Top HBCU Draft Prospects (Part Four)

By Tony McClean
Updated: April 24, 2008

NFL Draft

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — With the NFL Draft just days away, BASN with the help of “Diamonds In The Rough” will take a look at the best black college players that will be eligible to be taken this weekend.

Recognized as the nation’s only football scouting service that specializes in the evaluation of players from HBCU’s, Shannon Kneeland and his staff at DITR has served as BASN’s exclusive source for the past six years in regards to the NFL Draft.

Over the next few days leading up to Saturday, we’ll feature the top five prospects, according to Kneeland and his staff. Today, we take a look at the No. 2 prospect, linebacker Curtis Johnson from Clark Atlanta University.


Vitals: 6-feet-2, 242 lbs.

40 time: 4.72.

2007 season: Mainly a defensive end in college, Johnson was a consensus All-American and unanimous All-SIAC first-team choice in 2007, adding conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. He switched jersey numbers (from 52 to 1), which was fitting, as he ranked first in the Division II ranks with 13.5 sacks and also with 27 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He led the team and ranked 21st nationally with 112 tackles (69 solos), as he caused and recovered a fumble. He also blocked a kick and deflected six passes while scoring on a two-point conversion. Saw his stock rise after playing in the East-West Shrine All-Star game, becoming the first Clark Atlanta player to appear in that contest.

Outlook: With his ability to wreak havoc in the backfield, Johnson will bring instant value in pass-rushing situations. He is also a very capable coverage defender on special teams. He was tried at both inside and outside linebacker in postseason all-star action and held up very well on the edge. Compares favorably to Joey Porter, who also converted from college defensive end to pro linebacker. Projected for either the second or third round.


WR SHAHEER McBRIDE (Delaware State)

The 6-foot-2, 198 pounder from Chester Pa. was a very productive four-year starter for the Hornets, clearly standing out at the Football Championship Subdivision level while accumulating 203 catches for 3,017 yards and 33 touchdowns. His receptions and yards dropped off in 2007 (50 catches netting 589 yards), mostly due to uneven quarterback play and increased attention, but he still managed to score nine times.

RB CHAD SIMPSON (Morgan State)

The MEAC’s 2007 Offensive Player Of The Year really opened a few eyes at the NFL Scouting Combine when he added a little weight then blazed a low-4.4 time in the 40. The 5-10, 210 pounder finished as the conference’s leading rusher and set a single season school record by accounting for 1,402 yards. He became the fourth leading rusher in Morgan State history by completing his two year career with 2,197 yards.