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Keep your eyes on these HBCU standouts during showcases in advance of NFL draft

East-West Shrine Bowl and HBCU Legacy Bowl will give dozens of players from historically Black colleges the opportunity to raise their stock

With the football season over, some players from historically Black colleges and universities will begin their journey toward the NFL. 

Virginia State University defensive back Willie Drew will compete in the Reese’s Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, Howard University offensive tackle Anim Dankwah will participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl and NFL Combine, and dozens more HBCU players will compete in other events designed to showcase NFL prospects.

Here are several HBCU players to watch in advance of the NFL draft in April.

Terrell Allen, Tennessee State University

Terrell Allen was named the 2023 Big South-OVC Football Association defensive player of the year, a First Team all-conference player and winner of the 2023 Buck Buchanan Award, which is given annually to the FCS defensive player of the year. The 6-foot defensive lineman finished the season with 65 total tackles and led the FCS in sacks (14.5), sack yardage (123), tackles for loss (28) and tackle yardage for loss (149). Allen will compete in the HBCU Legacy Bowl on Feb. 24 in New Orleans.

Sundiata Anderson, Grambling State University

Sundiata Anderson is a two-time All-Southwestern Athletic Conference First Team selection (2021 and 2023). The 6-foot-5 defensive lineman finished the season with 60 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. Anderson will compete in the East-West Shrine Bowl on Feb. 1 in Frisco, Texas, and the HBCU Legacy Bowl.

Kenny Gallop Jr., Howard University

Howard defensive back Kenny Gallop Jr. ended his senior season with 72 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. Gallop was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference defensive player of the year this season and won the 2023 Aeneas Williams Award, which is given to the top defensive back in HBCU Division I football.

Isaiah Major, Florida A&M University

Isaiah Major, a 6-foot-1 linebacker known for his defensive versatility, was named SWAC defensive player of the year this season. Major, the 2023 Celebration Bowl defensive MVP, finished his senior year with 106 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 5 passes defended and 2 interceptions. Major will play in the HBCU Legacy Bowl.

Davius Richard, North Carolina Central University

Standing 6-feet-3 and weighing 220 pounds, quarterback Davius Richard is a two-time MEAC offensive player of the year, and in 2022 he led the Eagles to their first Celebration Bowl win in program history. He led the MEAC with 21 touchdown passes this season and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the best offensive player in the FCS. Richard ranks No. 2 all-time at North Carolina Central. Richard, who finished his senior year with 2,177 passing yards, 630 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, also will play in the HBCU Legacy Bowl.

Colton Adams, Alabama State University

Colton Adams, a two-time All-SWAC First Team selection (2022 and 2023), ranked in the Top 5 in the conference in total tackles (124) and tackles for loss (17). Adams will compete in the HBCU Legacy Bowl. 

More than three dozen HBCU athletes so far have been selected to participate in this year’s HBCU Legacy Bowl. Follow the Legacy Bowl on social media for the latest roster additions.

Mia Berry is the senior HBCU writer for Andscape and covers everything from sports to student-led protests. She is a Detroit native (What up Doe!), long-suffering Detroit sports fan and Notre Dame alumna who randomly shouts, "Go Irish."