‘We’ve Got To Stop Separatism, We Really Do’ | The Disrespect Is Real, NFL Combine Invites Just Four Players From HBCUs

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The 2022 NFL Combine begins on Thursday in Indianapolis, and of the 324 invited prospects only four from HBCUs were chosen. 

They are Fayetteville State defensive back Joshua Williams, South Carolina State University defensive back DeCobie Durant who won MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, Florida A&M defensive back Marquese Bell, and Southern offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter. All are studs and are very deserving of the opportunity. Durant shined in the Celebration Bowl, completely locking down Coach Prime’s receivers in the South Carolina State upset of JSU.

This kind of disrespect toward HBCU talent is exactly why Deion Sanders has chosen to hitch his Hall of Fame wagon to the HBCU empowerment plan. It’s also why he’s been against a handful of HBCU athletes having to share the NFL Combine spotlight with Power Schools. 

Sanders is on record saying they should add 52 more slots to the NFL Combine. That was his projection for the event he once backed, but eventually changed his tune on after no players from HBCUs were drafted last year.

In an interview with The Clarion-Ledger, Sanders discussed why he changed his tune on separate combines. 

“They we’re going to allow 52 players I believe to come to that combine in Miami. We can allow 52 players to come to that combine in Indy. It’s only four or five players for each position or maybe six if I’m doing my math correctly. Why should we separate? Why should we be placed on another field where scouts aren’t coming, all the personnel’s not going to be there like they would normally be in Indy?”
He added, “We’ve got to stop the separatism we really do. I get mad when I’m watching the channel that had us on Saturday. And you’re talking about all these bowl games and you aren’t mentioning us? Just give us an honorable mention, give us something. I mean you’re talking about some schools that I ain’t even heard of. I ain’t heard of some of the schools.
“At least give us a mention. I think they had a three- , four-hour pregame show before they serve the entree. Give us something, give us some love, some type of respect. And it’s up to us to stand up for that. We’ve got to, we must. The kids deserve it they really do.”

HBCU Combine Has 42 Participants:

 

 

Although Sanders wasn’t in agreement, the HBCU Combine was held in January, in Mobile, Alabama. The 42 invited participants showcased their true talents for scouts from reportedly every team. But it still isn’t anywhere near all the bells and whistles they receive at the NFL Combine in Indy.

When they mention standouts from the HBCU Combine, like Will Adams a gifted defensive back from Virginia State, you can only wonder why he was denied an opportunity to display that next-level ability in Indy. If the NFL scouts had done their due diligence, they would’ve seen that Adams is a stud.

 

Or how about Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass who won SWAC Player of the Year and is a legit NFL prospect at QB, standing 6’5″ and weighing 225 pounds, with a strong and very accurate arm.

 

In a 2022 NFL Draft short of franchise QBs, the talented senior should be garnering much more talk and should’ve been invited to Indy. In his illustrious HBCU career, Glass passed for 12,136 (14th all-time in FCS) and 109 touchdowns (11th all-time in FCS).

HBCU Coaches Talk About The Lack Of Opportunities

South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough is one of the most successful HBCU coaches ever, having six players drafted during his coaching tenure. They include Colts All-Pro Darius Leonard (Colts) and Eagles Pro-Bowler Javon Hargrove.

In an interview with The Inquirer, Pough said this. 

“HBCUs have gotten to a point now that we’re kind of non-existent. It’s hard to find some space, to find your place in the whole scheme of things, to be able to get more guys playing.”

HBCUs don’t possess the resources of Power Five programs. But that’s where resiliency, grit and determination come into play. Coach Prime is displaying that and creating more opportunities for HBCU athletes to get a fair shake since the NFL won’t. 

Coach Prime is having a joint Mississippi schools Pro Day at JSU on March 21, where he expects quite a few NFL organizations to send representatives. Next year he’s hoping to have it as a complete SWAC, HBCU Pro Day open to all who’d like to attend. It seems like a good move and with the lack of representation being given to HBCUs it’s something that’s at least worth a try.


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