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BASN’S DIAMOND MINES VOL.VII
BASN’S DIAMOND MINES – TOUCHDOWN! NFL 2015
By Anthony McClean, Editor-in-Chief, Emeritus
NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN): We have now reached the final chapter of our look at some of the best HBCU football players that will be available for the NFL Draft. We hope that this has been an eye opener for those of you that don’t regularly follow HBCU football — or HBCU sports in general.
For those who still think that there isn’t legitimate football talent playing in the CIAA, MEAC, SIAC, and SWAC — these articles serve as a reminder that you need to unscrew your misinformed head from your ass.
For those who do follow HBCU football Saturdays (or Thursdays, Fridays, and other days for that matter), you already know the deal. While we may have missed some folks that will get a look see down the road, probably let you know about some players who’ve fell between the cracks.
Our last installment focuses on the secondary and a pair of outstanding kicking specialists. While many secondary gems from the HBCUs have been recognized throughout football history, Fort Valley State’s Marquette King currently holds down punting chores for the Oakland Raiders.
Avery Boykin, Mississippi Valley State (6-0, 190)
A two-time All-SWAC selection, Boykin finished the 2014 season with 53 tackles (3.5 for loss), three pass breakups and a blocked kick. He had 11 tackles against Alabama State and Alcorn State. A transfer from Glendale Community College, he led the SWAC in interceptions with six interceptions in 2013 while adding 57 tackles (42 solo), four tackles for loss for 21 yards, and seven pass breakups.
Darrin Marrow, Norfolk State (6-1, 195)
A two-time All-MEAC selection, Marrow started all 12 games at corner for the second straight season. He was tied for 15th in the MEAC in passes defended, with seven … recorded 38 total tackles, 27 of them solo and 11 assisted … made two tackles for loss … opened the year with four tackles, half for a loss, and broke up two passes at Maine … had four solo tackles and five total, breaking up one pass, against Liberty … also broke up one pass at William & Mary … made four stops against both Buffalo and Morgan State … recorded four tackles, one for loss, and deflected two passes in the win at Hampton … made a season-high seven tackles against N.C. Central.
Donald Mattocks, North Carolina A&T (5-8, 178)
A 2014 All-MEAC and FCS All-American selection, Mattocks ranked third in the nation in interceptions and led the conference with seven total and 0.6 per game. Mattocks recorded a single-game school record three interceptions in one half during the Aggies 59-0 win over Chowan. He was also third in the conference in passes defended.
De’Ante Saunders, Tennessee State (5-11, 201)
A 2014 All-Ohio Valley Conference selection, Saunders contributed to the OVC’s top total defense (303.2 yards per game) and pass defense (153.3 yards per game). He also led the league with five interceptions on the season while also tallying 51 tackles and six pass breakups. The five picks were the seventh-most by a Tiger in TSU’s 102-year history. He was also named to the 2014 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Coaches’ All-America Team.
Jared Turner, Chowan (5-11, 205)
In 2014, Turner competed in all ten games for the Hawks his senior season. He compiled 55 total tackles this year (46 solo, nine assisted). He had two tackles for loss (four yards), one interception (eight yards), one forced fumble and two pass breakups. A transfer from Delta State, he had 44 tackles (27 solo, 17 assisted) with five interceptions and three breakups in 2013. Turner also played in the 2015 Dream Bowl in January.
Tray Walker, Texas Southern (6-2, 189)
An All-SWAC selection in 2014, Walker has been a three-year starter for the Tigers. In 11 games last season, he had 41 tackles (24 solo), three interceptions and four pass breakups. At TSU’s Pro Day, Walker impressed scouts by running a 4.53 40-yard dash with a 32 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-2 broad jump.
Daniel Fitzpatrick, Tennessee State (6-2, 215)
A two-time All-Ohio Valley selection, Fitzgerald had 9.5 tackles, a forced fumble and recovery, as well as an interception despite missing an early part of his 2014 senior season after undergoing knee surgery. He finished the year with two interceptions and 56 tackles, as well as five passes defensed, seven pass break-ups and two forced fumbles. In 2013, he hauled in multiple All-American honors after leading the NCAA FCS with eight interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.
Ryan Griffin, Jackson State (5-11, 185)
A 2013 All-SWAC selection, Griffin finished 2014 with 88 tackles (45 solo), seven tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions (second on the team), four pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. A year earlier, he finished third on the team in tackles with 62 (30 solo), recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and led the team with three interceptions for 123 return yards. Projected as a possible llinebacker/hybrid by some scouts.
Michael Johnson, Fayetteville State (6-1, 198)
An All-CIAA selection in 2014, Johnson led the Broncos in several defensive categories, including tackles and interceptions in 10 games last season. He tallied 79 tackles, including four and a half tackles for a loss of 18 yards .Johnson had a team-high three interceptions as well as two fumble recoveries, eight pass deflections, and five breakups. He also blocked a kick and returned a punt in the season finale against Winston-Salem State.
Keenan Lambert, Norfolk State (6-1, 215)
A four-year starter and an All-MEAC selection in 2014, Lambert tallied 52 tackles, three interceptions, nine pass breakups and one forced fumble for NSU, which finished the season ranked No. 2 in the national FCS rankings in both total defense and pass defense. Lambert played in all 47 games and started 40 times in his four-year Spartan career. He tallied 206 career tackles, 10 tackles for loss, eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups. He also played in the Medal of Honor Bowl in January 2015.
Troy Krepich, Virginia Union (6-1, 200)
An All-CIAA selection in 2014, Krepich set a school record when he hit a 55-yard field goal this past season. He hit two field goals from 50 or more yards and averaged 40.4 yards per punt (second highest in school history). He also had a 75-yard punt, the second longest in VUU history.
Chris Barrick, Prairie View A&M (6-4, 180)
A 2014 All-SWAC selection, Barrick had a near-perfect season. He connected on 43-of-44 PATs while also nailing 15-of-17 field goals. He was also chosen for the 2014 SBN Sports Black College All-American team.