HBCU Legacy Bowl to Be Held by Black CFB HOF to Showcase Draft-Eligible Players

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

North Carolina A&T's Marquell Cartwright (22) dives through the Grambling State defense during the Celebration Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Atlanta. (Andrew Krech/News & Record via AP)
Andrew Krech/Associated Press

The Black College Football Hall of Fame is launching the HBCU Legacy Bowl, an annual event that will showcase the best draft-eligible players from historically Black colleges and universities.

"The HBCU Legacy Bowl means opportunity and exposure for HBCU players and coaches," Hall of Fame co-founder Doug Williams said in Thursday's announcement"We're excited to have this in New Orleans, especially during Black History Month."

The first game will be on Feb. 12, 2022, six days after Super Bowl LVI.

Williams is one of the more notable NFL players to come from an HBCU. 

The 65-year-old was a star at Grambling State before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him in the first round of the 1978 draft. He went on to lead the Washington Football Team to victory in Super Bowl XXII, winning a Super Bowl MVP in the process.

Deacon Jones, Walter Payton, Steve McNair, Jerry Rice, Aeneas Williams, Shannon Sharpe and Michael Strahan were among the others to play at an HBCU before moving on to the next level.

In general, HBCUs began to struggle as more Division I—now FBS—schools opened their doors to Black players. The growing financial gulf between Power Five schools and the rest of college football has widened the gap.

The Atlantic's Jemele Hill advocated in October 2019 for more elite high school athletes to consider enrolling at historically Black colleges and universities. Makur Maker, whom 247Sports' composite rankings had as the No. 18 player in the 2020 class, signed with the Howard men's basketball team.

The Legacy Bowl is planning to invite around 100 players to Tulane University for the inaugural game.