By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN — We’re sitting less than a couple of weeks away from the 2018 NFL Draft at Jerry’s Place (aka AT&T Stadium) in Arlington. While some of the eyes of the football world will be focused on guys like Penn State RB Saquan Barkley and Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, we here at BASN Newsroom will be focusing elsewhere.
Over the next few days leading up to the three-day hootenanny in Texas, we’ll take a look at the best black college football players available in this year’s draft. Despite the fact that several starters, Pro Bowlers, and Hall of Famers have come out of these campuses, HBCU players still get marginalized and overlooked during these yearly affairs.
Each day, we’ll focus on the best available HBCU players at each position offensively and defensively. Some of them you may have heard of, others you may be introduced to for the first time. Whether you’re a true draftnik or just a casual observer, you’ll definitely be a little bit more informed as you sit and watch the proceedings.
First up today, quarterbacks.
DEVANTE KINCADE (6-1, 190) GRAMBLING STATE
Not only has Kincade been the SWAC’s Offensive Player of the Year the last two seasons, he’s been one of the most explosive players in the country. The Dallas native has led the Tigers to back-to-back SWAC crowns and a National Championship during his two seasons at GSU. Last season, Kincade was 198-of-332 passing for 2,680 yards and 21 touchdowns. He averaged 223.3 yards per game through the air with a 59.6 passing percentage. On the ground, he was second on the team with 315 yards on 104 carries and six touchdowns. An Ole Miss transfer, Kincade also accounted for over 50 touchdowns and over 6,000 yards of total offense over the last two seasons.
AUSTIN HOWARD (6-1, 190) SOUTHERN
Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the aforementioned Kincade, this Bayou native carved his own niche within SWAC football and the Jags. This past season, Howard became SU’s all-time leader in both touchdown passes (80) and passing yardage (9,208). He finished 2017 with 18 touchdown passes, 2,025 passing yards, and a completion percentage of just over 60 percent (171-for-282, 60.6) for the season. This came after losing two of his best weapons (All-SWAC performers Lenard Tillery and Willie Quinn) over the previous two seasons. A two-time All-SWAC selection in his own right, Howard was also a four-year starter for the Jags.
JOHNATHON McCRARY (6-5, 225) CLARK ATLANTA
If you’re looking for a small college sleeper, this standout from CAU may be your guy. A two-time, All-SIAC performer, McCrary led a Panther team that finished first in passing and total offense. He also was the conference’s top passer, throwing for 2,230 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 247 yards a game. He also rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns. A transfer from Vanderbilt, McCrary was the league’s top newcomer in 2016 and was one of three CAU players named to last year’s Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-South Region 2 team. The son of former NFL player (and CAU standout) Greg McCrary, he accounted for over 35 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards of offense while under center in the ATL.
Next up: Running backs.