HBCU Football Recruiting Classes (Part 2)

By Donal Ware
Updated: April 22, 2009

Football FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. – “From The Press Box To Press Row”, the sports talk radio show that places major emphasis on HBCU Sports, has released its rankings of the top 10 HBCU football FCS recruiting classes for 2009.

“From The Press Box To Press Row” first ranked the top classes in 2006 and 2007 but did not in 2008 and is now bringing the rankings back by popular demand.

The rankings are based on the talent that was brought in and research that FTPBTPR did, based upon school releases and recruiting boards. Today, we’ll look at the top five classes.

1. TennesseeState

The Tigers signed one of the sought after running backs in the country in Trabis Ward out of DillardHigh School in Florida, who was a rivals.com four-star recruit. Ward was a late signee and should come in and play right away and help to fill the void left by pro prospect Javarris Williams. The Tigers also did a good job of filling their voids on the offensive line by signing three-star offensive lineman DeMadre Dean (Coahoma CC) and two-star offensive lineman James Lewter from WashingtonDC’s Ballou. WR Devin Wilson of Pope John Paul II in Hendersonville, TN gives the Tigers good size and helps to fill the void left by Chris Johnson. Head coach James Webster and staff consistently have good recruiting classes and stole the show by signing a big time running back at their most needed position.

2. Florida A&M

The Rattlers didn’t have a whole lot of needs to fill and only lost four players from last year’s team but Joe Taylor and staff still managed to add depth and some players who will come in and have an immediate impact. RB Corey Atkins is a rivals.com three-star recruit and while the Rattlers are pretty secure with Phillip Sylvester in the backfield, Atkins is an added bonus. Taylor has always been big on offensive linemen and the signing of Illinois transfer Brandon Davis helps to bolster that unit. Davis was a four-star recruit in high school. DE transfers Chris Atkins (East Carolina) and Jamil Paris (Kentucky) should be able to come in and have an immediate impact.

3. Prairie View A&M

Head coach Henry Frazier continues to have great recruiting classes and his classes from the past couple of years really came around last year as the Panthers went 9-1. A couple of players should be able to come in and play right away including OL Aneus Ruiz (North Forest), and LBs Marcus White (JonesHigh School) and Raheem Cardwell (DemathaHigh School). With the departure of the 2007 Boxtorow.com/BASN Defensive Player of the Year LB Zach East, the unit needed to be addressed. Another great recruit pulled in by the PVAMU staff was Western Kentucky transfer QB Kenneth Black, who was a starter the last two years. Safety Eric Moore (City College of San Francisco) was a rivals.com three-star recruit.

4. Grambling State

The Tigers had quite a few two and three-star recruits. Athlete Curtis McGregor from Houston’s Eisenhower was one of the gems of this class. He is a rivals.com three-star recruit and was ranked 33rd nationally amongst all-purpose backs. And while the Tigers’ backfield is crowded with Cornelius Walker and Frank Warren, McGregor represents a receiving threat as well. Head coach Rod Broadway and staff also signed a talented crop of DBs to bolster one of their most talented units. Jordell McCoy (Woodlawn) was a Louisiana Class 5A first-team All-Stater, while Deonte Flemings out of Strong Vincent in Erie, PA, received interest from the University of Pittsburgh and turned down a scholarship to Ohio to sign with Grambling. He received a two-star rating by rivals.com and was ranked 89th nationally amongst CBs by scout.com. LB Jacarde Carter (Northside) was rated as one of the top LB in the state of Louisiana and WR Elon Grinstead (Tioga) rated as the 18th best prospect in the State of Louisiana.

5. South CarolinaState

The Bulldogs and head coach Buddy Pough and his coaching staff had a very solid recruiting class and addressed some needs on the offensive and defensive lines, signing 11 OL/DL of the 22 recruits. Even more impressive is the list of talent Pough keeps in state. After signing two-time Palmetto Player of the Year in QB Malcolm Long a couple of years ago the Bulldogs signed three of the best in the state, including RB Rockarius King (Timberland) who rushed for over 5,000 career yards, WR LaQuan Gilliard (Pinewood Prep), who received interest from many SEC and ACC schools and could come in and add to the talented wide receiver corps and DB Pat Burris (South Pointe). Five of SC State’s recruits played in the well-respected Shrine Bowl.