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BASN’S DIAMOND MINES, VOL. VI
BASN’S DIAMOND MINES, VOLUME VI – NFL 2015
By Anthony McClean, Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus
NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN) – We are down to the final two chapters of our look at the best HBCU football players that are available for the NFL Draft in Chicago next week. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, feel free to check in at the BASN front page archives.
We’ve already taken a look at the offense and in our last chapter, we began our defensive previews with the defensive line. Today, it’s about the linebackers.
Two current NFL linebackers — Junior Galette of the Saints (Stillman College) and Jason Durant of the Cowboys (Hampton) — are among players that are examples of the kind of talent that have recently come out of the HBCU ranks.
Not to mention other standout players like Greg Lloyd (Fort Valley State), Robert Brazile (Jackson State), and Hall of Famer Harry Carson (South Carolina State).
Cody Acker, Morgan State (6-1, 220)
A four-year starter for the Bears, Acker was an All-MEAC selection in 2013 and has collected back-to-back 90-plus tackle seasons the last two years. In 13 games last season, Acker had a team-high 113 tackles (69 solo) along with three sacks and 11.5 tackles for losses. The previous year, he had 97 tackles (65 solo) as well as 10.5 tackles for losses.
Ty Brown, N.C. Central (6-4, 218)
An All-MEAC selection in 2014, Brown tied for sixth in the MEAC with 15.0 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, both team-highs. He also tallied 47 total tackles (30 solo) with five quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
Danny Brownell, Prairie View A&M (5-11, 235)
A 2014 All-SWAC selection, Brownell had a career season as a Panther as he finished third in the SWAC with 94 tackles and 29th nationally in tackles per game with 9.4. He also had four-plus games with 10 or more tackles, including a 14-tackle effort versus Alabama State and an 11-tackle, 2.5 sack outing at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Marcell Coke, Norfolk State (6-2, 225)
An All-MEAC selection in 2014, Coke led NSU in tackles for the second straight year, with 107 total stops (51 solo, 56 assisted) … ranked third in the MEAC in tackles (8.9 per game) … also had 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and two pass breakups … had five double-digit tackle efforts … started the season with eight tackles (two TFL and half a sack) at Maine … made nine tackles in consecutive games vs. Liberty and William & Mary … tallied 12 stops at Rutgers … made 10 tackles in consecutive games against Delaware State and Hampton … also had half a sack, a forced fumble and a pass deflection against DSU … had six tackles, one for loss, in the win at FAMU … was in on 12 tackles, 1.5 for loss, in the loss to Bethune-Cookman … tied his career high with 14 tackles, a season high, in the loss to N.C. Central … capped his NSU career with eight tackles at S.C. State.
Tavarus Danzler, Bethune-Cookman (6-3, 225)
An All-MEAC selection in 2014, Danzler finished the campaign with a team second-best 80 tackles. He finished in the top 20 for tackles within the MEAC, also tying for second in forced fumbles (three) and third in fumbles recovered (three). Additionally, he added three pass deflections and three quarterback hurries from his middle linebacker position on the field.
Isaiah Fleming, Cheyney (5-10, 227)
An All-PSAC selection in 2014, Fleming ended the season leading the PSAC and Cheyney in tackles with an 11.5 per game average. He also ranked 10th in the conference in tackles for loss (1.15/game) and led Cheyney in fumbles recovered. He’s been a three-time selection to the Don Hansen’s Football Gazette All Super Region I squad.He played in the 2014 FCS Bowl in December.
Leron Furr, Fort Valley State (6-3, 240)
The 2014 SIAC Defensive Player of the Year, Furr led the Wildcats in tackles with 108 (49 solo) and tied for first place in the SIAC. He finished with 49 tackle-for-losses, 10 sacks, one interception, 4 pass break-ups and 6 quarterback hurries. Furr was named Defensive Player of the Game at the Fountain City Classic and two-time SIAC Player of the Week.
D’Vonte Grant, North Carolina A&T (5-10, 195)
A four-year starter at A&T, Grant led the Aggies in tackles the first three years of his career and was one tackle shy of leading the team in tackles in 2014. He was 11 tackles shy of becoming the Aggies all-time leader in tackles. Grant ended his career with 45 straight starts, 362 tackles, nine interceptions and he has four career defensive touchdowns.
Jerome Howard, Prairie View A&M (6-0, 216)
The SWAC’s 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, Howard had a career season at linebacker as he finished with 118 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He ranked fifth nationally in tackles per game with 12.2. He had 10-plus tackles in eight of the team’s 10 games this season with a high of 17 tackles versus Grambling State and 15 versus Alabama State. Howard is also the career leader in tackles for loss at Prairie View A&M as he amassed a total of 51.5 during his four-year career as a Panther.
Ariane McCree, Jackson State (6-2, 240)
An All-SWAC selection for 2014, McCree was a stabilizing force for the Tigers on the defensive side of the ball. He finished the season as the second leading tackler on the team as he recorded 89 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a blocked kick. Was named JSU’s Senior MVP for last season as well.
Lynden Trail, Norfolk State (6-7, 260)
Trail became the second player in NSU history to earn Division I FCS All-America recognition in three separate years. He was a second-team FCS All-American as a senior this past fall after recording 91 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles, all of which ranked in the MEAC’s top 20. He garnered first-team All-MEAC honors for the third consecutive year and earned invitations to participate in both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this winter.
Kenneth White, Livingstone College (6-0, 230)
A three-time All-CIAA selection, White finished his senior season with a team-leading 101 tackles (41 solos) which was second overall in the league.
Bre’Nard Williams, Clark Atlanta (5-11, 230)
A two-time All-SIAC selection, Williams was a force to be reckoned with on this field in 2014. He tied for the top spot in the conference in total tackles (108), while also finishing second in Division II in solo tackles (76). In addition, he finished seventh in Division II in tackles for loss (22), and in the top 25 in total tackles (108) and blocked kicks (2).
Ralph Williams, Bethune-Cookman (6-1, 240)
A 2014 All-MEAC selection, Williams led the Wildcats with 101 tackles, including 14 tackles behind the line – mixed with two quarterback sacks. His total tackles allowed him to finish seventh in the league in that category. A transfer from Ole Miss prior to 2013, he finished the year with 28 tackles, 12 by way of solo performance.
in our final edition we look at the secondary - and specialists.