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Black College Football Hall of Fame Announces 2019 Black College Football Player of the Year Award Finalists

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Atlanta, GA (December 6, 2019) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced today four Finalists for the Black College Football Player of the Year Award. The Award is 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. Former North Carolina A&T State University, and current Chicago Bears Running Back Tarik Cohen was the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2016, and former Bowie State quarterback Amir Hall was selected as the recipient in 2017 and 2018.

The 2019 Finalists include QB Felix Harper (Alcorn State University), RB Jah-Maine Martin (North Carolina A&T State University), WR Chris Rowland (Tennessee State University) and Ryan Stanley (Florida A&M 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, longtime SBN Broadcaster and Director of News and Sports for the Power News Radio Network Ty Miller, former USA Today sports writer Roscoe Nance, and ESPN College Football Analyst Jay Walker.

“The Black College Football Player of the Year Award showcases the immense talent of our HBCU student-athletes today,” said Doug Williams, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee. “Each finalist has had an incredible season and we are excited to celebrate their success.” 

The winner of the 2019 Black College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on February 22, 2020 at the 11th Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Presented by the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy, named in honor of the football legend and inaugural BCFHOF inductee.

“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees, we congratulate the Black College Football Player of the Year Finalists,” said James “Shack” Harris, Co-Founder and 2012 Inductee. “These student-athletes represent the very best of HBCU football.” 

The Finalists will also be recognized at the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on December 21st, along with the BCFHOF Class of 2020, which will be televised on ABC.

Felix Harper

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Quarterback … Alcorn State University … Junior … 2019 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Offensive Player of the Year … 1st Team All-SWAC … Led SWAC in passing efficiency (167.9), and was second in yards (2,387) and touchdowns (29) despite starting the season as the backup QB … Rushed for 154 yards and an additional four touchdowns on the season, while only throwing five interceptions … Named SWAC Offensive Player of the Week three times in 2019 … Threw six touchdowns in 45-19 victory over Mississippi Valley State … Led Alcorn State to the SWAC Championship.

Jah-Maine Martin

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Running Back … North Carolina A&T State University … Junior … 1st Team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) … Led MEAC in rushing yards (1,336) and touchdowns (21) … Broke Tarik Cohen’s school record for rushing touchdowns in a season … Led the Aggies to their fourth consecutive berth in the Celebration Bowl … Candidate for MEAC Offensive Player of the Year … Finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player in FCS Football.

Chris Rowland

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Wide Receiver and Return Specialist … Tennessee State University … Senior … 2019 Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Offensive Player of the Year … 1st Team All-OVC as a wide receiver and return specialist … Led OVC in receptions (104), receiving yards (1,437) and all-purpose yards (2,110) … The 104 receptions in a season set a new HBCU record … Only Division I player (FBS or FCS) to score a touchdown via kick return, punt return, reception and rushing … Had six games with 200-plus all-purpose yards during the season … Selected to participate in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Ryan Stanley

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Quarterback … Florida A&M University … Senior … 1st Team All-MEAC … Candidate for MEAC Offensive Player of the Year … Led MEAC in passing efficiency (146.6), yards (2,566), touchdowns (23) and total offense per game (261.9) … Led the Rattlers to the best record in the MEAC (7-1) … Became Florida A&M’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions this season … Finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player in FCS Football.


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 84 Inductees since inception, including Mel Blount, James Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.