By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus
To say sports fans have undergone extreme withdrawal symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic would be a major understatement. However, later this week, they may get their first reprieve.
The NFL (as of press time) have stated they will still put on their annual College Draft extravaganza on April 23-25. Originally scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, all draft activities will be held on-line while being broadcast by the NFL Network, ABC, and ESPN Networks.
Today, we continue with our annual look at the best HBCU football players that are eligible for this year’s draft. It gives our readers a look back at some of the outstanding performers of the past season who hope to turn their Saturday dreams into Sunday realities.
Our last piece focused on linebackers. Today, we focus on cornerbacks.
Christian Angulo, Hampton
The Tampa, Fla. was the Defensive MVP of the Chicago Football Classic with five pass breakups, three tackles and one interception in the win over Howard. He was ranked fifth in FCS with 14 pass breakups. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder recorded a season high four tackles against Monmouth and had four pass breakups at Charleston Southern. Angulo was also named to the Big South All-Academic team announced along with the All-Conference squad.
Traviontae Brown, Benedict College
The 6-foot, 175-pounder was tied for the team lead in pass breakups on the season with seven and was tied for second on the team in interceptions. Following his junior season, the Albany, Ga. native was named to the AFCA Division II Coaches’ All American Team, becoming the first Benedict football player to receive this honor. Prior to his senior season, he was named to the preseason watch list for the Black College Football Hall of Fame Deacon Jones Trophy.
Carl Garnes, Morgan State
Garnes was recognized as an All-MEAC standout in the Bears’ secondary in 2019. The Columbus, N.J. native was tied for 3rd in the league with 13 passes defended. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder ranked 2nd with 11 breakups on the season, including a pair of interceptions. Garnes ranked fourth on the team with 48 tackles (35 solos) from his cornerback position.
Terry Jefferson, Florida A&M
The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder finished his career at FAMU with an All-MEAC First Team selection. A graduate student from Miami, Fla. Jefferson finished the season with 69 total tackles, 33 solo tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, one interception and one sack. Jefferson also had a fumble recovery against Morgan State, which he scooped up and returned it for a 50-yard touchdown.
Joseph McWilliams, Grambling State
A two-time All-SWAC performer, the Baton Rouge native made an impact this season in the Tigers’ secondary in 2019. McWilliams ranked fourth nationally and second in the SWAC in blocked kicks, with three. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder registered four interceptions, one returned 20 yards for a touchdown against Alabama A&M. Nationally, McWilliams is 15th in FCS in interceptions per game and first in the SWAC. He finished with 32 tackles, including 27 solo stops. In addition, he had three pass breakups and one tackle for loss.
Trevor Merritt, Bethune-Cookman
A two-time All-MEAC selection, the Rockledge, Fla. native registered two interceptions for touchdowns, one at the season-opening MEAC/SWAC Challenge and the other against Florida A&M in the Florida Blue Florida Classic. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder was also tabbed as defensive MVP in the Spiral Tropical All-Star Bowl Showcase following the season. He added a 45-yard interception return and two tackles.
Javen Morrison, Alcorn State
The Corinth, Miss. native tallied a pair of interceptions in 2019 as well as 35 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Morrison was part of a secondary that lead the nation in both interceptions (21) and turnovers gained (36). A two-time All-SWAC selection, the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder led the Braves in interceptions for three consecutive years from 2016-18. He finished with 12 in his career.
Dajour Nesbeth, Tennessee State
The two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference standout suffered an injury in the first game of the season forcing him to miss three contests. The Winter Garden, Fla. native was moved to safety in his return due to injuries, before moving back to cornerback in the final two games. Despite the layoff, Nesbeth finished sixth on the team with 50 tackles, 4.0 for loss, to go along with an interception and four pass breakups.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.