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BASN’S DIAMOND MINES – IN THE PIT!
BASN’S DIAMOND MINES, PART IV – NFL 2015
By Anthony McClean, Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus
NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN) As we continue our look at some of the best HBCU football talent that’s available for next week’s NFL Draft, we’ll now talk about the true foot soldiers of the offense — the lineman.
Two years ago at the NFL Scouting Combine, Arkansas-Pine Bluff tackle Terron Armstead ran the fastest ever 40 time (4.65) recorded by an offensive lineman since the combine began in 1982.
He was later tabbed by the New Orleans Saints in the third round as the 76th pick overall. The 6-foot-5, 304 pound Armstead became a starter for New Orleans as a rookie and still remains one of the team’s key blockers.
He continues a long legacy of outstanding HBCU linemen that have carved out their own niche in the NFL. It includes Hall of Famers like Art Shell (Maryland-Eastern Shore), Larry Little (Bethune-Cookman).
Not to mention other standouts like Erik Williams (Central State), Doug Wilkerson (N.C. Central), Nate Newton (Florida A&M), and Winston Hill (Texas Southern).
Tre Glover, Prairie View A&M (6-2, 282)
A 2014 All-SWAC selection, Glover was a part of an offensive line which only allowed eight sacks in 2014. He primarily played tackle but moved to guard at the end of the season and played a big role in blocking for the SWAC’s No. 2 ranked offense which averaged 460 total yards per game (22nd NCAA). With his protection, PVAMU finished with the SWAC’s No. 4 ranked rush offense (196 ypg), third-ranked passing offense (264.6 ypg) and second-ranked scoring offense (36.6). The line’s blocking allowed the offense to finish the season with eight games over 400-plus offensive yards along with two-plus games over 500 yards and one game with 600-plus yards of total offense.
Anthony Morris, Tennessee State (6-6, 290)
A four-year starter for the Tigers, Morris played in 11 games in 2014, starting 10 at tackle. He anchored a unit that did not allow a sack during the last four ballgames… Helped protect a quarterback duo that threw for 3,268 yards and 23 touchdowns… Led the unit to a No. 18 ranking in FCS, giving up only 1.17 sacks per game…
Demechery Hickingbottom, Alabama State (6-4, 320)
A 2014 All-SWAC selection, Hickingbottom was one of the leaders of the Hornets offensive line playing different positions over the course of the season due to injuries. He helped open holes for an offense that averaged over 200 yards rushing per game and almost 30 points scored per game.
Darren Pinnock, Morgan State (6-4, 330)
The 2014 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Lineman of the Year, Pinnock helped lead the Bears to its first winning season since 2009 with a 7-6 record. The Miami (Fla.) native anchored the MEAC’s second-best rushing attack (208.5 yards per game). In fact, he helped MSU complete the season with 2,711 yards on the ground in 495 attempts for a per carry average of 5.5 yards. MSU was 26th in the nation in rushing yards per game and ranked 22nd sacks allowed (16; No. 1 in MEAC) on 345 attempts.
William Ray Robinson III, N.C. A&T (6-3, 307)
A three-time All-MEAC performer, Robinson earned his second first-team All-MEAC honor after winning his first in 2012. In 2013, he was a second-team selection. In 2014, he earned first-team honors for the first time as a left guard after playing his previous three seasons as the Aggies left tackle. Robinson played 42 games with 41 starts during his career.
Victor Moli, Albany State (6-4, 360)
A two-time All-SIAC selection over the last two seasons, Moli was a part of an ASU offense line that helped produce 24.8 points per game, 1602 rushing yards, 1673 passing yards and 26 touchdowns during the season.
Robert Myers, Tennessee State (6-5, 310)
A two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference selection, Myers was the only offensive player to start all 12 contests and anchored a unit that did not allow a sack during the last four ballgames. The guard also helped protect a quarterback duo that threw for 3,268 yards and 23 touchdowns. He led the OL-unit to a No. 18 ranking in FCS, giving up only 1.17 sacks per game. He played in the Senior Bowl and was invited to the NFL Combine.
Marcus Reed, Fayetteville State (6-5, 350)
An All-CIAA selection in 2014, Reed was an integral part of the Broncos’ offensive success on the football field this season, starting every game and contributing at both tackle and guard. The Broncos’ offense finished the season ranked sixth in the CIAA for passing yards and seventh in rushing yards, with Reed paving the way. He provided protection for a running back to total more than 700 yards rushing and two quarterbacks to throw for more than 500 yards. He participated in the 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
Dillon Bonnet, Prairie View A&M (6-2, 275)
A 2014 All-SWAC selection, Bonnet was a four-year starter for the Panthers. He played a big role in blocking for the SWAC’s No. 2 ranked offense which averaged 460 total yards per game (22nd NCAA). With his protection, PVAMU finished with the SWAC’s No. 4 ranked rush offense (196 ypg), third-ranked passing offense (264.6 ypg) and second-ranked scoring offense (36.6). The line’s blocking allowed the offense to finish the season with eight games over 400-plus offensive yards along with two-plus games over 500 yards and one game with 600-plus yards of total offense.
Malcolm Rutledge, Howard (6-4, 315)
A 2014 All-MEAC selection, Rutledge was the only senior on the offensive front was also a key to the Bison leading the MEAC in total yards and passing yards and fourth in rushing offense.
Matthew Reese, Tuskegee (6-3, 315)
One of the most decorated players in HBCU football. A two-time All-SIAC selection, Reese has served as a leader on the field for the Golden Tigers. An SBN All-American selection last year as well, Reese was an integral part of a Tuskegee offense that garnered over 4,600 yards of total offense (2,086 rushing, 2,543 passing) and was the SIAC’s best in 2014.
Mike Sellers, WSSU (5-11, 253)
Was a key cog in the Rams’ explosive offensive attack in 2014. He transferred to WSSU from The Citadel and started 10 of 11 games last year. He helped an offensive that averaged a conference best 35.7 points per game and a league best 442.9 yards per game. Played in the Medal of Honor All-Star Game
Jon Smith, Jackson State (6-3, 305)
A two-time All-SWAC selection, Smith has been a four-year starter for the Tigers. Became a leader of the offensive line during the last two seasons and helped lead an offense that amassed over 4,500 yards of offense and over 300 points last year.
Ronald Canty, North Carolina A&T (6-0, 277)
An All-MEAC and FCS All-American selection in 2014, Canty was a reliable lineman who played multiple positions throughout his career. He consistently graded out between 80-90 percent during the 2014 season. He recorded 21 pancake blocks this season and 53 for his career. Canty played every snap this season and made all the calls and adjustments at the line of scrimmage for the Aggies offensive line.
Andrew Edouard, Bethune-Cookman (6-2, 295)
A two-time All-MEAC selection, Edouard helped pave the way for an offensive unit that racked up 361.4 yards per game in total offense during the 2014 campaign. A number that includes 162.2 yards through the air, as well as 199.2 yards on the ground and 32 rushing touchdowns.
NEXT: Defensive linemen.