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HBCU Game Time

Top 5 HBCU Players to Watch: Vol. 5

I’m excited to write HBCU Game Time, powered by BOX TO ROW for JET!  As host of the national sports talk radio show “From the Press Box to Press Row,” I cover all sports, with an emphasis on our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The talent level in HBCU football will be very high this year. There is also such a talented youth movement afoot that if this was a top 10 list, running back Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T, defensive end Javancy Jones of Jackson State and linebacker Kourtney Berry, all sophomores, would be in this group.

5. Marquise Grizzle, Shaw, Running Back (5-7, 165, Jr., Camden, N.C.)

Shaw @ Fayetteville State Saturday October 12, 2013.

Grizzle had a strong rookie year two years ago as a freshman and didn’t have a sophomore slump, leading all HBCU players in yards per carry (127.6) along with 12 rushing touchdowns last year. He rushed for 100 or more yards in eight games and rushed for 97 and 94 yards in two others. He’s much stronger than his size would indicate, has a great burst between the tackles and usually makes the first tackler miss.

4. Greg McGhee, Howard, Quarterback (6-3, 208, Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.)

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There’s no mistake why McGhee wears the same No. 7 as Bison greats Jay Walker and Ted White did in the ’90s. The BOXTOROW National Rookie of the Year in 2011, McGhee excelled last year after a sub-par sophomore year, leading the MEAC in total offense (272.9). He completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,379 yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for 896 yards and three touchdowns. He finished second in the MEAC in passing and third in rushing. He needs just 2,913 yards to break White’s MEAC record for total offensive yardage.

3. Ben Anderson, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Quarterback (6-3, 200, r-Sr., Little Rock, Ark.)

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Anderson has been arguably the SWAC’s best player over the last three years. In 2013, he accounted for 3,586 yards of total offense, which led the SWAC in that category and represented 77 percent of UAPB’s offense. He also completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,787 yards and 19 touchdowns. His 28 total touchdowns represented the second-highest total in the league. In his three years, he has amassed 8,372 yards of total offense.

2. Daniel Fitzpatrick, Tennessee State, Safety (6-2, 215, Sr., Ft. Wayne, Ind.)

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Fitzpatrick is regarded as one of the top safeties in the country and the numbers bear that out. He led the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with eight interceptions and was the leader of the sixth-ranked defense in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). He also broke up eight passes and recorded 75 tackles (52 solo).

1. Lynden Trail, Norfolk State, Linebacker (6-7, 260, Sr., Miami, Fla.)

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Trail is one of college football‘s most versatile players. The former University of Florida transfer put up huge defensive numbers – 94 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, eight pass breakups, five forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. In the Spartans’ 27-24 upset victory over Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Trail had nine tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also lined up at tight end on occasion, registering three receptions — all for touchdowns. He is expected to play more of an offensive role.

About Donal Ware

Donal Ware, HBCU GameTime

Donal Ware is the authority on HBCU football.  Listen to Box to Row on Fridays 1p ET/10a PT on SiriusXM Channel 141 and Saturdays 12p/9a PT on SiriusXM Channel 142. You can follow Donal Ware on Twitter @dware1 and @boxtorow and Facebook /box2row. Please share your thoughts at digitalpitches@ebony.com.