Thursday, August 18, 2016
GREENSBORO, North Carolina -- South Carolina State University defensive tackle Javon Hargrave was the first black college football player taken in April’s NFL draft. Hargrave, a 6-foot-1, 309-pounder, was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Defensive Player of the Year was clearly one of the best players in the country last season from a historically black college or university.
Hargrave’s teammate, tight end Temarrick Hemingway, was a sixth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams. North Carolina Central University defensive back Ryan Smith was a fourth-round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In taking an early look ahead to this season, there are some very talented HBCU prospects who have the potential to play on Sundays like so many other black college football standouts such as Terron Armstead (New Orleans Saints, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Chris Baker (Washington Redskins, Hampton University), Antoine Bethea (San Francisco 49ers, Howard University), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (New York Giants, Tennessee State University) and others.
The No. 1 HBCU prospect looks to be North Carolina A&T State University running back Tarik Cohen, and it’s hard to argue with all his accomplishments on the gridiron. At 5-foot-7 and 173 pounds, Cohen is a little man with big-game talent. The Aggies’ senior rusher opened a lot of eyes while leading NC A&T State to an exciting 41-34 victory over Alcorn State University in the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on national television. Cohen put on quite a show, rushing for 295 yards while scoring three touchdowns against the Braves.