Our new weekly series, "HBCU Brotherhood", will shine the spotlight on HBCU football players that have successfully made the jump to the NFL.
Once upon a time, black college football was teeming with pro-caliber wide outs, and not just during the glory days of the 1960s when players like Charlie Joiner filtered into HBCUs because of integration. Dozens of top-tier pro wide receivers entered the league from HBCUs in the 80s and 90s, from Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State) and Jimmy Smith (Jackson State) to Donald Driver (Alcorn State).
In recent years, however, that well seems to have gone dry. In fact, it's been years since a receiver from an HBCU was even drafted.
Seattle's Ricardo Lockette is one of many HBCU receievers that have been passed over in the NFL Draft over the last couple of years, but his emergence might help end this negative trend.
Lockette originally committed to Auburn, but academics held him back from playing FBS ball. After a short stint at Wallace State, he opted to go to FVSU. The HBCU is a Division II school, but it has sent plenty of solid players to the pros, including longtime vets like Greg Llloyd and Tyrone Pool, as well as current Oakland Raider punter Marquette King.
Lockette's numbers at Fort Valley State weren't earth-shattering (he never caught more than 25 passes in a season) but his speed and size–6'2, 211 pounds–made pro teams take notice. He signed with Seattle after going undrafted in 2011, making the practice squad and eventually the active roster before being cut in 2012. He also had short stints with the 49ers and Bears before returning to Seattle as a free agent last season.
Best known as a special teams ace, Lockette did catch a pass in Super Bowl XLVIII. He's on pace for a personal career best as a receiver, having caught two touchdowns in three games.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll raved about how much he has improved as of late.
“He’s made so much improvement,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told ESPN's Terry Blount. “It’s just been a long, long road to get to here. He learned from everything that’s gone on. He’s matured so much in terms of how he applies himself."
While he may not have the type of talent of many of his predecessors on the list of HBCU recievers, he's quickly becoming a big part of the the Seahawks bid to repeat as Super Bowl Champs.