Get familiar with the the top 2018 NFL Draft prospects from HBCU schools.
Football prospects from HBCU institutions generally don’t attract much national media attention. So we figured we’d get you in the know with the top HBCU prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State (MEAC)
Ht: 6’2″ | Wt: 229
The rangy linebacker finished the 2017 season with 114 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and two interceptions for the Bulldogs. earning Leonard the 2017 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. Leonard then went on to rack up 14 tackles in the Reese’s Senior Bowl — facing off against many of the draft’s top prospects.
Leonard is the prototypical linebacker in the modern-day NFL. He’s fast, explosive and can make plays sideline-to-sideline. Leonard has increased his draft stock — especially after the Senior Bowl performance — and could climb higher with an impressive combine.
Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T (MEAC)
Ht: 6’7″ | Wt: 303
Parker, a mountain of a man, established himself as a top shelf lineman in 2016, while paving the way for former A&T back — and current Chicago Bear — Tarik Cohen. In 2017, he tarted all 12 games and earned MEAC offensive lineman of the week five times. Parker played in 779 gradable plays with 48 total knockdowns and an average grade of 87%. . . grading out at higher than 90% in five games. Parker was named first team All MEAC for the second consecutive season.
Parker was impressive at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and piqued scouts’ interest with his potential as a starting caliber NFL right tackle. HIs length, footwork and natural strength are all positives as he prepares for the combine.
Martez Carter, RB, Grambling State (SWAC)
Ht: 5’9″ | Wt: 205
Carter posted 854 rushing yards (5.1 yard per carry) in 2017, rushing for 10 touchdowns on 167 carries. He added another 449 and 3 touchdowns as a receiver. Billed by some as “a bigger Tarik Cohen”, Carter is electrifying with the ball in his hands.
Blessed with a natural low center of gravity — he’s short, not small — Carter is hard to bring down and displays wonderful contact balance. He is also a willing blocker and dangerous return man — with four career kick return TD. Disappointingly, he was not invited to the Scouting Combine, so his pro day workout will be quite important.
Danny Johnson, CB, Southern (SWAC)
Ht: 5’10” | Wt: 194
Johnson wrapped up his collegiate career with 16 interceptions — tied for the lead among Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). He also led all active FCS players in passes defended with 55. He was named a STATS FCS All-American after intercepting three passes while breaking up another 12. Johnson also displayed his versatility by accounting for six total touchdowns in five different ways — two interception returns, one punt return, one passing, one rushing and one receiving.
Johnson participated in the Senior Bowl and had a solid week of practice, showing good ball skills in coverage. He posted one tackle and one pass breakup in the game. He is in hopes to become the first Southern player drafted since 2004. He’ll participate in the scouting combine.
Trenton Cannon, RB, Virginia State (CIAA)
Ht: 5’10” | Wt: 182
Cannon absolutely stuffed the stat sheet for the Trojans. He rushed for 1,638 yards (7.7 yards per carry) and an astounding 17 touchdowns in 2017. He added another 225 yards and 3 touchdowns receiving and 821 yards with 2 touchdowns as a kick returner.
Cannon is a tough, hard runner who can put his foot in the ground and get upfield in a hurry. While he does need to add bulk if he wants to remain a running back on the next level, the skill set is definitely there for him to find a spot on an NFL roster.
DeVante Kincade, QB, Grambling State (SWAC)
Ht: 6’1″ | Wt: 190
Kincade is a former four-star recruit and player at Ole Miss. After being buried on the depth chart there, he transferred to Grambling and has been electric from day one. He posted 2,905 passing yards, 23 TD and just 4 INT in 2017, and rushed for 408 yards with 6 more scores.
Extremely athletic and explosive, it likely that some teams will ask him to move to receiver — as is the case with far too many black quarterbacks. Here’s hoping that someone offers the opportunity for Kincade to remain at quarterback, as the tools are definitely there.
Anthony Philyaw, RB, Howard (MEAC)
Ht: 6’1″ | Wt: 205
Philyaw saw a dip in his production in 2017, rushing for just 769 yards after putting up 1,230 in 2016. He did post his second straight 9 touchdown season, however. Philyaw showed off his ability against FBS competition, rushing for two touchdowns against UNLV and putting up 147 yards versus Kent State (including a 75-yard TD scamper.
Philyaw is a long-strider who runs with authority. He has the frame to add more bulk and the physical tools to carve out a niche in the NFL. The biggest question regarding Philyaw is how fast is he? His pro day workout will be pivotal.
Victor Tamba Jr., OG, Bowie State (CIAA)
Ht: 6’5″ | Wt: 335
Massive! Tamba has the body frame and length to compete on the next level. He was named first team All CIAA in 2017, while displaying the requisite mentality in the running game.
Tamba’s strong hands and long arms are his best attributes as a prospect. He is able to keep defenders at bay, and once he latches on … good luck getting away. He will need to clean up his technique — especially in pass protection. He’ll also benefit from the strength and conditioning program of an NFL team.
Carlo Thomas, S, Johnson C. Smith
Ht: 6’2″ | Wt: 185
Thomas was the heart & soul of the Golden Bulls’ defense during his collegiate career. In 2017, he posted 64 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1 INT, 9 pass breakups and 1 fumble recovery in route to being named first team All CIAA.
Thomas has the range, ball skills and instincts to stick on an NFL roster. He also has experience as a kick returner and special teams ace, which should definitely help his chances. Thomas certainly has the look and skill set of a modern day NFL free safety.