HBCU Talent Sprinkled in NFL's Biggest Game
Former HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) football players were represented in the NFL’s biggest game last Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVIII. The championship game featured talent from Fayetteville State, North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, and Howard University as this article highlights elite HBCU talent that made it to the highest level in the sport of football.
Josh Williams, former cornerback at Fayetteville State, is the first player to be drafted to the NFL from his alma mater since former Fayetteville state running back James Godwin was selected in the 1976 draft to the New York Jets. Willams was selected 135th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2022 NFL draft. Willams has made a prominent impact on defense for Kansas City, as he is responsible for having made a crucial interception in the fourth quarter in the AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Williams will now be sporting a Super Bowl ring after last sunday's affair.
HBCU graduate Javon Hargrave, a former defensive tackle at South Carolina State and current defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, was selected in the third round in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hargrave spent three seasons in the Steel City before signing with the Eagles in 2019. Hargrave has accumulated solid accolades during his collegiate and professional career such as being named Defensive Player of the Year in the MEAC (2016) and earning a pro bowl selection in 2021.
Franklin McCain III, a graduate from North Carolina A&T, is currently a cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles. McCain came into the league in 2021 as an undrafted free agent picked up by the Denver Broncos. After multiple stints with the Broncos and Eagles, Mccain finally found a home in the city of brotherly love. McCain notably is the grandson of former civil rights activist Franklin McCain. McCain was a member of the “Greensboro Four” which was an organized sit-in along with three other North Carolina A&T students to protest racism at the Woolworth's Five in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Former Howard and Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook is currently a defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs. Cook was awarded a scholarship to Howard University, but then later transferred to the University of Cincinnati and competed in the 2021 College Football Playoff. Cook earned first team All-AAC in 2021 with the Bearcats. Cook will also be wearing a Super bowl ring along with his teammate Josh Williams.