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The Voice of the Black Community
HBCU
North Carolina A&T football signing class No. 2 among Black colleges
Aggies trail Jackson St. among Division I programs
 
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2021 8:20 pm
by Donal Ware

VIRGINIA TECH ATHLETICS
Former Virginia Tech receiver Elijah Bowick, a graduate of Myers Park High, boosted North Carolina A&T’s 2021 signing class. He’s eligible to play immediately for the Aggies.

For 15 years, boxtorow.com has ranked the top 10 HBCU FCS recruiting classes. Due to the pandemic, there weren’t as many large classes this year as there have seen in year’s past.


The rankings are based on research and information received from athletic departments, media and recruiting boards.


The top 10, in descending order are:


T-10 Morgan State
Coach Tyrone Wheatley and his staff followed up the 2020 class with a solid 2021 class. Of the Bears 15 signings, six were from the Baltimore area and three were from the DMV.

Offensive lineman Chance Moore is a two-star recruit from River Rouge in Redford, Mich. who will add depth on the offensive line which is much improved. Joshua Graham is an athlete who the Bears see as a defensive back. He had 13 offers including an offer from Iowa State.


T-10 Howard
Larry Scott is in his first season as head coach and he and his staff have brought in a solid recruiting class.


The jewel of the class could be three-star dual-threat quarterback Undre Lindsay from Gaffney (S.C.). The Bison placed an emphasis on defense signing two-star cornerback Jabari Knighten from Sebring (Fla.), defensive end Emerson Martine who held offers from Akron, Charlotte, and Liberty, two-star defensive lineman Curtis Miller from Miller Creek in Sicklerville, N.J., and two-star safety Xavier Robiou from North Miami Beach.


Howard has always had a national profile and hasn’t always recruited from the Washington area until more recently. Six recruits are from the DMV.


9. South Carolina State
Buddy Pough, now in his 19th season as head coach of the Bulldogs program, is a model of consistency. Ten of 12 signees are native to South Carolina.


The Bulldogs addressed needs, including on offensive and defensive lines by signing seven players. Pough feels like Ian Shark (Collenton County) and Elijah Young (Gray Collegiate Academy) can help the Bulldogs early and help protect 2019 MEAC Rookie of the Year quarterback Corey Fields.


Shark is an All-State performer and was named All-Region Offensive Lineman of the Year. Young was first team all-state performer.


8. Prairie View A&M
Head coach Eric Dooley and his staff have made our top 10 all three years that Dooley has been head coach. The Panthers stayed at home as 10 of the 13 signees are from the football-rich state of Texas.


The Panthers were in essence 13 points away from playing in the SWAC championship game last year. It will be a daunting task trying to replace all-world running back Dawonya Tucker. The Panthers also must replace quarterback Jalen Morton. There is a quarterback battle brewing between Trazon Connley (749 yards passing 7 TDs. 1 INT in 2019) and Kansas transfer T.J. Starks (344 yards passing 3 TDs, 1 INT in 2019).


Three-star dual threat quarterback David Moore from Lufkin (Texas) could also be in the mix in the fall of 2021. He became Lufkin’s all-time leader in passing yards in 2020.


BOXTOROW preseason All-America offensive lineman Danny Garza will anchor the offensive line which also returns All-SWAC preseason second team selection DeJohn Jones. PV got deeper on the line signing three-star lineman Luis Chavarria from Episcopal in Houston.


7. Alabama A&M
Whenever you can get a three-star quarterback, you are doing something special. When you can get two, you are off the charts. The Bulldogs have the quarterback of now and presumably the future. Aqeel Glass is one of the best pro prospects at quarterback in the country and in 2019 threw for 3,600 yards and 32 touchdowns.


Head coach Connell Maynor (who knows a little something about quarterbacks) and his staff looked to the future when signing C.J. Dixon who prepped at Jirek Prep and played at Grayson in Loganville, Ga. He was ranked four stars by ESPN in 2019. He’s the kind of pro-style quarterback Connell Maynor likes as he has good size, standing 6-6 and weighing 220 pounds. Dixon had offers from Alabama, Illinois, Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Maryland, Ohio State, Georgia, and others.


Kaden McMullen from Living Word Christian in O’Fallon, Mo. is a three-star recruit who passed for 6,898 yards and 73 TDs and rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 TDs in three years of varsity.


6. Tennessee State
Rod Reed and his staff signed 11 of their 12 recruits during the mid-year signing period.


The Tigers received some immediate help at quarterback, signing Isaiah Green, a transfer from Marshall. A two-year starter that helped the Thundering Herd win a bowl game, he started all 13 games for Marshall as a sophomore completing 54 percent of his passes for 2,438 yards, 15 TDs and 11 INTs and rushed for 300 yards and five touchdowns. Tucker Pope from Walker Valley (Tenn.) was ranked the 34th best QB in the state.


TSU will sorely miss former BOXTOROW All-America Chris Rowland now with the Atlanta Falcons. Wide receiver Roscoe Gibson is a three-star recruit from Edison (Miami) who had offers from Coastal Carolina and Syracuse. TSU has sent many offensive linemen to the National Football League including last year’s only HBCU selection in Lachavious Simmons.

In addition to already having BOXTOROW preseason All-American Cam Durley, The Tigers signed Jarod Russell from Riverdale in Murfreesboro, Tenn., who was rated the 31st best lineman in the state. Reed feels like he can come in and play right away.


The Tigers also signed Sean McMoore a transfer from Vanderbilt who played in 18 games over three years. Defensively, Coffeyville CC transfer Brenyen Scott is versatile and can play corner, nickel or safety.


5. Bethune-Cookman
Head coach Terry Sims and his staff had one of the bigger classes, signing 20. Quarterback was an immediate need, and the Wildcats went the transfer rout, signing former Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Patrick Shannon just in time for SWAC play. Shannon led the SWAC in completion percentage (.628), was third in passing yards (2,250), and threw 19 TDs and 13 INTs.


With its move to the SWAC, the Wildcats put a premium on trying to stop high-powered offenses as 14 signees were on the defensive side of the ball. Most of the players have college experience and can come in and play right away including: defensive end Cleotis Anglin a transfer from Ohio University; linebacker KeShaun Blackmon, a transfer from Mississippi Delta CC where he played in 2019 and had 33 tackles, 10.5 for loss; defensive tackle Reginald Pearson (6-1, 325) a three-star transfer from Georgia Military Academy and linebacker Devin Ruffin, Jr. a transfer from Iowa Western and a former three-star recruit from Lutheran in St. Louis.


The Wildcats signed six defensive backs including cornerback Malik Frank of Rickards, a three-star recruit who had several FBS offers, cornerback Robert Simmons from Sandalwood in Jacksonville, a three-star recruit who had 18 FBS offers from the likes of Arkansas, N.C. State, Tennessee, Oregon, and Liberty, and defensive back Kameron Bell from Rickards in Tallahassee who had offers from Southern Miss. and South Alabama.


4. Grambling
Grambling has a solid quarterback in Geremy Hickbottom, but head coach Broderick Fobbs and staff is looking towards the future and signed three-star quarterback Noah Bodden from Christ the King in New York City. Bodden had offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech.


The G-Men also received some help up front signing Rod Green (6-5, 300) a three-star recruit from Springfield Spring (Ohio) and Colin Gordon-Green (6-3, 320) a transfer from Monroe CC. On defense, the Tigers signed defensive lineman Jaden Hardy (6-3, 295) from Islands in Savannah, a three-star recruit who received offers from Baylor, Boston College, Auburn and Tennessee.


3. Florida A&M
Head coach Willie Simmons and staff were looking towards SWAC play in 2021 when signing this class of 20.


Defensively, the Rattlers signed 13, seven  on the defensive line. Defensive end Stephone Atkinson transferred from Western Kentucky but played in just one game. He was a three-star recruit in 2019 from Lake Minneola (Fla.).


Defensive lineman Savion Williams is a transfer from Tennessee and was the top-rated juco player in the class of 2019. Defensive end Khamari Brown was rated a three-star recruit by Rivals and is a local kid from Wakulla.


The Rattlers also signed his twin brother Timari also a defensive lineman. Other notable defensive players include: cornerback Winsome Frazier, a three-star signee from Miami Northwestern who held 11 offers including from Maryland, Illinois, Iowa State, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, and UCF; two-star linebacker Lucius Lattimore from Trinity Christian Academy, who was All-First Coast First Team; defensive back Kendall Bohler a transfer from Mercer who redshirted; and cornerback Andre Powell a three-star recruit who played at Naples and had several FBS offers.


Offensively, the Rattlers signed three offensive linemen including Jordan White from Gadsden County in nearby Quincy and Florida State transfer Jay Williams. Tight end Kareem Grant from St. Petersburg is a three-star signee who had offers from Kent State, Marshall, Bowling Green, and FIU. If that weren’t enough, the Rattlers signed wide Jeremiah Pruitte, a 6-6 transfer from Colorado State, wide receiver Jermaine Hawkins a two-star recruit from Killian (Miami) who chose FAMU over Utah and Toledo, and quarterback Jacory Jordan from Trinity Christian Academy, a three-star dual-threat who had several FBS offers.


2. North Carolina A&T
The Aggies are the three-time defending national champions and Sam Washington and his staff had one of the stronger recruiting classes in recent memory.


The Aggies are a perennial top 10 defense in FCS and of their 17 signings nine were on that side of the ball. There was a good mix of high school signees and transfers, particularly in the secondary.


Cornerback Terrell Spicer from Northside in Jacksonville, N.C., is a three-star recruit who has great size for a corner (6-3, 170). He had offers from Army and Liberty. Another addition to the secondary is three-star safety Shawn Chappell Jr. from Southern Durham who had offers from Georgia Tech, Arizona State, and Liberty.


Up front is where it all begins for the Aggies, who went out and got some experience on the defensive line, signing Emmanuel Ukhueligbe, a transfer from Saddleback Community College and Kyiev Bennermon, a transfer from Boston College who played in all 11 games in 2019, making one start.


A&T signed three-star linebacker Sam Ofurie from IMG Academy in Salem, Mass., who had offers from Michigan and Syracuse. The Aggies made some splash signings on offense, signing three-star running back Charlie Dixon (6-2, 230) from Callaway High in Hogansville, Ga. Dixon has great size and had 10 offers from the likes of Tennessee, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, and Louisville. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in nine games and helped lead Callaway to the state title.


Myers Park High graduate Elijah Bowick is a transfer from Virginia Tech who could see some time right away.


On the offensive line. the Aggies add Jonathan Cannon, a three-star recruit from Vance High who had offers from Coastal Carolina and Liberty.


1. Jackson State
New head coach Deion Sanders came into his new job as head football coach at Jackson State with a lot of flash. He and his staff’s class are reflective of that flash, a big class with the signing of 23.

I read from time to time about the various players Sanders was getting to commit to JSU. Saw the mid-year class and was definitely impressed. Any time you can sign a four-star quarterback you are doing something. There were a lot of FBS transfers, which is cool, but in these rankings, I like to see high school and juco signees.


On signing day is where JSU really impressed. Let’s start with the mid-year signees. Sanders’ top high school signing was that of his son Shedeur Sanders, a four-star recruit ranked the No. 12 quarterback in the country and No. 8 in Texas. He finished his prep career with 12,498 yards passing and 166 TDs. He is perhaps the first four-star quarterback to sign with an HBCU directly from high school.


In addition, the Tigers signed the nation’s top juco player in defensive back De’Jahn Warren, a four-star recruit from Lackawanna Junior College who had offers from Georgia, Alabama, and Auburn.


Defensive tackle Braezhon Ross is another impressive signing, a three-star recruit from Desert Pines in Las Vegas. He held 25 offers from Power 5 schools and was the No. 5 prospect in Nevada.


Donal Ware is publisher of Raleigh-based boxtorow.com.

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