Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders voiced his displeasure at seeing zero players selected from historically Black colleges and universities during the 2021 NFL draft.
In a post on Instagram, Sanders had this to say when none of the 259 players drafted this year were from HBCUs:
"And we have the Audacity to Hate on one another while our kids are being NEGLECTED & REJECTED. I witnessed a multitude of kids that we played against that were more than qualified to be drafted. My prayers are that This won’t EVER happen again. Get yo knife out my back and fight with me not against me!"
Once the draft concluded, the Undefeated did note that several HBCU players agreed to deals with teams as undrafted free agents:
The Undefeated @TheUndefeated
Although zero HBCU players were drafted in the NFL this year, some have signed with teams as UDFAs:<br><br>Mac McCain, NC A&T - Broncos<br>Bryan Mills, North Carolina Central - Seahawks<br>David Moore, Grambling - Panthers<br>Calvin Ashley, FAMU - Bucs<br>Kion Smith, Fayetteville State - Falcons pic.twitter.com/KAqyendDn8
Sanders just finished his first season as head coach at Jackson State, an HBCU that plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
When the Tigers announced his hiring in September, Sanders said one of the reasons he took the job was to bring greater attention to HBCU athletes.
"This amazing HBCU has always enjoyed a high level of commitment academically and athletically," Sanders said. "It's my desire to continue this storied tradition and history of JSU and prayerfully bring more national recognition to the athletes, the university, the Sonic Boom of the South, and HBCUs in general."
Offensive tackle Lachavious Simmons from Tennessee State was the only player from an HBCU drafted last year. The Chicago Bears selected him No. 227 overall in the seventh round.
There are increased efforts to give HBCU football players exposure to NFL scouts before the draft.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes announced a multiyear partnership with the HBCU Legacy Bowl in March. The game will feature around 100 draft-eligible prospects playing a showcase game at Tulane's Yulman Stadium every February beginning in 2022.