Week Two for HBCU NFL players turned out to be a splash debut for LA Rams’ rookie defensive back Decobie “Cobie” Durant. It was also a productive week for veteran wideout Khadarel Hodge of Atlanta.
Durant, a SC State product, made two ‘splash plays’ in the Rams’ win over Atlanta.
He grabbed his first career interception in the second quarter and got his first career sack in the third period. Both came at the expense of Atlanta QB Marcus Mariota during the Rams 31-27 win over the Falcons Sunday in Inglewood, Ca.
The interception was returned 51 yards down to the Atlanta 7 where Durant was tackled by Mariota and an Atlanta lineman. The Rams scored a TD three plays later.
The sack, off a corner blitz, was reminiscent of his takedown of Jackson State QB Shedeur Sanders in the 2021 Celebration Bowl. This one went for -7 yards and resulted in an Atlanta punt. For the day, Durant totaled just two tackles but the ‘splash’ plays earned him this week’s defensive player of the week honors.
See video of the sack, here.
HBCU NFL Report: The Durant profile
Durant “made a memorable first impression in training camp and the preseason with both his fearless playmaking and his outgoing personality,” said Rams’ staff writer Stu Jackson in his story Sunday about the rookie’s exploits.
The rookie got into the Falcons’ game after cornerback Troy Hill left the game early with a groin injury. In the Rams’ opening week loss to Buffalo, Durant had only played on special teams.
The pick and the sack both had a tangible impact overall on the Rams defense, Jackson said.
“Man, it keeps the energy up,” safety Nick Scott told theRams.com. “I mean, we’re extremely proud of him because we know what he’s capable of. We were a little excited seeing him come in the game, making his first couple of snaps. And he did his thing. He held his own. There’s no drop off. So we’re proud of him. We’re excited for what he’s gonna do the rest of the season and his entire career.”
HBCU NFL report: Khadarel Hodge
Durant was not the only former HBCU player to stand out in the Rams vs. Falcons game.
Khadarel Hodge, a fifth-year wide receiver out of Prairie View A&M, had two catches in the game in three targets for 57 yards. Hodge had a long reception of 39 yards that he pulled in in the second quarter. It led to Atlanta’s first points, a 26-yard field goal.
His 18-yard reception in the third quarter was part of an 8-play, 72-yard drive that culminated in an Atlanta touchdown. The score pulled Atlanta to within 31-17.
HBCU NFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
For games of September 15 – 19, 2022
– #14 COBIE DURANT, CB, LA Rams (1st season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – In Rams’ 31-27 win over Atlanta, Durant had two tackles on defense, one blind side sack for -7 yards of Falcons’ QB Marcus Mariota, one pass defended and one interception he returned 51 yards to the Atlanta 7-yard line. Durant got in for 23 defensive snaps (38%) and nine special teams’ snaps (39%).
– #12 KHADAREL HODGE, WR, Atlanta (5th season, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M) – In 31-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Hodge had two receptions on three targets for 57 yards (28.5 yards per catch) with a long catch of 39 yards. Hodge played 12 plays on offense (20%), one on defense (2%) and 13 on special teams (57%).
– #6 JAMIE GILLAN, P, New York Giants (5th season, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – Gillan punted five times for 253 yards (50.6-yard average with 43.2-yard net) in 19-16 win over Carolina. Gillan had a long punt of 67 yards and one go into the end zone for a touchback. Gillan was in for ten (33%) special teams’ plays.
OTHER TOP HBCU NFL PERFORMANCES
– #71 TYTUS HOWARD, OG, Houston (4th season, ALABAMA STATE) – Former first round pick started at right tackle in 16-9 loss to Denver. He played all 64 offensive snaps (100%) and three on special teams (12%). The Texans rushed for 80 yards and passed for 177 yards while giving up three sacks for -23 yards.
– #72 TERRON ARMSTEAD, LT, New Orleans (9th season, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF) – Started for Dolphins at left tackle in 42-38 come-from-behind win over Baltimore. Miami rushed for 86 yards and Tua Taogovailoa passed for 469 yards (36-50-2) and six TDs while being sacked just once. Armstead logged all 71 (100%) offensive snaps.
– #69 JA’TYRE CARTER, OL, Chicago (1st season, SOUTHERN) – Carter was inactive in 27-10 loss to Green Bay.
– #78 TRENT SCOTT, OT, Pittsburgh (5th season, GRAMBLING STATE) – Did not play in 17-14 loss to New England.
– #60 NICK LEVERETT, OL, Tampa Bay (2nd season, NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL) – Did not play in 20-10 win over New Orleans.
– #90 GROVER STEWART, DT, Indianapolis (6th season, ALBANY STATE) – In 24-0 loss to Jacksonville, Steward had five total tacles, three solos and two assists, while playing 48 defensive snaps (68%) and four snaps on special teams (20%).
– #40 DARRYL JOHNSON, DE, Seattle (4th season, NORTH CAROLINA A&T) – In 27-7 loss to San Francisco, Johnson had one solo tackle for a loss on defense and one solo tackle on special teams. He got in on 18 defensive plays (24%) and 22 special teams’ plays (96%).\
– #27 BOBBY PRICE, CB, Detroit (3rd season, NORFOLK STATE) – In 36-27 win over Washington, Price had one special teams’ solo tackle while playing 15 defensive snaps (20%) and 25 special teams’ snaps (78%).
– #23 JOSHUA WILLIAMS, CB, Kansas City (1st season, FAYETTEVILLE STATE) – In 27-24 win Thursday night, Williams did not have a stat while playing 12 (38%) special teams’ plays.
– #41 MARKQUESE BELL, S, Dallas (1st season, FLORIDA A&M) – Moved to active squad in 20-17 win over Cincinnati, Bell did not have a stat while playing nine (35%) special teams’ plays.
– # 97 JAVON HARGRAVE, DT, Philadelphia (7th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – Started at defensive tackle for the Eagles in 24-7 win over Minnesota finishing with one assisted tackle and one hit on the quarterback. Hargrave was in on 38 plays on defense (62%).
– #64 RODERICK PERRY, DT, Cleveland (2nd season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – Active, but did not play, in 31-30 loss to the New York Jets.
– #47 DE’SHAAN DIXON, DE, Jacksonville (1st season, NORFOLK STATE) – Inactive in 24-0 win over Indianapolis.
– #56 QUINTON BELL, OLB, Atlanta (2nd year, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M) – Did not play in 31-27 loss to the LA Rams.
– #53 SHAQUILLE LEONARD, LB, Indianapolis (5th season, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE) – Was inactive in 24-0 shutout loss to Jacksonville.
– #23 TRENTON CANNON, RB/KR, Tennessee (5th season, VIRGINIA STATE) – Cannon injured his knee without returning the kick on the opening kickoff vs. Buffalo Monday. The Titans lost to the Bills 41-7. Cannon stayed on the ground after the Bills fielded the opening kickoff, which ended up as a touchback on the first action of the game.