2021 Football

Top HBCU Performances – Week 3

Florida A&M safety extraordinaire Markquese Bell moves in for one of his game-high 15 tackles Saturday vs. South Florida. The HBCU players who passed, rushed, received and defended the best this week are listed and profiled here.

There were plenty Top HBCU Performances to choose from in Week 3 (games of Sept. 16 and Sept. 18) of the 2021 football season. As the season is progressing, the best passers, runners, receivers and defenders are putting up some gaudy numbers. See the list below



Tops among the HBCU passing performers this week was Chowan quarterback Bryce Witt, who threw for 405 yards and seven, count ‘em seven touchdowns, as the Indians moved to 3-0 with a 49-19 win over Erskine. Witt leads the CIAA with 911 passing yards in three games, an average of 303.3 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

By the way, Chowan is the only 3-0 team in HBCU football right now.

Those numbers would put Witt just inside the top 20 in passing yards and passing yards per game in NCAA Div. II football through three weeks of the season. He has increased his output each week. He threw for 237 yards and two TDs in Week 1, 274 yards and two TDs in Week 2 before this week’s breakout game.

More top passers


Witt was not alone in putting up big passing numbers this week. Eight other passers topped the 300-yard mark. Four threw for three or more touchdowns. Norfolk State senior Juwan Carter was second to Witt’s seven TD tosses with five and passed for 353 yards. His counterpart for Elizabeth City State in a 63-26 NSU win, ECSU’s Kevin Caldwell, passed for 339 yards and four TDs.

Prairie View senior transfer Jawan Pass threw for 365 yards and TDs covering 27 and 63 yards in the Panthers’ win over Houston Baptist.

Interestingly, five of the eight QBs other than Witt that topped the 300-yard mark, did so in losing efforts by their teams.



The top HBCU rushing effort of the week goes to freshman running back Jada Bynes of Virginia Union who ran roughshod, around and through Virginia-Lynchburg defenders to the tune of 202 yards in 15 carries (13.3 yards per carry) in a 49-7 Panthers’ win. Bynes is a 5-7, 171-pounder from Hammonton, New Jersey.

Nine others topped the 100-yard mark. Shaw sophomore Sidney Gibbs had the next highest output as he carried 14 times for 150 yards during a 52-0 thrashing of Central State. He had the longest scoring run of the day of 58 yards. Tuskegee’s Ivonte Patterson ran for 145 yards on 30 carries and had three 1-yard TD runs as the Golden Tigers won their first game, 23-6 over Edward Waters.



Thirteen (13) receivers topped 100 receiving yards in this week’s games.

Hampton senior Hezekiah Grimsley, a transfer from Virginia Tech, led all receivers with 165 yards on only three receptions. He hauled in a 95-yard TD from QB Jeff Duffey in the Pirates’ 45-32 win in Washington, D. C. over Howard. He also had 13- and 57-yard receptions.  

Xavier Smith of Florida A&M had the most single-game receptions with 15 for 139 yards in the Rattlers’ loss to South Florida. Chowan 5-10, 190-pound senior wideout Imeek Watkins was the touchdown leader on the week as he brought in four of Witt’s seven scoring throws. He finished with five catches for 64 yards and TD receptions of 4, 33, 3 and 4 yards.


Miller Jr.

Two of the top HBCU NFL prospects put on scintillating double-digit performances against FBS competition to lead this week’s top tacklers.

Missouri transfer linebacker Aubrey Miller Jr. of Jackson State had 16 stops, seven solos and nine assists, as the Tigers dropped their first game 12-7 at Louisiana-Monroe. The 6-2, 225-pound senior and his defensive cohorts kept ULM out of the end zone, only surrendering 250 total yards and four field goals in the loss.

Florida A&M senior safety Markquese Bell was just as impressive. While his Rattlers fell 38-7 to South Florida, Bell totalled 15 tackles, with 10 solos, a sack for -9 yards and a forced fumble. Bell is listed at 6-3, 205.



Chowan’s 6-4, 290-pound senior defensive tackle Rafiq Abdul-Wahid led the sack brigade as he brought down Erskine quarterbacks 2.5 times for -11 yards. Eight others had 2.0 sacks including two of Abdul-Wahid’s teammates, Gilbert Ortiz and Isaac Anderson (Ortiz was later credited with another half-sack). Chowan had nine sacks in the game.


Alabama A&M’s Trenell Troutman, Lane’s Walter Tatum and Virginia Union’s Marquis Hamilton each had two interceptions over the weekend. Troutman and Tatum’s came in final-minute closeout stops for their teams.

Top HBCU Performances in Week 3



Bryce Witt, CHOW 22-33-0 405 7 (4, 8, 33, 3, 4, 14, 58)

Jawon Pass, PVAM 24-35-1 365 2 (27, 63)

Quinton Williams, HOW 22-37-2 357 3 (40, 16, 22) 2

Juwan Carter, NSU 23-30-0 353 5 (19, 18, 32, 16, 13)

Kevin Caldwell, ECSU 26-38-0 339 4 (71, 16, 15, 36)

Anderson Lazar, LIV 21-36-1 334 3 (44, 80, 27)

Tyrell Jackson, FVSU 29-38-3 321 2 (20, 42)


Eric Phoenix, BEN 21-36-2 306 0

Jeff Duffey, HAMP 14-22-0 300 2 (32, 95)

J’Rell Joseph, BLST 15-23-0 273 2 (45, 95)

Felix Harper, ALC 20-33-1 265 1 (2)

Geremy Hickbottom, TNST 15-25-1 264 3 (18, ?, ?)

Shedeur Sanders, JSU 28-41-1 259 1 (24)

Rasean McKay, FAMU 25-49-0 248 1 (6)



Jada Byers, VUU 15 202 2 (15, 31)

Sidney Gibbs, SHAW 14 150 1 (58)

Ivonte Patterson, TUSK 30 145 3 (1, 1, 1)

Devon Starling, TNST 23 142 0

Donte Edwards, MILES 22 139 0

D’Vonn Gibbons, SAVST 20 138 2 (15, 31)

Quayshawn Byrd, B-CU 21 132 2 (14, 1)

J. J. Davis, NSU 8 121 2 (1, 72)

Wader Hemingway, JCSU 18 102 1 (13)



Hezekiah Grimsley, HAMP 3 165 1 (95)

Laurence King, CHOW 9 162 1 (14)

Lasirto Byant, LIV 5 153 2 (80, 27)

Xavier Smith, FAMU. 15 139 0

C. J. Bolar, ALC 5 128 0

Will Vereen, SCST 9 118 1 (18)

Justin Smith, NSU 5 118 2 (19, 13)

Erron Price, FVSU 10 109 1 (20)

Brandon Joyner, ECSU 4 107 1 (71)

Antoine Murray, HOW 4 106 1 ()

Shemar Bridges, FVSU 12 105. 0

Evan Fair, PVAM 5 105 1 (63)

Said Sibibe, CSU 9 101 0



16. Aubrey Miller Jr., JSU;

15 Marquise Bell, FAMU;

12 Jalon Thigpen, UAPB; Bradarious Rawlings, ALB;  Kenny Gallop, HOW

11 Dre Jackson, EWU; Devon Cathcart, LINP;  Mitchell Smiley, MILES;

Elijah Williams, MSU; William Horne, VUL; 

10 Montre Moore, CHOW; Joseph White, CSU; Flakewood Tucker, LANE;

Carl Gonzalez, MHS; Ta’shaun Taylor, WSSU;

Noah Rainbow-Douglas, NCCU; Jhordan Inniss, BLST; Taeyon Reynolds, ECSU; 

Lawrence Richardson, MSU; 


2.5 Rafiq Abdul-Wahid, Gilberto Ortiz, CHOW;

2.0 Isaac Anderson, CHOW; Joshua Pryor, BSU; Jordan Lewis, SOU; 

Raevon Freeman, ECSU; Sage Beuchert-Irvine, Chris Myers, NSU; Raevon Freeman, ECSU;

1.5 Loren Young, LANG; De’Shaan Dixon, NSU;



2 Trenell Troutman, AA&M; Walter Tatum, LANE;

Marquis Hamilton, VUU; 

1 25 others

Top HBCU Performances – Week 3
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