Jordan MillerJacksonville JaguarsDT1SouthernSWAC
Chigbo AnunobyTennessee TitansDL1MorehouseSIAC
Sammie HillTennessee TitansDL6StillmanSWAC
Micah PellerinTennessee TitansDB2HamptonMEAC
Rico RichardsonTennessee TitansWR1Jackson StateSWAC
Marcus DixonTennessee TitansDE3HamptonMEAC
Carlos Fields Oakland RaidersLBRWinston-Salem StCIAA
Greg JenkinsOakland RaidersWR1Alabama StateSWAC
Marquette KingOakland RaidersP 2Fort Valley StateSIAC
Marshall McFadden Oakland RaidersLB1South Carolina StMEAC
Adrian HamiltonSan Diego ChargersLB2Prairie View SWAC
Justin DurantDallas CowboysLB8HamptonMEAC
Jakar Hamilton Dallas CowboysS1South Carolina StMEAC
Larry DonnellNY GiantsTE 2Grambling StSWAC
Rogers GainesNY GiantsOT1Tennessee St.OVC
Travis HarveyNY GiantsWR1FAMUMEAC
Jamal Johnson-WebbNY GiantsOT RAlabama A&MSWAC
Dominique Rodgers-CromartieNY GiantsCB7Tennessee St.OVC
Karim BartonPhiladelphia Eagles GRMorgan State MEAC
Frances MaysPhiladelphia Eagles DERFAMUMEAC
Chris BakerWashington RedskinsDL2HamptonMEAC
Lee DossWashington RedskinsWRRSouthernSWAC
Frank KearseWashington RedskinsDE3Alabama A&MSWAC
Courtney Bridget Jr.Washington RedskinsCBRHamptonMEAC
Jason HatcherWashington RedskinsDE9Grambling StSWAC
Michael OlaChicago BearsOTRHamptonMEAC
Eric WeemsChicago BearsWR8Bethune-CookmanMEAC
Don CareyDetroit LionsS6Norfolk StateMEAC
Brandon HepburnDetroit LionsLB1FAMUMEAC
Rashean MathisDetroit LionsCB11Bethune-CookmanMEAC
Xavier ProctorDetroit LionsDT1NC CentralMEAC
Antonio DennardGreen Bay PackersCB1LangstonNAIA
Joe ThomasGreen Bay PackersLBRSouth Carolina StMEAC
AC LeonardMinnesota VikingsTE RTennessee St.OVC
Terren JonesAtlanta FalconsOT1Alabama StateSWAC
Kimmario McFaddenAtlanta FalconsSRSouth Carolina StMEAC
Alex HallCarolina PanthersDE4St. Augustine'sCIAA
Terron ArmsteadNew Orleans SaintsOT1Arkansas-Pine BluffSWAC
Rafael BushNew Orleans SaintsS4South Carolina StMEAC
Junior Gallette New Orleans SaintsLB5StillmanSIAC
Kadeem EdwardsTampa Bay BucsGRTennessee St.OVC
Keith LewisTampa Bay BucsCBRVUL
Marcus BenardArizona CardinalsLB5Jackson State SWAC
William HayesSt. Louis RamsDE7Winston-Salem StCIAA
Kendall LangfordSt. Louis RamsDE7HamptonMEAC
Demetrius Rhaney St. Louis RamsCRTennessee St.OVC
Antoine BetheaSan Francisco 49ersS9HowardMEAC
Adam Phillips Seattle SeahawksCB5South Carolina StMEAC
RaShaun AllenSeattle SeahawksTE RSouthernSWAC
Nate Isles Seattle SeahawksGRNC A&TMEAC
Ricardo LocketteSeattle SeahawksWR4Fort Valley StateSIAC
Tavaris JacksonSeattle SeahawksQB9Alabama StateSWAC

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About Me

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Steven J. Gaither is a multimedia journalist and founder of HBCU Gameday. Steven began covering HBCU Sports nearly a decade ago as a student at Winston-Salem State University. His work can also be found at The Shadow League, Diverse Issues In Higher Education and Slam Online.