By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN — Over the last four days leading up to the three-day hootenanny in Texas, we’ve been taking 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.
We’ve already ready focused on the best available offensive players. Check out our archives if you’ve missed any of the previous primers. Today, we begin on the defense with a look at the best available lineman.
EBENEZER OGUNDEKO (6-3, 260) TENNESSEE STATE
A three-time All-OVC selection and a member of the Buck Buchanon Award watch list, “Ebo” has been a standout for TSU. Despite being injured on the first play of the third game of the season and missing the next two games as well, Ogundeko was able to produce a strong senior campaign. The defensive end collected 43 tackles, 7.5 for loss totaling 30 yards, and 4.0 sacks. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native was also selected to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January.
CHRIS LEE (6-2, 288) NORFOLK STATE
A three-time All-MEAC selection, Lee became the fifth Spartan defender ever to earn All-MEAC honors three times in a career. He finished the season with 59 tackles and team highs of 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, both of which ranked in the top 11 in the MEAC. Lee was also credited with a team-high six quarterback hurries and finished the year with one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
DEVOHN REED (6-2, 265) PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
A three-time All-SWAC performer and four-year starter for the Panthers, Reed finished 2017 with 33 tackles, 3.0 sacks, and 8.0 TFL with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The Houston native recorded at least 0.5 TFL eight times. He finished his career at PVAM with 37.5 tackles for losses and 18 sacks.
ANTONIO BROWN (6-3, 250) NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL
A two-time All-MEAC selection, Brown was among the conference leaders with 8.5 tackles for a loss, 5.0 sacks, and two fumble recoveries, even though he was limited for most of 2017 due to an injury. He wrapped up his NCCU career with 124 total tackles, 32.0 hits for a loss, 17.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and six pass deflections. His 17.5 career sacks are the most since 2004.
JASON MORROW (6-3, 285) TENNESSEE STATE
An All-OVC selection in 2017, Morrow was a four-year starter for the Tigers. The senior was a force in the middle of the defensive front with two pass deflections, a breakup, a hurry and ranked third in the nation with three blocked kicks. Morrow also made 21 stops, 5.0 for loss and 2.5 sacks, while also notching his first career interception in a game at Eastern Kentucky.
NATE WYCHE (6-1, 235) CHOWAN
A three-time All-CIAA performer, Wyche tore through the league recording 8.0 sacks in just five games. The Suffolk, Va. native finished the season first in sacks (8.0), third in TFLs (8.0) and tied for eighth in tackles (31). Before missing the rest of the season, Wyche became the program’s all-time sack leader.
Up next: Linebackers