By Keisha J Kelley
March 21, 2021
After last years HBCU Combine was canceled due to Covid-19, many HBCU players whose hopes of gaining attention from the National Football League, came to an end. With a virus looming and no end in sight, the uncertainty of what the world would face next remained a mystery. Then something special happen, a little over a year later. The HBCU National Combine, LLC announced today that the inaugural HBCU Combine will be held on April 9th-10th at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. In February 2020, the NFL announced plans to host a scouting combine exclusively for HBCU players, but COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the event. To bring together pro football talent evaluators and highly rated NFL draft-eligible HBCU players, HBCU National Combine, LLC was formed and funded by Ulice Payne, Jr., President of Addison-Clifton, LLC, and former President/CEO of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club.
HBCU Combine Players The HBCU Combine participants have been identified by NFL teams and scouting services but did not receive an invitation to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis nor a Pro Day with pro scouts in attendance. The current roster of players who will be participating in the 2-day event includes 26 players invited by the NFL to their exclusive HBCU scouting combine event in 2020. Each player will participate in physical and mental assessments and have their talents evaluated by pro football scouts (NFL, CFL and XFL).
HBCU Combine Leadership The HBCU Combine will be managed by Phillip Blackwell, Regional Director for NFL Regional Combines and Charles “Yogi” Jones, Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator at Bethune-Cookman University. He serves as a BCU Pro Liaison, is a former Player Personnel Asst. for the Cleveland Browns and Defensive Coordinator for NFL Europe. “We are fully committed to exploring ways to enhance player evaluation for professional football teams and giving every deserving player the opportunity to have his talent assessed by pro scouts”, Phillip Blackwell, Executive Director of the HBCU Combine.
Other HBCU Combine staff members include: John Aaron, Director for NFL Regional Combines, Eric Lougas, Director of NFL Regional Combines and David Turner, former Assistant Director of Pro Personnel for the Oakland Raiders, and former Director for Player Personnel for the Edmonton Football Team of the CFL. “Having a good first look or a great second look could make all the difference in the evaluation process, especially when being judged from afar with sometimes preconceived notions”, Charles Yogi Jones, Assistant Executive Director of the HBCU Combine.
HBCU Combine Activities Every on-field drill and test that is performed during the HBCU Combine will be administered and performed to NFL Regional Combines specifications. Fusion Sport’s SMARTSPEED timing system will be used to electronically time the 40-yard dash and short shuttle drill.
All performance times are measured and distributed electronically by the SMARTSPEED system. Scouts will be able to interview participants one-on-one. Participants will also complete classroom sessions focused on preparing career transition plans, financial literacy, and evaluation criteria used by pro scouts. “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared”, Dr. Lloyd Walton, Career Coach of the HBCU Combine.
The HBCU Combine Recognition Dinner will be held at the Hilton Birmingham the evening of April 9th for participants and invited guests which will highlight the legacy of HBCU football. The featured speaker will be Darryl Orlando Ledbetter, award-winning Atlanta Falcons Beat Writer for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, who is an HBCU graduate. Stephen A. Smith, ESPN commentator and HBCU graduate, will also participate in the Recognition Dinner and has provided a travel assistance grant to each participating player to help defray their transportation costs incurred to attend this special 2-day event.
The HBCU Combine will take place as part of the schedule of events during the Birmingham Coaching Clinic presented by UAB Football. The Legion Pavilion at the University of Alabama-Birmingham will be the site for on-field performance assessments. The HBCU Combine headquarters will be the Hilton Birmingham at UAB, 808 20th Street South in Birmingham. All participants, scouts and invited guests must comply with COVID-19 Protocols of the University of Alabama-Birmingham and download the HealthCheck mobile application prior to arrival.
HBCU Combine Player Roster
Robert Cummings DB 2020 Benedict College
Jaylen Harris DB 2021 Prairie View A&M University
Joshua Hill DB 2020 Alabama State University
Mac McCain III DB 2021 North Carolina A&T University
Trevor Merritt DB 2020 Bethune-Cookman University
Nhyre’ Quinerly DB 2020 Norfolk State University
Monte Seabrook DB 2021 Livingstone College
Daryus Skinner DB 2020 Winston-Salem State University
C.J. Anderson DL 2020 Jackson State University
Brandon Carswell DL 2020 Delaware State University
Craig Evans DL 2020 Langston University
Tyrell Goodwin DL 2020 South Carolina State
Darius Royster DL 2020 North Carolina Central University
Jalen Steward DL 2020 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Isaiah Washington DL 2020 Prairie View A&M University
Nigel Chavis LB 2020 Norfolk State University
Rico Kennedy LB 2020 Morgan State University
Calvin Lunkins LB 2020 Southern University
Ian Mc BorroughLB 2020 Morgan State University
Solomon Muhammad LB 2020 Alcorn State University
Durrell Nash LB 2020 St. Augustine’s University
Colten Menges LS 2021 Alcorn State University
Jeremiah Abby OL 2020 Southern University
Frank Ball OL 2020 Virginia State University
Keanu Gonzales OL 2020 Shaw University
Jodeci Harris OL 2020 Southern University
Michael Johnson OL 2021 Savannah State University
Kion Smith OL 2021 Fayetteville State University
Deondre Francois QB 2020 Hampton University
Akevious Williams QB 2020 Bethune-Cookman University
Dawonya Tucker RB 2020 Prairie View A&M University
De'Shawn Waller RB 2020 Alcorn State University
DuShon David TE 2020 Bowie State University
Kevonta Moses TE 2020 Shaw University
Elijah Bell WR 2020 North Carolina A&T University
Donnie Corley WR 2021 Texas Southern University
Quintin Guice WR 2021 Grambling State University
Cortez Lewis WR 2020 Hampton University
Hunter Register WR 2020 Southern University
Tristen Wallace WR 2021 Prairie View A&M University
Marcus Williams WR 2020 Florida A&M University
Jimmie Robinson WR/RB 2020 Bethune-Cookman University
Twitter @hbcu_combine.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.hbcucombine.com
Andrea Williams, Chief Communications Officer
HBCU National Combine, LLC