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HBCU Football

On national signing day, HBCUs attract top football talent

Texas Southern, North Carolina Central sign many players early to help turn around disappointing seasons

As Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T prepare for the Celebration Bowl, the rest of the teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) are looking to improve for the 2020 season.

With the early signing period from Dec. 18-20, many top players have already announced their commitments to join historically black college and university (HBCU) programs.

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Morgan State

With their top three receiving players, Manasseh Bailey, Wesley Wolfolk and Deontaye White, in either their senior or graduate seasons, the Morgan State added a pair of receivers to their roster.

  • Trevin Ewing, 5-foot-10-inch wide receiver/defensive back from Elkton High School in Elkton, Maryland.


  • DJ Hamler, 5-foot-8-inch wide receiver from Waterford Kettering High School in Waterford, Michigan.

North Carolina A&T

  • Mychale Salahuddin: After a season at the University of Pittsburgh, Salahuddin joins the North Carolina A&T Aggies. A 5-foot-10-inch running back from Washington, Salahuddin was a four-star athlete at H.D. Woodson High School. As a freshman at Pittsburgh in 2018, he rushed for 37 yards in four attempts. He sat out the 2019 season.


North Carolina Central

After posting a 4-8 record and ranking in the bottom half of the MEAC in total offense, the North Carolina Central Eagles added players on the defensive side of the ball.

  • Marvin Reed, 6-foot-2-inch defensive back from Life Christian Academy in Chester, Virginia.


Southwestern Athletic Conference

Alabama A&M

Alcorn State

  • LaDarius Fair: With wide receiver Chris Blair, who led the Alcorn State Braves with 781 yards, playing in his senior season in 2019, the Braves added Fair to fill his position. Fair is a 6-foot, three-star recruit wide receiver from Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Texas.


Arkansas-Pine Bluff

After going 6-5 during their season, surpassing their win total from the previous three seasons combined, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions brought in Elzie Barnett Jr. and Jayden Bethea.

  • Elzie Barnett Jr., 5-foot-11-inch safety from Wilmer-Hutchins High School in Dallas.


  • Jayden Bethea, 6-foot-1-inch defensive lineman from Tampa Catholic High School in Tampa, Florida.

Grambling State

  • Josh Jefferson, 6-foot-4-inch offensive lineman from ASA College in New York.


  • Dayron Butler, 5-foot-9-inch cornerback from Manor High School in Manor, Texas.

Jackson State

  • Justin Armstrong, 5-foot-10-inch cornerback from Terry High School in Terry, Mississippi.

Prairie View A&M

Averaging a conference-leading 35.5 points per game, the Prairie View A&M Panthers further strengthened their offense by adding two offensive line transfers, Tyus Phillips and Jordan Johnson.

  • Kendall Johnson, 5-foot-11-inch defensive tackle from South Oak Cliff High School in Cedar Hill, Texas.
  • Tyus Phillips, 6-foot-9-inch offensive line transfer from Iowa Western Community College.


  • Jordan Johnson, 6-foot-4-inch offensive line transfer from Hinds Community College.



Posting an 8-5 record during the 2019 season, the Southern Jaguars stood atop the SWAC West. They allowed the fewest rushing yards in the conference and solidifying this area of strength for the program, the Jaguars added two linebackers.

  • Jadyn Landrum, 5-foot-11-inch linebacker from Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas.


  • Rahem Shorter, 5-foot-11-inch linebacker from Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi.


Texas Southern

After a winless 2019 season, the Texas Southern Tigers actively bolstered their roster with early commits. The program added more than a dozen players as coach Clarence McKinney looks to rebuild TSU football.

  • Darryl Brown, 5-foot-9-inch free safety from Yates High School in Houston.
  • Dylan Hamilton, 6-foot-2-inch athlete from Klein Forest in Houston.
  • Terry Petry, 5-foot-10-inch cornerback who played at the University of Missouri and Blinn College.
  • Gabe Smith, 6-foot-2-inch defensive end from Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Austin, Texas.


  • Tzion Dixon, 6-foot-3-inch linebacker from East Los Angeles College.


  • Jyrin Johnson, 6-foot-3-inch wide receiver from East Ascension High School in Gonzales, Louisiana.


  • Terence Jackson, 6-foot-5-inch left tackle from Beaumont United High School in Beaumont, Texas.


  • Xavier Goynes, 6-foot cornerback from Crowley High School in Crowley, Texas.


  • Bobby Wooden, 6-foot running back from Dawson High School in Pearland, Texas.


  • Isaac Garcia, 6-foot-1-inch defensive end from Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas.



  • Isaiah Hamilton, Channelview High School in Channelview, Texas.


  • Mehdi Torrence, 6-foot-5-inch offensive lineman from Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, Texas.


Arthur is a 2019 Rhoden Fellow and a junior journalism major from Los Angeles. He works with the Department of Athletics at Howard and served as the production manager with Spotlight Network.