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NFL Week One: Five HBCU alumni who shined

NFL stars from HBCUs showcase their talent in week one action.

NFL Week One: Five HBCU alumni who shined

The NFL is here and week one is in the books. Although HBCU athletes may not be vastly featured throughout the 32 clubs, they make a big impact when they are.

These five players across the league played pivotal roles in their teams’ performances

Ryan Smith, CB (North Carolina Central)

Ryan Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed his strength in the high scoring victory over New Orleans. Though this game was leaning more towards offense, Smith finished with four tackles and a pass deflection. His biggest play comes from recovering a fumble from the Saints.

Antoine Bethea, S (Howard)

Antoine Bethea stepped up big defensively during a long day for the Cardinals against the Redskins. The veteran set the tone by getting the first Arizona sack of the season on QB Alex Smith.  Bethea finished the afternoon third in Arizona defensive stats with nine solo tackles and one tackle for a loss.

Isiah Crowell, RB (Alabama State)

Crowell had himself a night for the Jets on Monday Night Football. In their dominant victory over Detroit, Crowell was the lead rusher for New York with 102 yards and two touchdowns with a 62-yard long cherry on top, the longest touchdown run on the road for the Jets. Crowell finished the night averages 10.2 yards per carry.

Trent Cannon, RB (Virginia State)

The Jets backfield is locked and loaded with HBCU talent as rookie Trent Cannon also showed up in his first Monday Night Football debut. His impact went beyond carrying the ball, as he finished the night with 15 yards. Instead, he showed us how well-rounded of a back he is with some big blocks to help the Jets secure a punt return to the house for a touchdown.

Tarik Cohen, RB (North Carolina A&T)

Chicago found passion and execution in Cohen. Bears fans love him, which explains why some were shocked to see he didn’t lead in carries in their narrow loss against Green Bay. Nonetheless, Cohen was solid, finishing the game with five carries and catching three-of-four targets for 41 total yards.

HBCU Gameday journalist. Bowie State University alumna. Prince George's county enthusiast.

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