Up Next

HBCU Football

Watch for these HBCU players in 2023 NFL draft

NFL teams selected four standouts from historically Black colleges in 2022

Four players from historically Black colleges and universities heard their names called in the 2022 NFL draft: Joshua Williams (Fayetteville State, Kansas City Chiefs), Cobie Durant (South Carolina State, Los Angeles Rams), Ja’Tyre Carter (Southern University, Chicago Bears) and James Houston (Jackson State, Detroit Lions).

After a full season of HBCU football and the caliber of talent displayed throughout, here are several HBCU players that could be selected in April’s NFL draft.

Isaiah Land, Florida A&M University

Isaiah Land, a 6-foot-4 linebacker known for his speed on the edge, was named to All-SWAC First Team this season. Land, winner of the 2021 Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS, finished his senior year with 23 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks.

Aubrey Miller Jr., Jackson State University

Aubrey Miller Jr., the SWAC defensive player of the year, is a two-time All-SWAC First Team selection. The 6-foot-2 linebacker finished the season with 117 total tackles. Miller also added a conference-leading five forced fumbles.

Mark Evans II, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Mark Evans II (center) is a four-time All-SWAC First Team honoree.

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Athletics

Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 295 pounds, Mark Evans II is an offensive tackle known for his mobility, blocking ability and physicality. Evans is a four-time All-SWAC First Team honoree and a member of the 2022 FCS All-American team. Evans anchored the Golden Lions’ offensive line that helped produce 1,702 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns.  

Shaquan ‘Shaq’ Davis, South Carolina State University

South Carolina State wide receiver Shaquan Davis scores during the first half of the Cricket Celebration Bowl on Dec. 18, 2021, in Atlanta.

Hakim Wright Sr./AP Photo

Shaquan “Shaq” Davis, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver, was the best receiver in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this season, finishing with a conference-leading 934 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. One of the best performances in his career came in the 2021 Cricket Celebration Bowl, where he was named offensive MVP after having five catches for 95 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ win.

Jadakis Bonds, Hampton University

Jadakis Bonds, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver, was named to the First Team All Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) offense. Bonds finished the season No. 3 in the CAA in receiving yards (855) and tied for No. 1 in receiving touchdowns (10). 

Xavier Smith, Florida A&M University

Xavier Smith, named to the All-SWAC First Team offense at wide receiver, led the SWAC in receiving yards with 1,021 on the season. The 5-foot-10 graduate student was Florida A&M’s top target for the season, averaging 92.8 yards a game. He finished No. 1 in the SWAC for receptions (87) and No. 4 in scoring touchdowns (11).

Honorable mentions: Quarterback Davius Richard (North Carolina Central); defensive lineman Jeblonski Green Jr. (South Carolina State); tight end Kemari Averett (Bethune-Cookman); wide receiver Dallas Daniels (Jackson State); offensive lineman Robert Mitchell (North Carolina Central); offensive lineman Corey Bullock (North Carolina Central); defensive back Khalil Baker (North Carolina Central); running back Latrell Collier (North Carolina Central); offensive lineman Dallas Black (Southern); running back Jarveon Howard (Alcorn State); defensive end Jordan Lewis (Southern); defensive lineman KeShaun Moore (Hampton); defensive back Irshaad Davis (Alabama State); linebacker Qwahsin Townsel (Hampton); linebacker BJ Davis (South Carolina State); defensive lineman Joshua Pryor (Bowie State); wide receiver Barry Elliott (Fayetteville State); and defensive end Cameron Merrell (Fayetteville State).

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."