HBCU Classic Sports

          May 2022

   Football Edition, Volume I


HBCU Football Universe Springs Forward

By: Ty Prather, April 2022 

       It’s a wrap, the final snap of the inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl in New Orleans, La., put a nice, finishing touch on the 2021 HBCU football season. Kudos, to all those involved, it exceeded expectations and provided our HBCU Classics the first class experience they deserve.

       In combination with the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and the HBCU Combine, this class of draft eligible players has received the most in-depth, extensive, talent evaluations of any HBCU football players in college football history. Hopefully, all this additional scrutiny will result in an exponential increase in HBCU Classics in the 2022 NFL draft.

     Overall, HBCU 2021 football operations were better than expected, only a few games were postponed and/or re-scheduled due to Covid-19. The lingering uncertainty over how HBCU football would fair with the COVID-19 pandemic looming in the background, and more specifically, how would small school programs respond to playing two seasons in one calendar year? And how would other programs perform after not playing for a full calendar year? 

     In short, admirably. The HBCU Universe as a whole, adapted exceptionally well to the myriad of obstacles in this new paradigm. The conferences, schools, coaches and players, all met the challenge of instituting, and adhering to best practices. But for, a handful of early competitions, the conferences maintained their schedules and were able to compete for championships at their respective levels. 

     And just in time, as the COVID-19 variant, OMICRON, arrived right at the end of November 2021, sparing the football season, but putting basketball, and other winter/spring sports, in jeopardy.

         On the field, the mighty South Carolina State Bulldogs finished strong, ripping off seven (7) consecutive wins to end their season as 2021 Black College National Champions. MEAC Champion, SC State (7-5) dominated the Cricket Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Ga., 31-10, over SWAC Champion, Jackson State (11-2).

        The heavily favored Tigers of JSU, were held to only 19 total rushing yards by the fast, strong, and physically superior Bulldog defense.

           WR, Shaquan Davis, put on a show, catching 5 passes for 95 yards and 3 TDs. 

                           (photo courtesy: scsuathletics.com)

       Black College Division II Champion, Bowie State Bulldogs (13-1) continue their march into the history books.  After winning their fourth consecutive CIAA Championship, the Bulldogs proved themselves worthy in the NCAA Division II playoffs; defeating Lenoir-Rhyne and Newberry in the first two rounds.

Bowie State Coach Damon Wilson (89-45) earns AFCA Coach of the Year Award after 12-2 season.

(photo courtesy: bsubulldogs.com)

      Elsewhere, there was an unusually high amount of HBCU coaching turnover this off-season, below is a re-cap.


HBCU Coaching Carousel


Old Coach 

New Coach 


Jason Rollins 

Eric Dooley 

Prairie View 

Eric Dooley 

Bubba McDowell 


Willie Slater 

Reginald Ruffin 

Fort Valley State 

Maurice Flowers 

Shawn Gibbs 

Savannah State 

Shawn Quinn 

Aaron Kelton

Clark Atlanta 

Tim Bowens 

Willie Slater 

Central  State

George Ragsdale 

Kevin Porter 


Reginald Ruffin 

Sam Shade 

Alabama State 

Donald Hill-Eley 

Eddie Robinson, Jr. 

Johnson C. Smith 

Kermit Blount 

Maurice Flowers