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HBCU Football

HBCUs snag top three-star athletes on national football signing day

Southern, Howard, Grambling and Alcorn State bringing in lots of talent

College football national signing day is done, and players, coaches and schools hope the signings will usher in a new regime of top-ranked historically black college and university (HBCU) athletes who will leave their mark on the football field.

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Southern University

Southern led the pack for the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), signing seven three-star athletes.

It looks to be part of a strategy for coach Dawson Odums, who hopes to get the Jaguars back in the SWAC title game in 2019, to go after transfers who had previously signed with NCAA Power 5 schools.

  • 6-foot-3-inch wide receiver Kiaeem Green, of Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans.

  • 5-foot-11-inch cornerback Tyruss Gayden of West Jefferson High School in Harvey, Louisiana.

  • 5-foot-10-inch running back Craig Nelson, a transfer from Indiana University.

  • 5-foot-10-inch defensive back OJ Tucker, a transfer from Iowa State University.

5-foot-11-inch wide receiver Corey Williams of Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas.

  • 6-foot safety Bertrand Carrell, of Madison Prep Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

  • 6-foot-5-inch defensive end Chazmyn Turner, a transfer from Purdue University.

Donal Ware, host of From the Press Box To Press Row on SiriusXM, believes that three-star athletes taking an interest in HBCUs is important and piques interest, but he’s looking for more consistency to confirm progress.

“You’ve had teams that have signed three-star players. A team that comes to mind like South Carolina State, who some years ago signed quite a few, and Tennessee State regularly signs three-star players. I don’t know if it’s a trend, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Ware said.

Alcorn State

Alcorn State, SWAC’s defending champs, signed three three-stars in their class.

  • 5-foot-10-inch running back Niko Duffey of Jefferson High School in Tampa, Florida.

  • 6-foot-1-inch quarterback Tevarrius Adams of Meridian High School in Meridian, Mississippi.

  • 6-foot-3-inch wide receiver Isaiah McKissic of Beauregard High School in Opelika, Alabama.

Grambling State

Grambling had 13 recruits sign, including three-star wide receiver Kash Foley of Riverside Academy in Reserve, Louisiana, and 6-foot-6-inch tight end Jaye Patrick, a junior college product from College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California.


Mid-eastern Athletic Conference

Howard University

Under the stewardship of new head coach Ron Prince, Howard signed 19 recruits, including four three-star prospects.

  • 6-foot-1-inch cornerback Elijah Coleman of Rockwall High School in Rockwall, Texas.

  • 6-foot-1-inch cornerback CaSaan Dixon of I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia.

  • 6-foot-4-inch quarterback Quinton Williams of Dr. Henry Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

  • 6-foot-5-inch defensive end Deion Harry of Crete-Monee High School in Crete, Illinois.

North Carolina A&T

The Celebration Bowl champion North Carolina A&T Aggies had 15 signees, one of whom is three-star athlete and wide receiver Israel Spivey of Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Georgia.

Michael Branch, DL, 6 feet, 2 inches, 300 pounds, Greensboro, North Carolina (Presbyterian College transfer/Southeast Guilford High School)
TeVaughn Higgins, TE, 6 feet, 2 inches, 225 pounds, Columbia, South Carolina. (Lower Richland High School)
KeAndre Jones, LB, 6 feet, 240 pounds, Columbia, South Carolina. (Spring Valley High School)
Lawrence Lagrone, OL, 6 feet, 3 inches, 330 pounds, Douglasville, Georgia. (Douglas County High School)
Jah-Maine Martin, RB, 5 feet, 11 inches, 210 pounds, Conway, South Carolina. (Coastal Carolina transfer/Conway High School)
Justin Nwachukwu, DL, 6 feet, 1 inch, 290 pounds, Wake Forest, North Carolina. (Northern Illinois transfer/Heritage High School)
Chance Pride, WR, 5 feet, 8 inches, 165 pounds, Taylors, South Carolina. (Eastside High School)
Michael Rivers, PK/P, 6 feet, 165 pounds, Wilmington, North Carolina. (North Brunswick High School)
Zareik Rush, OLB, 6 feet, 2 inches, 205 pounds, Greensboro, North Carolina. (Dudley High School)
Miles Simon, DB, 6 feet, 190 pounds, Lenoir, North Carolina. (Hibriten High School)
Israel Spivey
, WR, 5 feet, 9 inches, 165 pounds, Ellenwood, Georgia. (Cedar Grove High School)
Joseph Stuckey, OLB, 6 feet, 210 pounds, Hillside, New Jersey. (Milford Academy/Hillside High School)
Wizdom Vaughn, WR, 5 feet, 10 inches, 170 pounds, Wilmington, North Carolina. (New Hanover High School)
Chris Williams, LB, 6 feet, 1 inch, 225 pounds, Laurinburg, North Carolina. (Scotland High School)
Tim Williams, OL, 6 feet, 3 inches, 300 pounds, Laurinburg, North Carolina. (Scotland High School)

Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M

The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and the Florida A&M Rattlers each brought in high-profile Florida athletes in 6-foot-1 cornerback Gelique Williams of First Coast High School in Jacksonville and 6-foot linebacker Omari Fiffer of Ed White High School in Jacksonville.


Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Bowie State

Bowie State head coach Damon Wilson is looking forward to the Bulldogs’ future, especially in players “like James Ballanger and Mekhi Williams,” Wilson said. Bowie signed a number of athletes and some players who have good size.

  • 6-foot-5-inch tight end Jordan Griffin of Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, Maryland.
  • 6-foot-4-inch defensive end Tyshawn Blow of Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.
  • 6-foot-4 offensive lineman Calil Brown of C.H. Flowers High School in Springdale, Maryland.

Tiffany Hoyd is a senior media journalism and film communications major from Murrieta, California. She serves as Howard's football manager and color commentator, and enjoys playing spades and listening to R&B.