By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s All HBC-Universe Teams (Part 1)
For the past six months, I have been working on this compilation of talent for two specific reasons. One, when you refer to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) on the gridiron, the first thought most lay people conjure up is that of Grambling State University.
The contributions by its great Hall of Fame coach and teacher, Eddie Robinson, are second to none; which brings us to the second reason: so that, respectfully, the world can know the HBCU universe does not rotate around the Black and Gold sun of Grambling State.
Every HBCU has long radiated its own special light, and their input into professional football’s “Good Book of Bad” has so many “John Henrys” singing their names, it puts the Declaration of Independence to shame.
Now we know All – Star teams are always lightning rods for conversation; who was badder than whom and “How could you leave off this guy?” are about as expected as eight in the box on third and short.
But (with a lot of help from some friends and colleagues) we came up with not just a first, second and third team.
Because the dearth of talent coming from Black schools is so firmly etched in the fabric of pro football, we are unveiling the creation of 11 full All – Star teams; offense, defense and special teams complete with an all – Universe bench (taxi squad) which will ultimately bring you to those who we feel are the best of the very best – for an even dozen full squads in all.
My BASN colleagues, Editor In Chief, Tony McClean, my fellow Sports MCs Chris “Professor K” Murray and Wendell “MC Good Foot” Simpson and Finley “Doc” Pinkard, Big Play Football’s main man Lloyd Vance, Staff Writer and host of Blog Talk Radio’s hit talk show, “The Batchelor Pad” L.A. Batchelor, Dr. Bill Chachkes of footballreportersonline.com and some very special guests will chime in as they will also throw their two cents into the pot!
We will also roundtable on some of these picks and their worthiness in terms of consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame – in America and as well as our neighbor to the north and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, located in Hamilton, Ontario.
The HBC-Universe bench is a 66-man squad that was compiled of players who have played in every known professional sports league: NFL, CFL, the old American Football League, the Arena Football League, the United States Football League (USFL), the All – American Football Conference (AAFC), and NFL Europe (nee the World League of American Football).
A six-man “taxi squad” for each of the 11 teams with two significant selections, a bench coach and Honorary HBC – Universe member was chosen.
QBS: JOE “747″ ADAMS, FLORIDA A&M; MATTHEW REED, GRAMBLING STATE; BRUCE EUGENE, GRAMBLING STATE; JOHNNIE WALTON, ELIZABETH CITY STATE; PARNELL DICKINSON, MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE; DAVE WEBSTER, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M;
(Super Scout’s notes: Webster led Prairie View to the Black College Championship in 1958; Walton was a solid starter during his career in the USFL; Eugene’s strong arm was matched and surpassed by his stronger intellect, as his 41 out of 42 on the ballyhooed Wunderlich test should have had him under center playing in the NFL if they were as consistent about what is required to play the position as their bullshit about who can’t play the position)
RBS: PERRY HARRINGTON, JACKSON STATE; MIKE COLLIER, MORGAN STATE; HENRY DYER, GRAMBLING STATE; CLEO MILLER, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF; DERRICK NED; GRAMBLING STATE
(Super Scout’s notes: Although Harrington never made significant waves in the NFL, he will always be remembered as the man who broke the great Walter Payton’s rushing record at Jackson State)
TE: CHAD FANN, FLORIDA A&M; THORNTON CHANDLER, FLORIDA A&M; GREG LATTA, MORGAN STATE; MORRIS STROUD, CLARK ATLANTA; ALVIN REED, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M; CHARLEY FERGUSON, TENNESSEE STATE
(Super Scout’s notes: Until the selection of seven foot lineman Richard Sligh by the Oakland Raiders, Stroud, at 6-feet-10 was the tallest position player in the old AFL)
WRS: CHARLIE BROWN, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE; COREY BRADFORD, JACKSON STATE.; DWIGHT SCALES, GRAMBLING STATE; SCOTTY ANDERSON, GRAMBLING STATE; NATE SINGLETON, GRAMBLING STATE
(Brown was a two-time Pro Bowl receiver with Washington; Bradford was part of the expansion roster of the Houston Texans)
LINEMEN: QASIM MITCHELL, NORTH CAROLINA A&T; MIKE ST.CLAIR, GRAMBLING STATE; LAWRENCE TERO “MR.T”, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M; BOOKER REESE, BETHUNE-COOKMAN; BENNIE ANDERSON, TENNESSEE STATE; KWAME KILPATRICK, FLORIDA A&M; DEXTER NOTTAGE, FLORIDA A&M; *CLARENCE “BIGHOUSE” GAINES, MORGAN STATE: ELVIS FRANKS, MORGAN STATE; CHARTRIC DARBY, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE; FRANK MOLDEN, JACKSON STATE; BOB BROWN, ARKANSAS-PINEBLUFF; ELEX PRICE, ALCORN STATE; ROBERT “BIG BIRD” SMITH, GRAMBLING STATE; MARQUES DOUGLAS, HOWARD; CLETIDUS HUNT, KENTUCKY STATE; ROBERT MATHIS, ALABAMA A&M; ANTHONY COOK, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE; CLEVELAND ELAM, TENNESSEE STATE; CHARLES PHILYAW, TEXAS SOUTHERN; RUBEN STUDDARD, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF; MANNY SISTRUNK, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
(A little mix of fame and infamy with the additions of Tero, Studdard and Kilpatrick; you decide what belongs to whom; *Before becoming a Hall of Fame basketball coach, Gaines was a four-year All-CIAA selection as a lineman in the 1940s)
LBS: LOUIS GREEN, ALCORN STATE; SIMON SHANKS, TENNESSEE STATE; MARCUS WINN, ALABAMA STATE,; LES BARLEY, WINSTON-SALEM STATE; ROBERT TAYLOR, GRAMBLING STATE
DBS: FAKHIR BROWN, GRAMBLING STATE; GENE ATKINS, FLORIDA A&M; TONY STARGELL, TENNESSEE STATE; OLIVER CELESTIN, TEXAS SOUTHERN; RUFUS BESS, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE; GREG WESLEY, ARKANSAS PINE-BLUFF; DWAINE CARPENTER, NORTH CAROLINA A&T;ANTOINE BETHEA, HOWARD; MEDGAR EVERS, ALCORN STATE; TIM WATSON, HOWARD UNIVERSITY; TONY STARGELL, TENNESSEE STATE
(In addition to everything else in his brief but distinguished life, Evers excelled on the gridiron and ran track as a Brave)
STS: MIKE COLLIER, MORGAN STATE; CALVIN MUHAMMAD, TEXAS SOUTHERN; DARIAN BARNES, HAMPTON; ALPHONSE DOTSON, GRAMBLING STATE
BENCH COACHES: ERNEST JONES, ALCORN STATE; GEORGE RAGSDALE, NORTH CAROLINA A&T
HONORARY HBC-UNIVERSE CONTRIBUTOR: P/PK GENE MINGO*
*(I specifically wanted to honor Mingo because he was the first Black specialist to excel in football. In 1960, Mingo led the AFL in scoring his rookie season for the Denver Broncos, and as a placekicker/halfback and punt returner was a one – man scoring machine, leading the league in points scored in 1962.
Born in Ohio, Mingo’s opting for military service may have taken college out of the equation, but not his desire to excel.)
For the teams, I went with a 26-man roster, for offense, defense, specials and the head coach, applying the same variables as the bench, with extra consideration for league awards and longevity.
HEAD COACH – JAMES CARSON, JACKSON STATE
QB – CONNELL MAYNOR, NORTH CAROLINA A&T
OL – DAMION COOK, BETHUNE-COOKMAN;
OL – COURTNEY VAN BUREN, ARKANSAS PINE-BLUFF;
OL – DWAYNE WHITE, ALCORN STATE;
OL – LAWRENCE SMITH, TENNESSEE STATE;
OL – JOHN BROWN, N. CAROLINA COLLEGE
TE – ALVIN REED, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
WR – ALFRED JENKINS, MORRIS BROWN
WR – AL DENSON, FLORIDA A&M
RB – RONNIE COLEMAN, ALABAMA A&M
RB – LEWIS TILLMAN, JACKSON STATE
DL – EZZRET ANDERSON, KENTUCKY STATE
DL – PEPPI ZELLNER, FORT VALLEY STATE
DL – JIM OSBORNE, SOUTHERN
DL – LAWRENCE PILLERS, ALCORN STATE
LB – MARLO PERRY, JACKSON STATE
LB – ISSAC KEYS, MOREHOUSE
LB – GUY PRATHER, GRAMBLING STATE
DB – FRANK WALKER, TUSKEGEE
DB – JAMES HUNTER, GRAMBLING STATE
DB – ISSAIC HOLT, ALCORN STATE
DB – NICK FERGUSON, MORRIS BROWN
PK/P – CARLOS LEECH, SOUTHERN
KR – CARLOS PENNYWELL, GRAMBLING STATE
PR – WALLACE FRANCIS, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
ST- CHRIS BURKETT, JACKSON STATE
Next Time: We roll with Teams No. 10 and No. 9; and if you think there’s some great talent out here already, wait until we continue up the ladder to Number One!