BASN Inaugural All-American Team Named

By Donal Ware
Updated: December 21, 2007

Jacary Atkinson

Jacary Atkinson

RALEIGH, N.C. — Tuskegee quarterback Jacary Atkinson (6-3, 210, Jr., Valley, Ala.) and Prairie View A&M linebacker Zach East (6-2, 230, Sr., Houston, Tex.) headline the inaugural Black college All-American team. The team is made up of 27 of the top Black college football players in the country.


Atkinson was voted the Offensive Player of the Year. He was named the 2007 SIAC Offensive Player of the Year. Atkinson led Tuskegee, who finished No. 1 in the poll, to a 12-0 season. He completed 165-of-279 passes for 2,979 yards with 34 TDs and 9 INTs while completing 60 percent of his passes.

In addition to that he rushed for 584 yards on 120 carries and 7 TDs. Atkinson led all Black college players in pass efficiency (185.2), total offense (296.7) and passing yards. Tuskegee was the most high powered offense in Black college football (495.2 yards of total offense per game).

Morgan State running back Chad Simpson (5-10, 210, Sr., Miami, Fla.) also highlights the offense. Simpson was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Year. He led all Black college players in rushing (1,402 yards) and rushing touchdowns (14).

Simpson had five 100-yard performances and two-200 yard performances. Simpson is joined in the backfield by South Carolina State’s William Ford (5-11, 185, So., Travelers Rest, S.C.) who rushed for 1,389 yards (6.6 ypc).

Tuskegee wide receiver Jason English (6-1, 195, Jr., Mobile, Ala.) averaged an astonishing 25.5 yards per reception. He caught 39 passes for 993 yards and 14 TDs and led all Black college receivers who caught 35 or more passes in yards per reception.

The receiving corps is rounded out by Grambling’s Clyde Edwards (5-10, 175, Sr., Houston, Tex.) who had 49 receptions for 720 yards and 11 TD and Alabama A&M tight end Charles Moody (6-2, 257, Sr., Daleville, Ala.) who had 38 receptions for 423 yards and 2 TDs.

The offensive line features Tuskegee’s Larry Peoples (6-6, 325, Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.), Grambling State’s Tavarus Cockrell (6-2, 310, Sr., Birmingham, Ala.), South Carolina State’s James Lee (6-6, 300, Sr., Belle Glade, Fla.), Jackson State’s Lorenzo Breland (6-2, 312, Jr., Picayune, Miss.), and Alabama A&M’s James Sanders (6-1, 255, Sr., Indianapolis, Ind.).

Peoples was key in the success of the Tuskegee offense which led Black college football in total offense (495.2). Cockrell was a key contributor to the success of a Tiger offense that averaged 359.4 yards per game.

Lee was a key contributor to the successful running game of South Carolina State which led Black college football in rushing (264.0). Breland helped lead Jackson State to averaging over 377 yards of total offense per game. Sanders was the key to Alabama A&M leading the SWAC in total offense (395.5).


Hampton’s Kendall Langford (6-6, 294, Sr., Petersburg Va.) headlines the defensive line. He is joined by Tuskegee’s Jarvis DeVaughn (6-0, 245, Jr., Katy, Tex.), Shaw’s Louis Ellis (6-4, 295, Jr., Jackson, Miss.), Howard’s Rudolph Hardie (6-2, 280, Sr., Hartford, Conn.), and Clark-Atlanta’s Curtis Johnson (6-4, 245, Sr., Lauderhill, Fla.). (There was a tie in the voting, thus five defensive linemen.)

Langford, who is regarded as one of the top pro prospects on the defensive line, recorded 15 tackles for loss and six sacks. DeVaughan recorded 12 sacks and 20 tackles for loss.

Ellis was the CIAA Defensive Player of the Year and was the leader of the third ranked defense in Division II and was second in the nation in tackles for loss (2.3) and also recorded 10 sacks. Hardie led the MEAC in sacks and the FCS in tackles for loss (2.3). Johnson was the SIAC Defensive Player of the Year and led Division II in sacks (1.2) recording 15 and tackles for loss with 31.

East was voted the Defensive Player of the Year. Joining East at the linebacker position are Bethune-Cookman’s Ronnie McCullough (6-1, 230, Sr., Daytona Beach, Fla.), and Norfolk State’s Marquez Davis (6-3, 230, Sr., Newport News, Va.).

East led the SWAC in tackles (127 in 10 games or 12.7) and ranked fourth in the SWAC with 18 tackles for loss. McCullough led all Black college players in tackles (149) and recorded 26 tackles for loss. Davis recorded 107 tackles, good for second in the MEAC (9.7).

Alabama A&M’s Al Donaldson (5-10, 173, Jr., Crawfordville, Fla.) was the leading vote getter amongst the defensive backs. Joining Donaldson in the defensive backfield are Bethune-Cookman’s Bobbie Williams (6-0, 212, Sr., Miami Fla.), Tennessee State’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (6-2, 170, Sr., Brendenton, Fla.). and Stillman’s Dre’Mail Hardin (6-1, 195, Jr., Tuscaloosa, Ala.).

Donaldson tied for the lead amongst Black college players in interceptions (9) and recorded 11 pass break-ups. Williams comes from a long line of great defensive backs at Bethune-Cookman and recorded 77 tackles and 2 INT’s from the free safety position. Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the premier corners in the country and recorded 2 INT’s both of which he returned for TDs and had 11 pass break-ups. Hardin tied for the lead in interceptions (9), ranking second in Division II.


This year’s specialists were place kicker Peter Gaertner (6-0, 193, Sr., Berlin, Germany) of Delaware State, punter Brandon Larkin of Clark-Atlanta, kick returner De’Audra Dix (6-0, 180, Sr., Merritt Island, Fla.) of Johnson C. Smith and punt returner Jeremy Gilchrist (5-10, 174, Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) of Hampton.

Gaertner is one of the clutch place kickers in the country. He helped DSU to the MEAC crown by kicking game-winning or tying field goals in three-straight games. He connected on 19 of 25 field goals (76 percent). Larkin averaged 43.6 yards per punt and had 30 punts downed inside the 20. Dix Averaged 31.3 yards per kick off return. Gilchrist was electrifying, returning 20 punts for 380 yards (19.0 ypr) with 3 TDs.

The Rookie of the Year is Grambling running back Frank Warren (6-0, 185, Pleasant Grove, Ala.). Warren finished third in the SWAC in rushing (77.5) after carrying the ball 182 times for 852 yards and 5 TDs. He also recorded three 100-yard rushing games.

The Coach of the Year is Delaware State’s Al Lavan. Lavan led Delaware State to its first MEAC Championship since 1991 and made an appearance in the FCS Playoffs for the first time ever.

The HBCU All-American team is a collaboration between two major African-American sports entities, DWCommunications, LLC (the parent company of and The Black Athlete Sports Network (BASN).

The voters are comprised of some of America’s top writers who cover black college football.


Pos. Name School Ht. Wt.. Class Hometown

QB Jacary Atkinson Tuskegee 6-3 210 Jr. Valley, Ala.

RB William Ford S.C. State 5-11 185 So. Travelers Rest, S.C.

RB Chad Simpson Morgan State 5-10 210 Sr. Miami, Fla.

OL Lorenzo Breland Jackson State 6-2 312 Jr. Picayune, Miss.

OL Tavarus Cockrell Grambling St. 6-2 310 Sr. Birmingham, Ala.

OL James Lee S.C. State 6-6 300 Sr. Belle Glade, Fla.

OL Larry Peoples Tuskegee 6-6 325 Sr. Jacksonville, Fla.

OL James Sanders Ala. A&M 6-1 255 Sr. Indianapolis, Ind.

TE Charles Moody Ala. A&M 6-2 257 Sr. Daleville, Ala.

WR Clyde Edwards Grambling St. 5-10 175 Sr. Houston, Tex.

WR Jason English Tuskegee 6-1 195 Jr. Mobile, Ala.


DL Jarvis DeVaughn Tuskegee 6-0 245 Jr. Katy, Tex.

DL Louis Ellis Shaw 6-4 295 Jr. Jackson, Miss.

DL Rudolph Hardie Howard 6-2 280 Sr. Hartford, Conn.

DL Curtis Johnson Clark-Atl. 6-4 245 Sr. Lauderhill, Fla.

DL Kendal Langford Hampton 6-6 294 Sr. Petersburg Va.

LB Marquez Davis Norfolk St. 6-3 230 Sr. Nwprt News, Va.

LB Zach East Prairie View 6-2 230 Sr. Houston, Tex.

LB Ronnie McCullough BCC 6-1 230 Sr. Daytna Bch, Fla.

DB Al Donaldson Ala. A&M 5-10 173 Jr. Crwfrdville, Fla.

DB Dre’Mail Hardin Stillman 6-1 195 Jr. Tuscaloosa, Ala.

DB D. Rodgers-Cromartie Tenn. State 6-2 170 Sr. Brendenton, Fla.

DB Bobbie Williams BCC 6-0 212 Sr. Miami Fla.


PK Peter Gaertner Del. State 6-0 193 Sr. Berlin, Germany

P Brandon Larkin Clark-Atl. 6-2 195 Sr. Richmond, Va.

KR De’Audra Dix J.C. Smith 6-0 180 Sr. Merritt Island, Fla.

PR Jeremy Gilchrist Hampton 5-10 174 Jr. Virginia Bch, Va.


Offensive Player of the Year: Jacary Atkinson (Tuskegee)

Defensive Player of the Year: Zach East (Prairie View A&M)

Rookie of the Year: Frank Warren (Grambling State)

Coach of the Year: Al Lavan (Delaware State)

Honorable Mention

(Players receiving two or more votes)

RB Jay Peck (Alabama State), RB Javarris Williams (Tennessee State), OL LaQuentin Blair (Virginia Union), OL Thaddeus Coleman (Mississippi Valley State), OL Dennis Conley (Hampton), OL Ivora Hall (Alabama State), WR Jeremy Gilchrist (Hampton), DL William Hayes (Winston-Salem State), DL Vincent Lands (Southern), LB Russell Reeves (Delaware State), DB Craig Amos (North Carolina central), DB Jarmaul George (Southern), P Eric Perri (Jackson State), P Jahmal Blanchard (Hampton), PR Robert Brown (Shaw).