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MEAC Prospects Creeping Up NFL Draft Radar

Former Howard linebacker Keith Pough is expected to be selected in next week’s NFL Draft. (thetandd.com photo)

One week away from the NFL Draft, several HBCU players are moving up the national radar and drawing interest from NFL franchises. Among them are three former MEAC stars: Jakar Hamilton, Ellie Hyppolite and Keith Pough.

Hamilton started his career as a JUCO player and spent time at the University of Georgia before suiting up for South Carolina State last year. The 5’11, 186 pound defensive back recorded 40 tackles and three interceptions in nine games. Scout.com’s Aaron Wilson reports that Hamilton has already visited with the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New York Jets, among others. Redskins101.com says while he may be a reach at the team’s first pick, 51st overall, he could be a steal in the midrounds. Wilson said he thinks Hamilton may go higher than Christian Thompson, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Shaun DePasquale of NFLDraftZone.com released his Defensive Top Five Thursday morning. While none of the players in his top five were HBCU prospects, FAMU’s Hyppolite and Howard’s Pough both made his “underrated” list.

Like Hamilton, Hyppolite started his career as a JUCO player before transferring to Florida A&M for his last two seasons. Hamilton was an important cog of Earl Holmes’ defense, as the 6’4 275 pound defensive end recorded 5.5 sacks last season. Scouts love Hamilton’s versatility, as he is thought to be able to play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme.

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Keith Pough spent his entire career at Howard, terrorizing opposing offenses and collecting accolades. Pough recorded 349 tackles in his career, including an astounding 71 for loss, a new NCAA record. The MEAC Defensive Player of the Year was selected to the East-West Shrine Game and invited to the NFL Combine, but according to CBS.com’s Rob Rang, he hurt himself with a subpar performance in the game and a slow 4.90 40-yard dash. Still, Pough has drawn interest from several teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, who are looking to replace recently-retired Ray Lewis.

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Again, while none of these players are considered first-round material, all three will definitely get their chance to play at the next level. Expect Pough and Hamilton to be off the board by the fourth round and Hyppolite might not be far behind. We’ll definitely be watching for when their names are called.

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