2008 HBCU All-America Team

HBCU’s have notoriously been fertile grounds for the National Football League, in fact there is not enough paper in the world to list the numerous players that have made the jump from historically black colleges and universities to excellence in the NFL. 

Super Scouts/Architects Bill Nunn (’70s Pittsburgh Steelers) and Lloyd Wells (’60s Kansas Chiefs) were masters of mining “Diamonds in the Rough” at HBCU’s in helping to build Super Bowl winning teams and the pipeline continues today with players like Jacksonville Jaguars LB Justin Durant (Hampton).  This year the talent level at HBCU’s is just as exemplary and you can expect to hear many of the names listed on our 2008 HBCU All-American team called at the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft. 


QB: Jacary Atkinson, Tuskegee (6-3, 205, Sr., Valley, Ala.)Was named the SIAC MVP and Offensive Player of the year along with his first team selection.  Led the conference and was tenth in Division II Football in passing efficiency (163.2). Atkinson also led the conference in passing average per game (244.4), passing yards (2,444), passing touchdowns (23) and total offense averaging 316.6 yards per game. Atkinson was named Offensive Player of the week six times this season and became the first player to win consecutive Offensive Player of the Year and MVP honors in the modern era of the SIAC. Tuskegee finished the year 10-1 and won the 2008 SIAC Championship. Led the Golden Tigers to a second straight SIAC championship. Atkinson, 22-1 as a starting quarterback, earned two straight Doug Williams offensive player of the year awards from Sheridan Broadcasting Network and is a two-time SBN All-America.

RB: William Ford, South Carolina State (5-11, 185, Jr., Travelers Rest, S.C.)  — Ford led the MEAC in rushing with 1,499 yards and was tied for third in the conference in scoring (78 points). He carried the ball 246 times for an average of 115.3 yards and accounted for 13 touchdowns. Ford, a junior expected to return in ’09, is just 1,009 yards away from becoming the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher. He was named the 2008 MEAC Offensive Player of the Year.

RB: Javarris Williams, Tennessee State (5-11, 215, Sr., Richmond, Tex.) — Williams helped the Tigers to an impressive 8-3 overall record with a 5-3 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). He was named the OVC Offensive player of the year finishing with a league best 103.7 yards per game with 1,037 yards in 10 games. His 15 touchdowns were also a league best. He finished his TSU career as the All-time rushing TD leader (42) and is now second on the All-time rushing list with 4,329 yards. Javarris had six 100+ yard rushing games this season and twenty such games in his career. He rushed for 1,000 yards three consecutive years. Selected Most Valuable Player at the East-West Shrine Game.  Invited to the 2009 NFL Combine.

OL: Raymond Harrison, South Carolina State (6-2, 275, Sr., Columbia, S.C.) — Harrison was a key performer in one of the most dominating offensive attacks in the MEAC this season.  The Bulldogs’ third consecutive MEAC Lineman of the Year winner, Harrison aided SCSU’s offense to 4,972 yards of total offense including 2,651 yards on the ground. 

OL: Dwayne Frost, Bowie State (6-6, 300, Sr., Largo, MD)

OL: Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee State (6-5, 310, Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.) — This former transfer from Florida State was selected first team for the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). Played in Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game and was also invited to the 2009 NFL Combine.

OL: Michael Steven,

Tuskegee (6-5, 380, Jr., Montgomery, Ala.)

OL: Adrian Brown, Delaware State (6-6, 327, Sr.)

OL: Dennis Conley, Hampton (6-4, 303, Sr. Suffolk, Va.) 

TE: Octavius Darby, South Carolina State (6-4, 240, Sr., Hollywood, Fla.)  — Selected to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) First Team. This “Alge Crumpler” type tight end had 31 receptions for 518 yards and 12 TD’s.

WR: Justin Brown, Hampton (6-2, 200, Sr., Dover, N.J.) — Led the MEAC in receiving yards (887), averaging 80.6 per game, and was second in the conference in catches per game with 5.1

WR: Raytron Mayfield, Langston (6-1,205, Sr., Dallas, TX) —Mayfield had 799 yards receiving on 59 catches with nine touchdowns. Plus an additional 165 yards rushing with three touchdowns and he also threw for 77 yards and one touchdown. Led the Lions in scoring with 76 points. Was selected First-Team All-CSFL (Central States Football League Conference). Also guided the Lions to the NAIA National Playoffs second round and an 11-2 record. 


DL Chris Baker Hampton (6-2, 305, Jr., Windsor, Conn.) — This former transfer from Penn State was selected first team for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Baker led the Pirates and the MEAC with 8.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, and 13 quarterback hurries, to go along with 69 tackles – the third-highest total on the team. Invited to the 2009 NFL Combine.

DL: Louis Ellis, Shaw (6-4, 295, Sr., Jackson, Miss.) — Was named CIAA Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year as Shaw won their second consecutive CIAA Championship. This season he anchored the Shaw Bears defensive unit to the national number one spot of the NCAA Division II in total defense (#1), rushing defense (#1), tackles for a loss (#1). Louis was the CIAA’s leader in tackles for loss (16 solo and 8 assisted) and was second in the conference with 8 sacks. He was also credited with 60 total tackles. Played in Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game.

DL: Richard Washington, Clark-Atlanta University (6-3, 305, Sr., Miami, FL) — An All-SIAC first teamer, Washington had a big day at the East Coast All Star game, finishing with a couple sacks and several other key stops.

DL: David Williams, Kentucky State (6′-3, 240, Sr. Detroit, MI) — All-SIAC first teamer had 51 TKLS, 5.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 sacks, and 2 FF

DL: Marcus Benard, Jackson State (6-4, 260, Sr., Ypsilanti, Mi.) — The senior defensive end led the SWAC with 15 sacks (which is first in the SWAC and second in FCS), as well as leading the SWAC with 22.5 tackles for loss. He also recorded season highs of 17 tackles against Ala. A&M, five sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss against Ala. A&M.

DL: Christian Anthony, Grambling State (6-4, 246, Jr., Birmingham, Ala.)  — Anthony had 48 tackles with 14 tackles for loss.  He also amassed six sacks, broke up five passes and had 2 INTs in 12 games played.

LB: Jeffrey Cargile, Morehouse (5-9,200, Sr. Cincinnati, OH —Won the SIAC Defensive Player of the Year award after leading Division II and the conference in sacks (12.5). Cargile also led Division II and the conference in tackles for a loss (23.0) and finished the season with 99 tackles. Morehouse finished the 2008 campaign with a 6-4 record over-all and 6-3 in the SIAC for a second place finished.

LB: Marcellus Speaks, Jackson State (6-2, 230, Sr., Jackson, Miss.) — Speaks led the SWAC with 115 tackles (54 solo; 20.5 for loss), along with 5.0 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one blocked kick in leading the Tigers to the SWAC Championship Game for the second consecutive year. He was named SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and he also had Player of the Week honors three times this season. Speaks made a season-high 16 tackles (with 1.0 for loss with 0.5 sacks) vs. Southern (Oct. 4)

LB: Endor Cooper, Howard (6-3, 245, Sr., Woodbridge, Va.) — An All-MEAC Conference first team player. This senior middle linebacker had an outstanding season leading the MEAC in total tackles per game with 11.4 and in forced fumbles with four. Also finished tied for third in tackles for losses in the MEAC. Recorded double digits in tackles in nine of 11 games played.

LB: Jarrell Guyton, Morgan State (6-0, 225, Sr., Miami, Fl) — The MEAC’s Defensive Player of the Year honor after leading one of the most dominating defensive units in the FCS. For the second year in a row the Morgan State Bears led the FCS in total defense giving up less than 213.4 yards per game. Guyton collected 35 solo and 35 unassisted tackles for the Bears this season. He put up numbers in almost every defensive statistical category including 70 total tackles, 13 tackles for a loss of 41 yards, four sacks for a 22 yard loss, one interception for a 22 yards return, three broken up passes, one hurry, and one forced and recovered fumble.

DB:  Rodrick Jones, Elizabeth City State University (5-11, 179, Sr.) — Was the MVP of the CIAA Championship Game finishing his last collegiate game with 9 tackles, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.  Had an interception in the East Coast Bowl and will play in the Cactus Bowl. Runs in the 4.6 range in the forty.

DB: Domonique Johnson, Jackson State (6-2, 200, Sr. Texas City, Tex.)  — This All-SWAC performer was originally signed and played for Missouri, leaving for undisclosed reasons after the 2006 season. One of the best defensive backs in the upcoming NFL draft, Johnson finished his senior year with a team high four interceptions (returned one for a touchdown) and a league high 13 pass break-ups. Had his best game against Mississippi Valley State recording 10 tackles and 2 INTs.  Extremely fast as Johnson has been clocked in the 4.35 to 4.4 range in the forty. Played in the 2009 Senior Bowl and was also invited to the 2009 NFL Combine.

DB: Eddie Young, Fort Valley State (6-0, 205, Sr., Macon, GA — A physical tough safety chosen first team All-SIAC.  Participated in the East Coast Bowl and is considered a Pro Prospect at safety running a 4.65 in the forty-yard dash.

DB: Gregory Toler, Saint Paul’s (6-1, 185, Sr., Washington, D.C.)  — 2008 All-CIAA selection – Toler participated in the East Coast and Cactus Bowl All Star games after leading the CIAA with 6 INTs (ranked third in NCAA DII) and 19 passes defended.

DB: Niles Rainey, Virginia Union (5-10,165, Sr., College Park, GA) — Rainey had a very good season for VUU despite playing in a strange rotation.  The Georgia native finished with 3 INTs.  He was named CIAA Defensive Back of the Week, for the week ending on October 18, 2008 for his defensive efforts in a 68-6 victory over Lincoln University (Pa).  In the Lincoln game, Rainey recorded 2 touchdowns (one on a fumble recovery and the other on an interception).

DB: Terrell Whitehead, Norfolk State  (6-2, 200, Jr., Virginia Beach, Va) — Whitehead was named First Team All-MEAC for the second straight year after having the second-most passes defended (15) of any MEAC player.  He also tallied four interceptions (13 for his career ranking him 3rd in MEAC history) and 11 pass deflections. The physical junior defensive back led NSU and ranked seventh in the MEAC with 83 tackles.

Special Teams

PK: Brandon Gilbert, North Carolina Central (5-10, 190, Sr. Graham, NC) — School’s all-time leading scorer and holds school records for career Field Goals made, extra point kicks made, single-season field goals made, extra point kicks made (48), and record for field goals made in a game (4). Booted the longest field goal in school history with a 51-yard last-second, game-winning kick in the 2006 CIAA Championship Game (Nov. 11).

P: Jahmal Blanchard, Hampton (6-3, 182, Jr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) — Averaged an amazing 43.1 yards per punt

KR: William Osbourne, Texas Southern (5-7, 160, Jr., Marshall, TX) — This explosive all-purpose player made an impact all over field averaging 192.3 yards per game.  Was TSU main receiving threat producing 82 catches for 1092 yards and 7 TD’s while averaging 15.9 yards per punt returns and 22.5 on kickoffs.

PR: Jeremy Gilchrist, Hampton (5-10, 174, Sr., Virginia Beach, Va.) — This transfer from Virginia Tech is a very explosive return man with top-level speed.  Averaged 15.6 yards per return and had 3 TD’s in ’08.



QB – Bryant Lee, Southern; Curtis Rich, Elizabeth City State; Bobby Reid, Texas Southern (Transferred from Texas Southern); Antonio Hefner, Tennessee State (Transferred from South Carolina); Kisan Flakes, Albany State (Transferred from Illinois); Lamar Little, Virginia Union; Carlton Hill, Miles College (Transferred from South Florida)

RB – Devan James, Morgan State; Winston Thompson, Clark Atlanta University; Michael Wright, Kentucky State University; Taron Hampton, Virginia State, Tarian Donaldson, Virginia Union; Kareem Jones, Delaware State; DeAngelo Branche, Norfolk State

OL – Revay Smith, Grambling State; Cleveland Collie, Prairie View A&M; Oliver Pazdry, Shaw; Robert Okeafor, Florida A&M

WR – Dexter Manley, Elizabeth City State; Jason English, Tuskegee; Thomas Harris, Alabama A&M; Juamorris Stewart, Southern

DL – Jarvis DeVaughan, Tuskegee; Justin Lawrence, Morgan State; Sammie Lee Hill, Stillman (Invited to the 2009 NFL Combine); Melvin Matthews, Grambling State; Vincent Lands, Southern; Jeremy Maddox, Alabama A&M; Marcus Kennedy St. Augustine’s
LB – Zach East, Prairie View A&M; Travis Roland, Bethune-Cookman; Lee Robinson, Alcorn State (Played in Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game and was also invited to the 2009 NFL Combine)

DB – Dre’Mail Hardin, Stillman; Darnell Brown, Langston; Anthony Beck, Prairie View A&M; Justin Hamilton, Elizabeth City State; Jeff Franklin, Central State; Darren McKhan, Morgan State; Enrique Cox, Virginia Union; Al Donaldson, Alabama AM; Stephen Jackson, Fort Valley; Don Carey, Norfolk State

PK: Jeremy Licea, Alabama A&M

KR: LeRoy Vann, Florida A&M


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)