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Deion Sanders and Doug Williams’ Efforts Are Paying Off: HBCUs See Four Drafted One Year After Black Colleges Were Shut Out 

One year after having no players selected in the NFL draft, HBCUs saw four players drafted on the last day of the 2022 NFL draft.

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders and a host of former HBCU players, including Grambling State legend and Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams, have been using their platforms for the betterment of HBCU athletes, trumpeting a demand for the NFL to respect their talents.

Joshua Williams of D-II Fayetteville State was the first HBCU player taken, in the fourth round with the 135th pick.

The 6-foot-3 rangy cover corner caught the eye of the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that is depleted in the secondary and definitely can use strong cover guys and playmakers.

He was followed by cornerback DeCobie Durant, the reigning MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, who was taken with the 142nd pick by the defending Super Bowl champion Rams.

Of those four, Williams, Durant and Ja’Tyre Carter (Chicago Bears, seventh round) were three of the four HBCU players invited to the NFL Combine.

The Lions added sack master James “The Problem” Houston in the sixth round with the 217th pick, making him the first JSU player drafted in 10 years.

He’s also the first draft pick of the Deion Sanders era. Last but not least was Southern swing offensive lineman Carter.

After the way franchise quarterback Justin Fields was under pressure every game last season, “the Monsters of the Midway” need all the offensive line help they can muster.

Lions GM Brad Holmes Promised To Draft From HBCUs: He Kept His Promise

It’s no secret that HBCUs don’t get the love that Power Five and mid-major programs get as it pertains to visibility and exposure. This HBCU blackout has hurt the chances of some dynamic players from those institutions being drafted.

Lions GM Brad Holmes, did his part to help change that narrative by selecting Houston from JSU. Holmes, who’s relentlessly talked about giving HBCU players a chance since last year’s shutout, says his mom would always ask why HBCU players don’t get drafted.

“My mom gives me crap about it all the time. Why don’t you draft any HBCU players? But I’ve always said about that, too. They have to control it, too. They don’t get drafted just because they’re at an HBCU. They have to earn it. So, these kids earned it. Last year just wasn’t that caliber or process. It was a great run for HBCU players for a long time.”

For more on Deion Sanders and how HBCU players did in the 2022 NFL Draft, click here.

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