South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough has been receiving his flowers since he announced that he is retiring after the 2023 season. Pough deserves praise for becoming the all-time winningest coach in South Carolina State history but he also deserves praise for sending his players to the NFL.
Pough entered the season with an overall record of 146-87 with a 112-42 record in the MEAC. He has won three MEAC titles outright in 2008, 2009 and 2021 and five co-titles in 2004, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2019. He has made four NCAA FCS football playoff appearances and won the Celebration Bowl in 2021. Along with boasting his winning resume, Pough can boast about being responsible for sending 15 players to the NFL according to Pro Football Reference.
HBCU players have always struggled to make the rosters of NFL teams, but Pough has produced 15 NFL players in his 22 years at South Carolina State. Shaquan Davis signed as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints earlier this year after catching 128 passes for 2,407 yards and 29 touchdowns while playing under Pough. (Editor’s note: Davis was cut earlier this week but may still end up on a practice roster.)
He coached Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard as he record 416 solo tackles, 15 sacks, nine forced fumbles, and seven interceptions in his career under Pough. Pough also coached San Francisco defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to rack up 63.0 tackles for loss and 37 sacks, making him one the best defenders in school history.
Davis, Leonard and Hargrave are just a few names that played under Pough. Here’s the complete list of players who were coached by Buddy Pough:
Davis played under Pough from 2019-2022 and signed as an undrafted free agent to the New Orleans Saints.
Durant played under Pough from 2018-2021 and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.
Perry started his career under Pough from 2016-2019 before transferring to the University of Illinois. In 2022, he was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Cleveland Browns. He is currently playing for the Seattle Seahawks.
Taylor played under Pough from 2018-2019 and signed as an undrafted free agent to the Cleveland Browns in 2020. He currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys.
Brown played under Pough from 2014-2018 and signed as an undrafted free agent to the San Francisco 49ers.
Leonard played under Pough from 2013-2017 and was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
Hamilton played under Pough from 2013-2015 and signed as an undrafted free agent to the Oakland Raiders (Las Vegas Raiders) in 2016. He currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
Hargrave played under Pough from 2012-2015 and was selected in third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Pittsburg Steelers. He currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers.
Hemingway played under Pough from 2012-2015 and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Thomas played under Pough from 2010-2014 and signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015 to the Green Bay Packers.
Thompson played under Pough from 2009-2011 and was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
Adams played under Pough from 2006-2009 and was selected in seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Bush played under Pough from 2006-2010 and signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010 to the Atlanta Falcons.
McFadden played under Pough from 2012-2013 and signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 to the Atlanta Falcons.
Lee played under Pough from 2005-2007 and signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.