Not Devoid Of Talent, Just Overlooked | Four HBCU Players Are Playing In Super Bowl LVII

HBCU football is slowly working its way back to the apex it held from the 1950s until the mid-1980s of producing Black talent in the NFL. Four HBCU players will be playing in Super Bowl LVII, and all were key components in the conference championship games to help advance their teams to Super Sunday.

Who Are The Players?

Javon Hargrave 

Hargrave is the most accomplished of the four and slowly becoming a household name. The Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle played under the great Buddy Pough at South Carolina State. Hargrave is seven-year veteran and coming off his first Pro Bowl season in 2021. He recorded a career-best 7.5 sacks last season and has followed that up with 11 sacks this season.

Mac McCain

Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Mac McCain went undrafted in 2021 out of North Carolina A&T. McCain won first team All-MEAC honors while in college but injuries cut his last two seasons in college short. He spent time on the practice squad with the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles over the last two seasons. The Eagles elevated him from the practice squad before the NFC Championship game due to injuries in the secondary. McCain could remain on the active roster in a backup role and special teams role.

Joshua Williams & Bryan Cook

Josh Williams and Bryan Cook collaborated one of the critical pass defenses that helped stamp the Chiefs’ Super Bowl ticket.

Late in the fourth quarter with the game tied, Cook extended his arms and tipped a Joe Burrow pass that landed in the arms of Williams for an interception. The interception gave the ball back to the Chiefs offense and they took the lead with a go-ahead field goal.

Williams was a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft out of Fayetteville State. He was the highest HBCU player drafted in 2022.

Cook, a second-round pick by the Chiefs in 2022, started his career off at Howard. He eventually transferred to Cincinnati, creating the nations most formidable pair of cover concerns, alongside NY Jets rookie sensation Sauce Gardner.

Turning of the Tide 

Four players were drafted in the 2022 NFL draft after none were selected in 2020 or 2021. Deion Sanders was one of the biggest voices to advocate for changing those shocking numbers.

“And we have the Audacity to Hate on one another while our kids are being NEGLECTED & REJECTED. I witnessed a multitude of kids that we played against that were more than qualified to be drafted.,” Deion Sanders said in a Instagram post after the 2021 NFL draft. “My prayers are that This won’t EVER happen again. Get yo knife out my back and fight with me not against me!”

Due to the tireless work of Sanders trumpeting overlooked HBCU talent, the NFL hosted its first ever HBCU combine in January 2022 which helped get more eyes looking at top Black College prospects.

Decobie Durant, James Houston IV, and Ja’Tyre Carter also were drafted in addition to Williams. Durant is a defensive back from South Carolina State that was taken by the Rams in the fourth round.

Houston IV, Jackson State linebacker, was a sixth round pick by the Lions, and Carter is an offensive tackle out of Southern University selected in the seventh round by the Bears.

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