At a glance:
Atlanta, GA (December 14, 2016) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced today four Finalists for the inaugural Black College Football Player of the Year Award. It will be presented annually to the most outstanding football player from a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) that embodies the rich tradition of athletic excellence and integrity associated with HBCUs.
The Finalists include QB Malcolm Bell (North Carolina Central University), RB Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T University), QB DeVante Kincade (Grambling State University) and RB Lenard Tillery (Southern University).
The Finalists were chosen by a five-member Selection Committee, which is composed of Black College Football Hall of Fame founders James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams, Sheridan Broadcast Network’s Director of Sports Ty Miller, former USA Today sports writer Roscoe Nance, and ESPN College Football Analyst Jay Walker.
“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees, we congratulate the inaugural Black College Football Player of the Year Finalists,” said Doug Williams, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee. “These student-athletes represent the best of HBCU Football today.”
The winner of the 2016 Black College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on February 25, 2017 at the Eighth Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy, named in honor of the football legend and inaugural BCFHOF inductee.
“Players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities have had a tremendous impact on the game of football,” said BCFHOF founder and 2012 inductee James Harris. “This award will allow us to highlight the great student athletes from today’s HBCUs and recognize them in front of the legends that paved the way.”
Quarterback … North Carolina Central University (NCCU) … Senior … 1st Team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) … Threw for 2,191 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 544 yards and nine touchdowns this season … Led MEAC in total yards and passing touchdowns … Will leave NCCU ranked as the program’s second all-time leading passer … Became first NCCU player to have over 1,000 rushing and 4,000 passing career yards … Graduated on December 10, 2016 with a degree in Criminal Justice … Born March 16, 1994.
Running Back … North Carolina A&T University … Senior … Three-time MEAC Offensive Player of the Year (2014-2016) … 1st Team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) … Led conference in rushing yards, total touchdowns and all-purpose yards … Led MEAC with 1,588 rushing yards (MEAC record), 18 rushing touchdowns, 1,927 all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns this season … Ran for 200-plus yards in four games this season … Finished 5th in voting for the FCS Player of the Year … All-time leading rusher in MEAC history … Born July 26, 1995.
Quarterback … Grambling State University … Junior … SWAC Offensive Player of the Year … 1st Team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) … Led SWAC in passing efficiency (171.6), completion percentage (65.2), passing yards per game (263.3) and total offensive yards per game (290.4) … Threw 31 touchdowns and just three interceptions … Named the 2016 Ben L. Cavil, Sr. "Big Ben" Award winner … Led Grambling to the SWAC Championship and a birth in the Celebration Bowl … Born September 16, 1994.
Running Back … Southern University and A&M College … Senior … 1st Team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference … Led SWAC in rushing yards (1,665), rushing touchdowns (13), all-purpose yards (1,972) and total touchdowns (15) … Became the SWAC's all-time leading rusher this season … Two-time All-SWAC 1st Team and two-time leader in rushing yards … Walked-on to Southern in 2012 before earning a scholarship in 2013 … Born December 9, 1993.
ABOUT DEACON JONES
David “Deacon” Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. He won unanimous All-NFL honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones is an inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2010) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
ABOUT THE BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October of 2009 by African-American pioneers and quarterbacks, Pro Bowl MVP James “Shack” Harris and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams to preserve the history and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There have been 64 Inductees since inception, including Mel Blount, James Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.