By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN — We’ve reached the end of our NFL Draft primers leading up to the three-day hootenanny in Texas. Over the last week, 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. Over the last three days, we focused on the best available defensive lineman, linebackers, and safeties.
Today’s final focus is on cornerbacks.
DANNY JOHNSON (5-10, 185) SOUTHERN
A two-time All-SWAC performer and FCS All-American, Johnson was one of the nation’s best defensive backs. One of three HBCU players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, the Louisiana native intercepted three passes and broke up 12 others in 2017. He showed his versatility by accounting for six touchdowns in five different ways: two by interception return, one by punt return and one each passing, rushing and receiving. He finished his career tied for the lead among active FCS players in career interceptions with 16, and he led all active FCS players in passes defended (55).
DIQUAN RICHARDSON (5-11, 180) BETHUNE-COOKMAN
A two-time All-MEAC selection, Richardson finished atop the BCU statistical category for tackles (84) and was seventh overall in the league for that department. The Allen, S.C. native was instrumental to the Wildcats defensive backfield, finishing fifth in the league for passes defended as he accumulated 12 breakups and a league third-best five interceptions. “Deuce” also picked off a pair of passes in the Florida Blue Florida Classic, allowing BCU to collect its seventh straight win against in-state opponent Florida A&M.
DE’AUMANTE JOHNSON (5-9, 175) GRAMBLING STATE
An All-SWAC selection in 2017, Johnson was among the best in the country when it comes to interceptions, ranking eighth in the FCS and first in the SWAC in interceptions per game. He finished 2017 with 31 total tackles, including 26 solo stops. He has five interceptions, including three in a victory over Mississippi Valley State, which landed him the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year honor. In addition, he has five pass breakups and two tackles for loss. Also, he added two blocked field goals in a win over Alabama State.
JONAH MCCUTCHEON (6-2, 210) TUSKEGEE
A three-time All-SIAC performer, McCutcheon finished 2017 with 38 tackles and ranked third in the league with three interceptions. Two of his three picks came in crucial points during the game. In the season opener against FCS opponent Alabama State, he returned an interception 46 yards in the 4th quarter to seal a 14-6 win. In a 23-17 win against Morehouse College, McCutcheon picked off a pass in overtime to set up the go-ahead touchdown for the Golden Tigers. The Mobile, Ala. native also had a pick in the FCS National Bowl back in December.
RAHMAN KAMARA (6-0, 190) BOWIE STATE
A two-time All-CIAA selection, “The Lightpole” has been one of the Bulldogs’ best defensive players during the last two seasons. In 11 games last season, the Bowie, Md. native had 19 tackles (16 solos), one interception, and a fumble recovery. A four-year starter at BSU, Kamara finished his career with 94 solo tackles, nine interceptions, and 40 pass breakups.
JASON BAXTER (6-1, 195) SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
An All-MEAC selection in 2017, the Manning, S.C. native was the Bulldogs’ third-leading tackler on the season with 41 total (29 solos). Dubbed as the “Head Hunter”, Baxter also added three interceptions and a pair of sacks. He was part of an SCSU defense that finished second overall in the MEAC, just behind the HBCU national champion Aggies of North Carolina A&T.