Reid’s HBCU watch list: Ranking the leading 10 senior potential customers
Jordan Reid, NFL draft analystAug 25, 2023, 07:00 AM ET Close Jordan Reid is an NFL draft expert for ESPN, providing thorough hunting on the nation’s leading professional potential customers. Jordan joined ESPN in 2021 and also adds to SportsCenter and ESPN Radio. He played quarterback at North Carolina Central University and then went on to coach there from 2014-18. You can follow Jordan on Twitter via @Jordan_Reid.
The 2023 college football season is finally upon us, and with it, HBCU play starts with the annual Cricket MEAC/SWAC Obstacle Kickoff. Saturday’s game includes a rematch of the 2021 Cricket Celebration Bowl, as Jackson State faces South Carolina State in Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN App).
Over the past decade, the NFL has actually made a lot of effort to provide more direct exposure for HBCU groups and showcase their players across the country. The HBCU Legacy Bowl and Reese’s Senior citizen Bowl HBCU combine have ended up being considerable occasions on the pre-draft calendar for all NFL groups. Just one HBCU player– Patriots cornerback Isaiah Bolden– was drafted this April, however we could see more in the 2024 NFL draft.After talking with many coaches, scouts and evaluators around the nation, I ranked the leading 10 HBCU senior prospects who could get picked next year after another great season. I consisted of players in both the FCS and Division II ranks however excluded underclassmen and current transfers who didn’t play at an HBCU school last season. Here are 10 to view as the games kick off, consisting of a standout quarterback. HT: 6-foot-4|WT: 250 pounds Anderson had a breakout 2022 season with 50 takes on, 12.5 deals with for loss, 7 sacks and two forced fumbles in 10 games, and he was voted preseason SWAC Defensive Player of the Year entering 2023. 4 of those seven sacks came in the last four games, so expectations are high this year.He’s a versatile edge rush who creates a ton of pressure on the quarterback and can win in
several methods, with the body flexibility to dip and turn the corner past blockers. Anderson likewise has actually the skill set to drop in protection. And while his playing weight hovered around 240 pounds last season, he’s supposedly as much as 250 this year.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated”His capability to get after the quarterback absolutely stood out when I watched him on tape,
“stated an AFC area
scout.”As a pass-rusher, he’s really rather comparable to [James] Houston … however he’s bigger, better and more dependable against the run.” I have actually heard primarily late-round grades for Anderson from scouts, and evaluators will have a Sept. 9 matchup against LSU circled on
their calendars as a crucial game for his draft stock. Grambling hasn’t had a protective player chosen considering that protective end Jason Hatcher (Cowboys, No. 92 in 2006), but Anderson could be next. Numerous scouts discussed he requires to improve his take-on strategy against the run, which could help enhance his draft status. HT: 6-foot-8 |
. WT: 365 pounds Dankwah was originally a soccer player throughout his childhood in Ghana prior to moving to Canada, which may have helped his quickness and suddenness. He is huge at 6-foot-8 and 365 pounds, but Dankwah is also a great mover for his size and is able to match the upfield motions of FCS rushers.He has actually primarily played left deal with throughout his career with the Bison
, and he appears to get better each season. Dankwah only started playing football in his junior year of high school, so he’s still dealing with the information of pass protection, though his large frame makes it challenging for protectors to get around. His run-blocking sits atop the favorable column on his scouting report, as he shows physicality and a capability to link and run his feet on contact to get motion on both single-and double-team blocks.”With those bigger offensive lineman, you always ask, how well do they move?”said an AFC scout. “He reveals great motion skills, but I wish to see him at an all-star game. That’ll be an excellent test for him because nobody in the FCS is navigating him at that size.”Dankwah was an essential part in assisting Howard win a share of the MEAC for the very first time because 1993 last season, and another good year might put him in the draft conversation. Offending take on Marques Ogden was the last offending Bison player prepared, when the Jaguars took him in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. Dankwah is getting a mix of late-round and undrafted grades today, but a chance to display his capability against pass-rushers from various levels of competition at an all-star occasion might truly get him into the Day 3 discussion. 3.
Willie Drew, CB, Virginia State
HT: 6-foot|WT: 185 pounds
Drew elected to stay in-state coming out of high school and participate in James Madison, where he was utilized as a rotational player and special-teams factor. But he chose to move to Virginia State following the 2019 season and quickly established himself as the leader of the Trojans’ defense. Drew lacked ball production in his first season, however he led the team with 5 interceptions and 12 passes defensed in a breakout redshirt junior year. Long and aggressive, he is competitive at the catch point and has a flair for discovering the ball in the air.His motion skills appear on tape. He has the speed to bring vertically and can alter directions unexpectedly with receivers at the Department II level. He supposedly ran in the low 4.4 s for NFL scouts in the 40-yard dash last spring. Drew has the height, speed and ball production that searches covet from a little school possibility, but critics want to see him genuinely control throughout his last season with the Trojans. With only one Department I challenger (Norfolk State on Sept. 2) on the schedule, postseason all-star games will likewise be a big determining factor of his draft status, which remains in the fringe Day 3 or undrafted variety today.
4. Davius Richard, QB, North Carolina Central HT: 6-foot-2|WT: 220 pounds Richard got his first game action throughout the 2nd game of his freshman season, and he hasn’t looked back because that moment. He’s a dual-threat quarterback who broke program records in 2022 for total offense (3,449 lawns) and completions (198) en route to North Carolina Central’s Cricket Event Bowl title win. Richard won MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, and he also recorded career-highs in hurrying backyards (788 ), passing goals (25) and hurrying scores (15 ). He has enough arm strength to get the ball to all 3 levels of the field, and his accuracy is improving; his completion portion leapt from 58.0% as a sophomore to 63.9% as a junior, setting a brand-new single-season school record.
“I went through there last spring, and the coaches raved about his management and love for the game,” an NFC scout said. “I still want to see him end up being more constant as a passer when driving the ball in the intermediate areas and over the middle, however. That UCLA game this year will tell us a lot about his outlook on the next level.”
How will Richard respond to a UCLA defense that has a lot of pro-level talent? He’s currently a undrafted free agent-level possibility, but a wedding day versus the Bruins might make scouts take notice. Tarvaris Jackson was the last HBCU quarterback to be drafted, taken by the Vikings in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft.
HT: 5-foot-10|WT: 200 pounds A prospective UDFA prospect, Howard began his profession at Syracuse, and his skill set translated to the Alcorn State offense immediately when he transferred over in 2022, hurrying for 1,270 yards and 12 touchdowns. He tape-recorded 20-plus brings in 10 of the 11 games last season, however he hasn’t had double-digit catches in any of his campaigns.play 0:19 Jarveon Howard enters for a 2-yard Alcorn State TD Jarveon Howard enters for a 2-yard TD
to offer the Braves the lead.A bruising runner and natural tackler-breaker
, Howard displays the capability to step through contact and produce
additional chances. He has a compact body frame and enough speed outdoors field to reel off explosive plays, however he is a downhill runner who mostly operates out of the handgun. The Braves include a mixture of run plans, but Howard is best served in a gap/power plan that pulls blockers.
6. Khalil Baker, S, North Carolina Central
HT: 6-foot|WT: 185 pounds
Probably the greatest breakout in the FCS ranks last season, Baker led the Eagles in takes on (61) and interceptions (four). He’s a versatile and hard-hitting security who plays from multiple positionings, and he has proven trusted in run assistance, running the street and taking excellent angles to the ball.His instincts
are the best part of his game, as Baker– another UDFA prospect– can dissect plays prior to they happen. He’s a see-it-and-attack third-level protector who produces a lot of turnover chances due to the fact that of that capability to diagnose concepts.
HT: 6-foot|WT: 210 pounds An under-recruited possibility, Howard was Gallop’s only scholarship deal while coming out of high school– however he wound up finishing second in the conference in deals with last season (93 ).
A run-chase-and-hit security, Gallop mostly plays low and as the overhang protector, so he often discovers himself around the ball. He packs lots of pop and had 7.5 deals with for loss in 2022. Gallop is typically used as a blitzer and can develop disturbance in the backfield. It doesn’t take long viewing his tape to observe his physicality, as he can stack, shed and finish on the border. But he also takes excellent angles when coming downhill in run support.The greatest location that hunts wish to see improvement? Ball production. Gallop doesn’t have an interception over three seasons. HT: 5-foot-10|WT: 180 pounds Morgan quickly became a star throughout his very first
year as a starter in 2022, completing with 42 deals with and a team-leading four interceptions. He trusts his eyes and is quick-reacting. Morgan diagnoses well in zone but can likewise step down into the slot to play man against receivers and tight ends. Anticipated to once again play numerous functions on the back end for the Rattlers ‘defense, he must take an even larger action in coverage and become a more consistent finisher as a tackler in the open field. Lots of scouts believe Morgan might shift to nickel corner in the future.Two critical matches are ahead to open the season: Jackson State( Sept. 3)and South Florida( Sept. 9)
. Evaluators will be relying greatly on that game tape when projecting Morgan’s capacity at the next level. HT: 6-foot-5|WT: 300 pounds After going to ASA College right out of high school, Stewart elected to jump to West Virginia after playing 2 seasons in the JUCO ranks. He then transferred to North Carolina A&T. He has played exclusively at ideal deal with for the Aggies and broke out in Year 1 as a full-time starter.What to understand for the