Senior Bowl, NFL planning pre-draft combine for prospects from HBCUs
The Senior Bowl and the NFL on Wednesday announced that it plans to host the first ever pre-draft combine for top prospects from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) next January.
The event, scheduled from Jan. 28 to Jan. 29, 2022, comes after the first HBCU combine was scheduled for March 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The NFL said in a Wednesday press release that the HBCU combine will be held at the University of South Alabama and will mirror the NFL combine traditionally held for top university football players to demonstrate their on-field skills, as well as participate in interviews and medical evaluations.
The HBCU combine will include players invited from four HBCU conferences — the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference — as well as other HBCU institutions.
According to the press release, an HBCU Scouting Committee made up of current and former league executives will be in charge of selecting participants for the combine, with the Senior Bowl responsible for providing medical and football personnel to collect information on participants.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement Wednesday that the HBCU combine will allow a better opportunity for HBCU players to be considered in the NFL Draft.
“Throughout NFL history, HBCU athletes have exemplified a standard of excellence both on and off the field,” Vincent said. “The HBCU Combine is part of honoring that legacy and making every effort to accelerate exposure of HBCU draft prospects to all NFL clubs.”
“The game is better when all have the opportunity to compete,” he added.
Jim Nagy, executive director of the Reese’s-sponsored Senior Bowl, said in a statement that it was “honored to be collaborating with the National Football League to host the inaugural HBCU Combine.”
“Over the years, the Senior Bowl has served as a showcase for some of the top Black college football players in America, including seven of our game’s 56 future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and this event will help many more HBCU players secure further attention and exposure from all 32 teams,” he said.
The Senior Bowl, the post-season college football game traditionally held in Mobile, Ala., provides an opportunity for top NFL prospects to play in an all-star game prior to the NFL Draft.
The 2022 Senior Bowl is scheduled for Feb. 5 at the University of South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium.
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