Indianapolis linebacker Darius Leonard again leads this week’s HBCU NFL ProFile.
The South Carolina State product continues to will the Colts to wins. On Sunday, he posted seven tackles and a forced fumble as Indy beat San Francisco 31-18. The two-time all-Pro is not putting up the gaudy numbers he did in previous seasons. Still, he is the captain and unquestioned inspirational leader of the Colts’ defense.
Continuing to shine
So far this season through seven games, Leonard has 52 total tackles, tops on the Colts and 19th best in the league. He had a season’s best 12 tackles in a heartbreaking 31-25 loss in overtime to Baltimore in Week 5.
Leonard led the NFL in tackles in his rookie season of 2018 with 145. Ninety-three (93) were of the solo variety, also tops in the league. In his second season, he had 99 stops before rising above the century mark again in 2020 with 122. Leonard had 76 solos last season.
For his career, the 6-2, 230-pounder has also posted 15 sacks, none this season, and nine interceptions. He has two picks this year.
Others on defense
Southern University’s Danny Johnson saw his first extended defensive action in Washington’s 24-10 loss to Green Bay Sunday.
Johnson, used last year as the WFT’s primary kickoff returner, showed his defensive prowess. He came off the bench to post four solo tackles, defend one pass and force a fumble. He played more than half of the defensive snaps (34, 61%) and special teams plays (11, 58%) in the game.
HBCU NFL ProFile – Offense
Week seven of the NFL season saw the return of veteran all-Pro offensive lineman Terron Armstead of New Orleans. The Arkansas-Pine Bluff product had been out for a month after suffering an elbow injury in week three. He returned to help the Saints get a a 13-10 win over Seattle Monday night.
Las Vegas right offense tackle Brandon Parker wins the Offensive POW award in consecutive weeks. The NCA&T product started his second straight game and helped QB Derek Carr and Raiders to a 33-22 win over Philadelphia Sunday. Parker and his offensive line cohorts kept the vaunted Eagles pass rush from sacking Carr. The Raider offense put up 442 total yards.
Of note this week was the first career start for Tennessee State product Lachavious Simmons for the Chicago Bears. Simmons was the only HBCU player taken in the 2020 NFL draft. He played 22 snaps on offense in the Bears’ 38-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
HBCU NFL ProFile – Special Teams
Cleveland punter Jamie Gillan, known as the ‘Scottish Hammer’ was instrumental in the Browns’ 17-14 win over Denver. He averaged 51.7 yards on three punts with a booming long punt of 65 yards. Two of his boomers landed inside the 20.
Baltimore’s Antonio Levine Sr. (Tennessee State) and Arizona’s Antonio Hamilton (SC State) both had special teams’ tackles Sunday. But perhaps the most exciting special teams’ play was turned in by Detroit defensive back Bobby Price.
Price hauled in a 17-yard pass on a fake punt from Detroit punter Jack Fox Sunday. The Lions fell 28-19 to the LA Rams Sunday. The Lions pulled off the trickeration in the first quarter of the game.
See it here:
HBCU NFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
For games of October 21-25, 2021
– #53 DARIUS LEONARD, LB, Indianapolis (4th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – In 31-18 win over San Francisco, Leonard had seven total tackles, two solos and five assists, one hit on the quarterback and a forced fumble. Leonard was in on all 56 defensive snaps (100%) and three special teams’ snap (11%).
– #75 BRANDON PARKER, OT, Las Vegas (4th season, NORTH CAROLINA A&T) – In 33-22 win over Philadelphia, Parker started at right tackle on an offense that rushed for 119 yards and passed for 323 yards. QB Derek Carr was not sacked. Parker was in on all 66 offensive plays (100%) and five special teams’ plays (21%).
– #7 JAMIE GILLAN, P, Cleveland (3rd season, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – In 17-14 win over Denver, Gillan punted three times for 155 yards, an average of 51.7 yards per punt, with two downed inside the 20. Gillan’s longest punt was of 65 yards. Gillan was in on seven special teams’ plays (35%).
OTHER TOP PERFORMANCES
– #18 KHADAREL HODGE, WR, Detroit (4th season, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M) – In Lions’ 28-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Hodge had one catch for 3 yards. He got in on 33 offensive plays (48%) and six plays on special teams (24%).
– #71 TYTUS HOWARD, OG, Houston (3rd season, ALABAMA STATE) – Starting at left offensive guard in Texans’ 31-5 loss to Arizona. Howard and the offense generated 42 rushing yards and 135 passing yards and gave up two sacks. Howard was in on all 56 offensive plays (100%) and one special teams’ play (4%).
– #80 CHESTER ROGERS, WR, Tennessee (5th season, GRAMBLING STATE) – Fighting a groin injury, Rogers was not active in a 27-3 win over Kansas City.
– #78 TRENT SCOTT, OL, Carolina (3rd season, NORTH CAROLINA A&T) – In 25-3 loss to the New York Giants, Scott got in as a back-up offensive tackle on 17 offensive plays (27%). Carolina rushed for 56 yards and passed for 144 yards in the game.
– #73 LACHAVIOUS SIMMONS, OT, Chicago (2nd season, TENNESSEE STATE) – Simmons started at right offensive tackle and also played guard in the Bears’ 38-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Chicago’s offense rushed for 143 yards and passed for 184 yards with QB Justin Fields sacked four times (-16 yards). Simmons played 22 snaps on offense (33%) and one on special teams (4%).
– #72 TERRON ARMSTEAD, OT, New Orleans (9th season, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – Armstead, after missing the last three games, returned as the starter at left tackle in the Saints’ 13-10 win over Seattle Monday night. New Orleans rushed for 94 yards and passed for 222 yards in the win with QB Jameis Winston sacked twice (-12 yards). He was in on all 74 offensive plays (100%) and did not play on special teams.
– #36 DANNY JOHNSON, DB, WASHINGTON (4th season, SOUTHERN) – In 24-10 loss to Green Bay, Johnson played off the bench in the defensive backfield and had four solo tackles, forced a fumble and was credited with one pass defended. He got in on 34 plays on defense (61%) and 11 plays on special teams (58%).
– #97 JAVON HARGRAVE, DT, Philadelphia (6th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – In 33-22 loss to Las Vegas, Hargrave had seven assisted tackles, no solos, and one hit on the quarterback. He played on 49 defensive snaps (74%) and two special teams’ plays (8%).
– #90 GROVER STEWART, DT, Indianapolis (5th season, ALBANY STATE) – In Colts’ 31-18 win over San Francisco, Stewart had two total tackles with one solo. He was in on 29 defensive plays (52%) and seven on special teams (25%).
– #33 ANTONIO HAMILTON, DB, Arizona (6th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – In 31-5 win over Houston, Hamilton had one special teams’ solo tackle and one assisted tackle. He logged 12 plays on defense (12%) and 18 plays on special teams (69%).
– #92 DARRYL JOHNSON JR., DE, Carolina (3rd season, NORTH CAROLINA A&T) – Was inactive vs. the NY Giants.
– #27 BOBBY PRICE, FS, Detroit (2nd season, NORFOLK STATE) – In 28-19 loss to the LA Rams, Price caught a 17-yard pass off a fake punt. He was in on 11 special teams’ plays (44%).
– #41 ANTONIO LEVINE SR., SS, Baltimore (8th season, TENNESSEE STATE) – In 41-17 loss to Cincinnati, Levine had one special teams’ tackle. The special teams ace was in on 29 plays (91%).