ATLANTA, GA (February 20, 2020) – Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Javon Hargrave has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Black College Football Pro Player of the Year, Presented by the NFL Players Association. The prestigious award is presented annually to the top professional football player who attended a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
Building on a breakout 2018 campaign, Hargrave continued his strong play this past season with four sacks, a forced fumble and a career-high 60 tackles, including seven tackles for loss. The former South Carolina State standout has earned a reputation as a dependable, durable player and missed only one game in his four-year NFL career.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be named this year’s NFLPA Black College Football Pro Player of the Year,” Hargrave said. “I’ve been inspired by so many great HBCU players who came before me, like South Carolina State’s own Robert Porcher and Donnie Shell, so it means a lot to get an award like this.”
Hargrave will be recognized as this year’s winner during the Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) Induction Ceremony on Saturday, February 22 in Atlanta. The 2020 BCFHOF class features Earl “Air” Harvey, James Hunter, Robert Mathis, Erik Williams, Coach Joe Taylor and Commissioner Dennis Thomas.
“We are happy to honor Javon as this year’s winner of one our most important awards,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said. “His play on the field and work off the field through his foundation serve as a strong example of the type of men produced by the many great HBCUs across the country.”
In recognition of February’s Black History Month, the NFL Players Association partnered with the Black College Football Hall of Fame to create this annual award. Each honoree is selected by a six-member committee comprised of Charles Bailey (former NFL executive player evaluator), Ron Hill (former NFL executive player evaluator), John X. Miller (Senior editor for ESPN’s The Undefeated), Jay Walker (former NFL player), Doug Williams (Washington Redskins Senior Vice President of Player Development) and Steve Wyche (Reporter, NFL Network).
The winner should serve as a positive influence in his community, have ties to his alma mater, exhibit good character throughout his career and perform at a high level during the current NFL season. Last year’s co-winners were current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T) and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard (South Carolina State).
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2020 NFL season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.
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 James “Shack” Harris (1974 Pro Bowl MVP) and Doug Williams (Super Bowl XXII MVP) to preserve the history of and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There have been 90 Inductees since inception, including Mel Blount, James Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.