When the 2021 NFL Draft concluded, a disappointing fact emerged: not one draftee was selected from a historically black college and university (HBCU). Hopefully that changes with the HBCU Combine joining forces with the NFL and Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Select players from four HBCU conferences – CIAA, MEAC, SIAC and SWAC – and other HBCU institutions will be invited to participate in the event.
Held at the University of South Alabama and patterned after the NFL Combine, the HBCU Combine will include the gathering of comprehensive medical information, interviews, and on-field evaluations of football skills and acumen. Last year’s event, announced in February 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Reese’s Senior Bowl is honored to be collaborating with the National Football League to host the inaugural HBCU Combine in Mobile, Alabama,” said Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy.
“Over the years, the Senior Bowl has served as a showcase for some of the top Black college football players in America, including seven of our game’s 56 future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and this event will help many more HBCU players secure further attention and exposure from all 32 teams,” Nagy continued.
An HBCU Scouting Committee, comprised of current and former league executives, will evaluate and select this year’s participants. The Senior Bowl will provide medical and football personnel to capture important pre-Draft information and deliver a world-class experience for HBCU prospects.
“Throughout NFL history, HBCU athletes have exemplified a standard of excellence both on and off the field,” says Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “The HBCU Combine is part of honoring that legacy and making every effort to accelerate exposure of HBCU draft prospects to all NFL clubs. The game is better when all have the opportunity to compete.”
Deion Sanders who is the head coach at Jackson State University recently spoke passionately about the lack of HBCU representation at this year’s Draft. There is no proof but his influence and outspoken nature could have played apart in elevating the platform of the HBCU Combine.
With representatives from all 32 NFL clubs traveling for Senior Bowl week in the past, hosting this event in Mobile ensures maximum visibility for HBCU players – one of the event’s key objectives.
The 73rd Annual Reese’s Senior Bowl will kick off on Saturday, February 5, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. CT at Hancock Whitney Stadium.