It was tough sledding for some HBCU NFL performers this week. On the offensive side of the ball, the teams of all four starting offensive lineman suffered losses.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis linebacker Darius Leonard was making history.
Leonard, the fourth-year perennial all-pro out of South Carolina State was his usual destructive self on defense. He totalled seven tackles and a forced fumble in the Colts’ 45-31 win over the New York Jets Thursday night.
HBCU NFL – History maker
Leonard has been labelled “The Playmaker” and “The Maniac” for the insane number of plays he makes on defense. But you can add “History Maker” to that title now.
Leonard became the first player in NFL history to record four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He is the first to do it in the first nine games to begin a season.
He is currently tied for the NFL lead with four forced fumbles. Leonard is also tied for 17th in the NFL with 67 total tackles, 40 solo tackles and 27 assists. He had a season-high 12 tackles in a tough 31-25 loss to Baltimore on a Monday night game on Oct. 11.
Currently the highest paid linebackeri in the NFL, Leonard’s production is putting him in the conversation for the Defensive Player of the Year award. Leonard signed a five-year deal for $99.2 million with $52.5 million guaranteed in August. The deal keeps Leonard with the Colts through his age-31 season. He is set to become a free agent in 2027.
Lighter in the pocket
Leonard also took to Twitter this week to say the NFL fined him for “showing too much skin.” He’s dumbfounded. He says he’s worn “the same uniform the exact same way” for all four years of his career.
Don’t be surprised if Leonard appeals this fine to the league.
HBCU NFL ProFile – Offensive linemen
It’s interesting to note that there are now four HBCU NFL linemen in starting positions in the league.
New Orleans Saints nine-year veteran Terron Armstead out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff is the veteran of the group. The three-time Pro Bowler has been starting since midway through his rookie season in 2013.
Alabama State product Tytus Howard has been starting for Houston since he was taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. This season, Howard, drafted as a tackle, has been starting for the Texans at left offensive guard.
Former N. C. A&T offensive tackle Brandon Parker became a starter three games ago for the Las Vegas Raiders and has performed well. Parker was picked in the third round of the 2018 draft by the Raiders.
Trent Scott is now the starting right guard for the Carolina Panthers. Scott was signed as a free agent offensive tackle out of Grambling State in 2018 (by the LA Chargers).
BCSP NFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
– #53 DARIUS LEONARD, LB, Indianapolis (4th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – In 45-31 win over the NY Jets, Leonard had seven total tackles, five solos and a forced fumble. Leonard was in on all 74 defensive snaps (100%) and four special teams’ snaps (13%).
– #75 BRANDON PARKER, OT, Las Vegas (4th season, NORTH CAROLINA A&T) – In 23-16 loss to the New York Giants, Parker started at right tackle for an offense that rushed for 117 yards and passed for 296 yards and a score. Raiders’ QB Derek Carr was sacked just once. Parker was in on all 69 offensive plays (100%) and five special teams’ plays (19%).
– #49 TRENTON CANNON, RB/KR, San Francisco (4th season, VIRGINIA STATE) – In 31-17 loss to Arizona, Cannon had two kickoff returns for 45 yards (22.5 yards per return) with a long return of 23 yards. He played 18 snaps on special teams (69%).
OTHER TOP PERFORMANCES
– #72 TERRON ARMSTEAD, OT, New Orleans (9th season, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – Started at left tackle in the Saints’ 27-25 loss to Atlantas. New Orleans rushed for 108 yards and passed for 282 yards. New Orleans QBs were sacked just once. Armastead was in on all 76 offensive plays (100%) and did not play on special teams.
– #71 TYTUS HOWARD, OG, Houston (3rd season, ALABAMA STATE) – Starting at left offensive guard in Texans’ 17-9 loss to Miami. Howard and the offense generated 73 rushing yards and 240 passing yards and gave up five sacks. Howard was in on all 69 offensive plays (100%) and three special teams’ play (12%).
– #80 CHESTER ROGERS, WR, Tennessee (5th season, GRAMBLING STATE) – In 28-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Rogers did not have a catch in one target but had one punt return for 11 yards.. Rogers was in on 19 plays on offense (33%) and five plays on special teams (19%).
– #78 TRENT SCOTT, OL, Carolina (3rd season, NORTH CAROLINA A&T) – Started at right guard for Panthers in 24-6 loss to New England. The Panthers rushed for 78 yards and passed for 172 with QB Sam Darnold sacked just once. Scott played all 59 offensive plays (100%) and two plays on special teams (9%).
– #97 JAVON HARGRAVE, DT, Philadelphia (6th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – In 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Hargrave had three total tackles, two solos. He played on 52 defensive snaps (75%) and did not play on special teams.
– #90 GROVER STEWART, DT, Indianapolis (5th season, ALBANY STATE) – In Colts’ 45-30 win over the New York Jets, Stewart an assisted tackle and one hit on the quarterback. He was in on 32 defensive plays (42%) and 11 on special teams (37%).
– #33 ANTONIO HAMILTON, DB, Arizona (6th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – In 31-17 win over San Francisco, Hamilton had one assisted tackle while logging 16 plays on special teams (62%).
– #66 JOSH MILES, OT, Arizona (3rd season, MORGAN STATE) – In Arizona’s 31-17 win over San Francisco, Miles got in on five special teams’ plays (19%).
– #7 JAMIE GILLAN, P, Cleveland (3rd season, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – In Browns’ 41-26 win over Cincinnati, Gillan punted three times for 118 yards (39.3-yard average, 32.0 net) with one downed inside the 20. Gillan was in on 11 special teams’ plays (39%).
– #41 ANTHONY LEVINE SR., DB, Baltimore (10th season, TENNESSEE STATE) – In Ravens’ 34-31 win over Minnesota, Levin had no stats while playing on 27 special teams’ snaps (82%).