The NFL draft is less than a month away. In fact, the draft will be held April 26–28. There are a number of NFL prospects from historically Black colleges and universities around the country who will be available for the draft.
The list includes some of the top players from the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Southwestern Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as well as some HBCUs from the NAIA ranks. Although there haven’t been many Black college players taken in the draft recently, these prospects have a way of making it on to many NFL rosters as free agents.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Philadelphia Eagles defensive back, was a first-round pick out of Tennessee State in 2008 when he was selected by the Arizona Cardinals. Rodgers-Cromartie was the last HBCU player taken in the first round. A year ago, Kenrick Ellis, Hampton University defensive tackle, was selected in the third round by the New York Jets. There were three other players taken in the seventh round.
There’s a chance you could hear some of these names on draft day. If not, don’t be surprised if a number of these players land somewhere as an undrafted free agent. A good example is Isaac Redman, who played his college football at Bowie State. In 2009, Redman, a solid running back, wasn’t drafted. He currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Redman has already played in the NFL playoffs and a Super Bowl in just two seasons.
Write some of these names down starting with the local players from Cheyney University and Lincoln University.
Tim Hume, Cheyney University, defensive lineman:
Hume had a great year. The 6-foot-1, 260-pounder, was a major player of the defensive line for Cheyney. Hume was named All Super Region One Defensive Player of the Year by the Don Hansen’s Football Gazette. He was named by Beyond Sports Network as a Division II second team All-American.
Hume was chosen as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award (Division II Lineman of the Year). He led the conference in tackles for loss with 21.5. Hume was the team leader with 6.5 sacks. He also had 62 total tackles.
Brandon McElwee, Lincoln University, linebacker:
McElwee had a tremendous season. He was the NCAA Division II statistical leader in solo tackles with 79. He led the team with 114 total tackles. He was named to Don Hansen’s Division II USA College Sports Senior All-American Team and the Beyond Sports College Network All-American first team. He was an All-CIAA first team defense selection. He also played in the Division II vs. NAIA Senior Bowl.
Daron Jones, Lincoln University, linebacker:
Jones was named to Don Hansen’s Division II USA College Sports Senior All-American Team and the Beyond Sports College Network All-American first team. He was second on the team in tackles and third in the CIAA. He returned three interceptions for touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder, played in the third annual HBCU All-Star Bowl.
Brucelee Sterile, Lincoln University, linebacker:
Sterile has great quickness and knows how to find the football. He’s a good tackler. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, had 32 total tackles. He was a Don Hansen Division II USA College Sports Senior All-American.
Casey Therriault, Jackson State, quarterback:
Therriault is one of the best quarterbacks in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision). The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, completed 272-of-453 passes for 3,808 yards with 27 touchdowns. He had five games where he threw for more than 300 yards.
Nicholas Cooper, Winston-Salem State, running back:
Cooper rushed for 1,712 yards this season. He averaged 7.0 yards a carry and scored 21 touchdowns. The 6-foot, 240-pound running back, has power and speed. He led Winston-Salem State to the NCAA Division II semifinals.
Mike Mayhew, North Carolina A&T, running back:
Mayhew, a 5-foot-10, 195-pounder, rushed for 1,120 yards while scoring nine touchdowns. He was named co-MEAC Offensive Player of the Year.
David Carter, Morehouse, running back:
Carter, a 5-foot-11, 225-pounder, was one of the top running backs in the SIAC. He led the conference in rushing with 1,495 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. He averaged 6.4 yards a carry.
Nick Andrews, Alabama State, wide receiver:
Andrews is a small receiver like the Philadelphia Eagles DeSean Jackson. At 5-foot-9, 170-pounds, he knows how to get open. Andrews led the SWAC in receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,095) while scoring 10 touchdowns this season.
Willie Carter, Howard, wide receiver:
Carter, a 6-foot-1, 202-pounder, had 60 receptions for 731 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 12.2 yards a catch. He’s been one of the top receivers in the MEAC over the last four years.
Renty Rollins, Jackson State, tight end:
Rollins can block and run good pass routes. The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder, had 39 receptions for 591 yards and five TDs. He averaged 15.2 yards a catch.
Mario Louis, Grambling State, wide receiver:
Louis is one of the most explosive players in the SWAC. He has great speed and terrific moves in the open field. He led the conference in yards per catch with 21.3. The 6-foot, 190-pounder, scored 17 TDs.
Kendall Noble, Norfolk State, offensive lineman:
Noble, a 6-foot-4, 290-pounder, is a good run and pass blocker. He can really move his feet.
Ryan Davis, Bethune-Cookman, defensive lineman:
Davis, a 6-foot-4, 240-pounder, was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. He led the conference with 12 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss while recording 60 total tackles.
Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M, defensive lineman:
Hamilton was named the co-SWAC Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder, led the nation with 20.5 sacks and was second with 26.5 tackles for losses totaling 126 yards. He also had 81 total tackles.
Cory Hart, Alabama A&M, defensive lineman:
Hart, a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder, led the country in tackles for loss (27.0) and had 14 sacks. He can really get to the quarterback.
Cliff Exama, Grambling State, linebacker:
Exama, a 6-foot, 230-pounder, led the SWAC with 139 total tackles. He was the conference co-Defensive Player of the year. He had 17.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and four passes defended.
Corwin Hammond, Norfolk State, linebacker:
Hammond, a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder, had 120 total tackles with 13 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He knows how to come up and make plays against the run.
Alton Keaton, Winston-Salem State, defensive back:
Keaton was named the CIAA Defensive Player of the year. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder, has the speed to run with most receivers. He has good anticipation. He’s a good tackler, too.
Christian Thompson, South Carolina State, free safety:
Thompson, a 6-foot, 211-pounder, attended the NFL Combine. He had 46 solo tackles and one interception.
Micah Pellerin, Hampton, defensive back:
Pellerin had 41 total tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass breakups this season. He was one of two HBCU players that attended the NFL Combine.
Moses Ellis, Prairie View A&M, defensive back:
Ellis, a 5-foot-8, 170-pounder, has been a solid defensive back. He can play the run as well as the pass. He had 36 total and 26 solo tackles this season.