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Seven HBCU Hopefuls To Perform In NFL Scouting Combine
By Tony McClean
Updated: February 23, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Seven black college football players, including four from Hampton University’s three-time MEAC championship squads, will make the first step in what they hope are careers in the National Football League.
This weekend, more than 300 NFL hopefuls from over 100 universities will converge on the RCA Dome in Indianapolis for the biggest job interviews of their lives at the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine.
Last year, four HBCU hopefuls went through the process of on-field drills, medical testing, exams and interviews with team personnel and the media. The entire weekend’s proceedings will be broadcast on the NFL Network.
Among the success stories from last year was former Howard All-American defensive back Antoine Bethea, a sixth-round pick that played a key role in the Indianapolis Colts’ march to a Super Bowl title.
The following are capsule summaries of the seven players that were invited:
RB ALONZO COLEMAN, HAMPTON
Despite carrying the ball a career-low 158 times in 2006 due to injury, Coleman ran for 1,052 yards and 12 touchdowns to become just the sixth player in Division I history to post four 1,000-yard seasons. The MEAC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2005, Coleman was also an All-MEAC selection in all four of his seasons with the Pairates. He departs Hampton as the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher with 4,648 yards and 64 touchdowns.
WR/KR JACOBY JONES, LANE COLLEGE
The 2006 SIAC’s Offensive Player of the Year, Jones led the conference in receiving yards per game (74.7), receptions per game (6.18), receiving touchdowns (6) all purpose yards per game (189.9) punt return average (13.8), was the only SIAC athlete to return a kickoff for a touchdown and was second in the conference in scoring having scored 10 touchdowns (1 rushing, 6 receiving, 3 returns).
LB JUSTIN DURANT, HAMPTON
Durant became the first player in MEAC history to win a third Defensive Player of the Year Award. In 2006, Durant led the league with 98 total tackles, including 65 solo stops. He also had 13 tackles for loss, a sack, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery for a Pirate defense that allowed just 14.5 points per game (7th in NCAA). Durant was named the SBN Sports Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year as well.
WR MIKE MASON, TENNESSEE STATE
Despite missing three games with a knee injury in 2006, Mason led TSU in receiving with 31 catches for 331 yards. The transfer from the University of North Carolina was also the Tigers’ leading kick return specialist averaging 31.3 return yards. His best game of the season came in TSU’s home opener against SWAC Champion Alabama A&M. In the 27-20 loss, Mason had seven grabs for 83 yards and added 54 yards on a kickoff return for 134 all-purpose yards.
DB TRAVAROUS BAIN, HAMPTON
A former Miami Hurricane, Bain joined the Pirates for the 2005 season and established himself as one of the top ranked cornerbacks in the country. He was a two-time selection to the All-MEAC First Team, picking off a team-high five passes and breaking up six others this past season. In 12 games in 2006, Bain registered 19 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one forced fumble.
DB MICHAEL COE, ALABAMA STATE
Coe, who has already earned a degree in mass communications, transferred to ASU after three years at the University of Arkansas to play for his father, Charles Coe. In 2006, Michael was named All-SWAC, leading the conference in passes defended and tying for first in passing broken up. Selected for the Senior Bowl, Coe had the game’s only interception. The pick came on a pass thrown by Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton to the corner of the endzone.
WR ONREA JONES, HAMPTON
After spliting time at wide receiver and kick returner in 2005, Jones had a breakout season for the Pirates in 2006. His 57 grabs for 679 yards and five TDs was second only to his All-MEAC teammate Marquay McDaniel. In 2005, Jones set a Hampton University playoff record with 11 receptions and 192 receiving yards versus the Richmond Spiders. In his final game at Hampton, Jones had eight grabs for 77 yards.