|Southern alum Aeneas Williams announced the Arizona Cardinals 2013 NFL Draft pick.|
After a silent night in the first round of the NFL Draft, HBCU players took center stage in the second round on Friday night. Four ex-HBCU stars made their way to the podium with commissioner Roger Godell…only none of them will be suiting up for the 2014 NFL season. For the second time in three years, no HBCU prospects were selected in the draft’s first three rounds. That tidbit tells you all you need to know about the current situation black college football finds itself in.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js The players who came to the podium were legends, selected to announce their team’s second round picks. They included Hall of Famers Harry Carson (South Carolina State), Larry Little (Bethune-Cookman) recent selections Claude Humphreys (Tenn. State) and Aeneas Williams (Southern) as well as a man who should be in the HOF, former FAMU star Ken Riley.
For perspective on the goldmine that HBCU football was in the 60s/70s, consider the # of legends announcing 2nd rd picks who are HBCU alums
— J.I. Halsell (@SalaryCap101) May 10, 2014
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js The fact that no HBCU players were picked in the first three rounds was not a real surprise to most observers. Players like Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell and Tennessee State tight end A.C. Leonard are talented players, but both ran into trouble in their first stops in the big leagues and scouts are still hesitant to touch them.
Then there’s a player like Winston-Salem State’s Carlos Fields who has no question marks related to character, but the fact that he never signed with a big school makes many people skeptical as to whether or not he can play in the pros.
Saturday should be a better day for players from HBCUs. Expect players like Crowell and Fields to get picked in the late rounds, while potentially a dozen more will sign with teams as undrafted free agents. (Shameless plug: We’ll be posting all the latest news here.)
While there are still talented players coming through the HBCU pipeline, the fact that not even one player was picked in the first 100 selections pretty much tells us what we already know: Three to Five Star high school prospects are not choosing to play at HBCUs unless they have no other choice. And the gap is getting wider every year.