53 man roster
2018 Football

HBCU players look to shine in NFL season debuts

Who is ready to have a breakout year?


The NFL preseason is fully underway and HBCU rookies and veterans alike are looking for their shine. South Carolina State’s Jalen Simmons got in on the action Thursday night scoring a touchdown for the New York Giants.

Simmons had seven rushes for 38 yards and a touchdown to go along with one six-yard catch. Simmons went undrafted in the 2016 draft but has spent time on the Chargers and Carolina Panthers practice squad.

Ryan Smith

Former North Carolina Central cornerback Ryan Smith led Tampa Bay on Thursday night with seven tackles (five solo) and one pass deflection.  Smith is entering his third season in the league, all with the Buccaneers.

Darius Leonard

Darius Leonard has South Carolina State on the lips of a lot of people this summer. The top HBCU draft pick of 2018 backed up solid training camp practice with four tackles (one solo) on Thursday versus the Seahawks.

Javon Hargrave

Leonard’s former teammate at SCSU, Javon Hargrave, kicked off his third season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had two tackles and one for a loss on Thursday night against the Eagles.

Danny Johnson

Southern’s Danny Johnson and Grambling’s Martez Carter are both hoping to stick with Washington this season. Carter wasn’t available on Thursday night but Johnson chipped in with four solo tackles at cornerback. Former Texas Southern receiver Darvin Kidsy grabbed one reception for five yards on Thursday night.

Friday night lights

The action continues on Friday with an opportunity to see a couple of guys with the Oakland Raiders. Alabama State’s Jylan Ware and North Carolina A&T’s Brandon Parker both play along the offensive line.

Virginia State’s Trent Cannon had a breakout training camp with the New York Jets as a returner, he’ll get an opportunity to do it against opposing jerseys on Friday versus the Falcons.



HBCU players look to shine in NFL season debuts
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