The inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl took place at Yulman Stadium in New Orleans on Saturday. The game pitted the best players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities against each other. The game was the culmination after a week of practices in front of NFL scouts and coaches.
The HBCU Legacy Bowl was the second event in the last month to bring HBCU football prospects to the forefront. The HBCU Combine preceded the Senior Bowl in Mobile. I was there covering that for Draft Countdown.
The two teams competing on Saturday were named to honor legends in the coaching community. Team Gaither was named after Jake Gaither who won nearly 85% of his games at Florida A&M. Team Robinson was named after long-time Grambling head coach Eddie Robinson who was the first to win 400 games at the collegiate level.
On Saturday, Team Gaither knocked off Team Robinson, 22-6.
Let’s look at the top prospects from the HBCU Legacy Bowl.
HBCU LEGACY BOWL: TOP PROSPECTS
TEAM GAITHER DEFENSE
The top prospect in this game was Norfolk State edge rusher, De’Shean Dixon. Dixon played at the Shrine Bowl prior to suiting up here. He has nice size (6’4” 251) and closes extremely well. Dixon has a chance to be drafted on day three. He recorded four tackles and had 1.5 TFLs.
Virginia State CB Will Adams practiced during the week but sat out the game. He had an impressive showing at the HBCU Combine; getting himself on the NFL radar.
TEAM GAITHER OFFENSE
Jah-Maine Martin (RB/North Carolina A&T) was the only player I had watched from the HBCU Combine prior to it. He struggled to get anything going offensively. Martin had 19 touches for 30 yards.
Tennessee State QB Geremy Hickbottom was a surprise for me. The transfer from Grambling (and Mobile, AL native) won the offensive MVP award for the game. The Williamson HS product has good size and athleticism. Hickbottom isn’t the most accurate thrower of the football. During the HBCU Legacy Bowl, he completed 9/15 passes for 72 yards. Hickbottom added 25 yards rushing and a TD.
Southern WR Marquis McClain stood out at the HBCU Combine and then showed well during the game. McClain caught seven balls for 84 yards. He is 6’2” and 215-pounds. McClain plays like a big slot receiver. I actually think he would be a good move tight end if he could add about 15 pounds. McClain played three years at Auburn and two at Southern. He wasn’t very productive anywhere. Seeing him here, I have to wonder why that was.
I don’t know what kind of prospect Chowan QB Bryce Whitt is but he looked great in this game. Whitt completed 15/21 passes for 131 yards and one TD. He also had 32 yards rushing on three carries. Probably should have been OMVP, to be honest.
For UCF (current Florida A&M) DB Antwan Collier won the defensive MVP award in the game. He finished with nine tackles and one TFL.
The top QB prospect in the game, Alabama A&M’s Aqeel Glass, struggled mightily. Glass had a great week at the NFLPA game but for some reason couldn’t get any traction during the HBCU Legacy Bowl. He completed only 4/15 passes for 51 yards. Glass has a chance to be drafted late.
Alabama State RB Ezra Gray is undersized at 5’7” 174-pounds. At the HBCU Combine, Gray had a vertical leap of 38.5 inches. During the game, he carried the ball four times for 33 yards. Gray also fumbled the ball once.