Looking At The HBCU’s Best (Part Two)

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: February 11, 2010

FUQUAY-VARINA. N.C. — For the fourth time in five years, “From The Press Box to Press Row” has ranked the top 10 HBCU FCS recruiting classes.

“From The Press Box To Press Row”, the sports talk radio show that places major emphasis on HBCU Sports, is hosted by Donal Ware and airs weekly on 28 radio stations around the country. The rankings are based on the talent that was brought in and research that we did based upon school releases, local newspaper articles and recruiting boards.

This is not an exact science, but an opinion. Yesterday, we revealed rankings six through 10. Today, we look at the top five rankings.

1.

South Carolina State continues to be ranked amongst our top four or five recruiting classes every year and it’s not hard to see why. Over the years head coach Buddy Pough and staff has signed some high profile players like two-time Palmetto Player of the Year QB Malcolm Long who is poised to be one of the top quarterbacks in Black College Football this year. They have even signed less heralded players like a young man from tiny Travelers Rest, SC by the name of Will Ford and all he did was become the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher.

But Pough and staff may have signed its best overall class to date. The Bulldogs were flirting with being number one on our list and solidified it with the signing of three-star DE Kendrick Frazier (Denmark-Ola), who signed two days after National Signing Day began. Frazier received offers from South Carolina and Kentucky. Three other three-star players committed to the Bulldogs including ATH Antuawn Blue (Dillon), DE Kegan Funderburk (Central), who received offers from Michigan State and Wisconsin, and DT Curtis Hill (Blythewood), who received offers from four other schools including Wisconsin. And as important as signing some high profile players, the Bulldogs really filled some needs. Blue can help at the wide receivers position which was hit the hardest by graduation, the biggest loss being Tre Johnson, the Bulldogs all-time leading receiver. The Bulldogs also signed a couple of two-star players. RB Charles Brown of Washington, DC’s St.

John’s which could help with the loss of Ford and Travil Jamison. Brown received offers from Akron, Kansas State, Kent State, and New Mexico amongst others. DB Xavier McFadden (Rock Hill) received an offer from Kentucky and could help offset the loss of hot pro prospect Phillip Adams.

2.

Prairie View A&M and head coach Henry Frazier had another outstanding class and the fruits of their labor have paid off as the Panthers have lost only two games the last two years and won their first SWAC Championship in 45 years last year. The most high-profile signee by any HBCU may have been the signing of Idreis Augusts of Springfield, VA’s Lee High School. His development could ensure the Panthers don’t miss a beat when Boxtorow.com/BASN All-American Donald Babers graduates next year.

The Panthers also signed another three-star player and perhaps filled an immediate need at the same time with the signing of S Keith Hutchins (Upland, CA).

The Panthers signed quite a few two-star players including RB JaMichael Rozier (Klein Collins) son of former Houston Oiler and 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier, DT Jordan Turner of Las Vegas’ Canyon Springs and QB Jerry Lovelock of Baltimore’s Edmonson-Westside, who turned down Akron, Central Michigan, Kent State and Temple.

Mid-year transfer CB JohnMark Henderson from Syracuse could be key to the Panthers defense and will participate in spring drills.

3.

Florida A&M signed a total of 22 players, a mix of high school prep stars and transfers. Seven of those players were offensive linemen. One of head coach Joe Taylor’s biggest high school commitment was from Hargrave Military Academy’s DE Brandon Green. Green is a three-star recruit who can give the Rattlers some much needed help on the edge. The Rattlers signed a couple of other three-star high school recruits including OL Kevin House (Edward White), Boyd Anderson WR Lenworth Lennon, and Mainland LB Anthony Hamm.

The Rattlers also signed seven transfers that should be able to come in and help the Rattlers right away including University of Mississippi transfer Willie Ferrell who attended FAMU High School and was a four-star recruit.

4.

Bethune-Cookman’s new head coach Brian Jenkins has only been on the job six weeks.

But his first recruiting class totaling 20 is one filled with talent. All but two of Bethune-Cookman’s signees were from Florida including 12 from South Florida where Jenkins is from and recruited while the wide receivers coach at Rutgers. Fort Pierce QB/WR/ATH Tim Smith is one of those signees and it was no coincidence that Smith was high on Rutgers’ board. Smith was ranked the #43 best athlete and will be given the chance to play quarterback. Other signees who previously committed to FBS programs include Miami Edison defensive back Dion Hanks, who is a three-star recruit and originally committed to Purdue, as well as Plantation CB Tim Burke who originally committed to Southern Miss and is a two-star recruit. Another player that could have an impact right away is Cardinal Gibbon’s QB David Blackwell, who two years ago committed to Iowa and ended up playing a year at Iowa Western Community College.

5.

Hampton signed a total of 20 new players including 12 high school players. Head coach Donovan Rose and staff signed five from the state of Florida including QB Leon Thomas of Glade Central and Lorenzo Shinhoster of Miami’s Northwestern. Thomas went 26-1 as a starter and threw for more 6,700 yards and 70 TDs. He is ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN. Shinhoster won two state titles and caught 33 passes for 655 yards as a senior. The Pirates also signed four from the Hampton Roads area, most notably ESPN two-star RB Cedric Johnson of Lakeland who rushed for over 1,000 yards and was offered a scholarship by Kent State. Transfers that could come in and play right away include former Tennessee WR Nu’Keese Richardson and Marell Evans of Michigan, a two-time All-State performer from Richmond, VA’s Varina High School.