HBCU 2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Part Two

Updated: April 26, 2016

By Tony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus

NEW HAVEN (BASN) — We continue our exclusive 2016 NFL Draft preview by taking a peek at the best available HBCU football prospects (position-by-position). While the players from the larger predominantly white schools always get the major pub, we here at BASN have traditionally tried to show some much needed love to the talented players that toil in the MEAC, CIAA, SWAC, SIAC, and beyond.

As documented in “Four Quarters of Soul”, our comprehensive collaboration on the great HBCU players that should be the Hall of Fame, we’ll use this series to educate you on the many “diamonds in the rough” that if given the opportunity will shine forever.
In our opening preview, we focused on quarterbacks and running backs. Today’s Part Two focus will remain on the offensive end. Today, it’s all about wide receivers and tight ends. Players are listed alphabetically.
Hudson Cain, Stillman College (6-1, 187)
An All-SIAC selection in 2015, Cain finished the season second in the league in touchdown receptions (5) and seventh in the league in scoring (30).  He was tied for fourth in the league with 3.3 receptions per game. He ended the season with 30 catches for 260 yards and five touchdowns.
Marquel Gardner, Tuskegee (6-3, 215)
An All-SIAC and Division II All-American selection in 2015, Gardner led TU in receiving this season with 25 receptions for 414 yards. He averaged 16.56 yards per reception, and caught five touchdowns. The senior, who started in 10 of 12 games, recorded his 100th career reception during the season, and went over 2000 yards for his career. His best game of the season came against Miles with four receptions totaling 50 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also caught four passes against UNC Pembroke for 54 yards.
Jalen Hendricks, Livingstone College (6-2, 205)
The CIAA’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2014, Hendricks was the team leader in receiving in 2015. In eight games, he amassed 730 yards on 58 catches, eight of those catches were for touchdowns. His longest reception was for 50 yards. A two-time All-CIAA performer, he led the CIAA in receptions as a junior with 71 catches. He finished his career with 215 receptions for 2,885 yards and 29 TDs.
Chris Hubert, Fayetteville State (5-9, 170)
An All-CIAA selection in 2015, Hubert had the best season of his collegiate career and one of the best seasons in Fayetteville State history as a wide receiver. He finished the 2015 season with 71 catches for 862 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 10 games, Hubert set the single-season record for receptions and receiving touchdowns. He eclipsed the 2003 record of 70 catches set by Daryl Bright and the 2008 record of 12 receiving TDs by Darryl Barnett. He was also invited to the 2016 College Gridiron Showcase in January.
Willie Quinn, Southern (5-5, 150)
An All-SWAC and FCS All-American selection in 2015, Quinn was arguably the most electrifying skill position player in the SWAC with over 1,201 all-purpose yardage. He led the Jaguars with 37 receptions for 455 yards and 2 receiving TDs. As a returner, he led the SWAC with four kick returns touchdowns. Against Mississippi Valley State this past September, Quinn scored on a kick return, a punt return, and pass for another score.
Chester Rogers, Grambling State (6-0, 180)
A two-time All-SWAC performer as a wideout and return specialist, Rogers has served as one of Johnathan Williams’ favorite targets over the last two seasons. In 2015, he caught 30 balls for 465 yards and 4 TDs. During his career at GSU, Rogers had 155 receptions for over 2,500 yards and 18 TDs. He also was chosen for the 2016 Dream Bowl.
Jaivon Smallwood, Virginia State (6-0, 180)
A two-time All-CIAA performer, Smallwood was the Trojans’ leading receiver over the last two seasons. In 2015, he caught 40 passes for 538 yards (13.4 ypc) and 3 TDs. For his career at VSU, he finished with 176 receptions for 2,587 yards and 23 TDs.
Taquan West, South Carolina State (6-3, 200)
An All-MEAC selection in 2015, West had another breakout season for the Bulldogs. He’s lead SCSU in receptions the last two seasons, including 45 catches for 695 yards (15.4 ypc) and 5 TDs in 2015. He finished his Bulldogs career with 103 catches for 1,414 yards and 11 TDs.
Temarick Hemingway, South Carolina State (6-5, 220)
A two-time All-MEAC performer and FCS All-American, Hemingway finished the season with 38 catches for 418 yards and a touchdown. One of three HBCU players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, he’s ranked among the top tight ends in the MEAC. Hemingway earned his undergraduate degree in Business Management in May of 2015 is now in graduate school pursing his MBA.
Devon Mackey, Stillman College (6-2, 198)
An All-SIAC selection in 2015, Mackey was second in the league in receiving yards per game (56.6) and was tied for fourth in the league with 3.3 receptions per game.  His final stats included 30 catches for 509 yards and three touchdowns.
Jordan Payne, Alcorn State (6-2, 220)
A two-time All-SWAC performer and FCS All-American, Payne has been a big-play receiver for the Braves. In 2015, he averaged 25.4 yards per catch with 7 TDs in 13 games. For his career at ASU, he finished with 67 receptions for 1,280 yards and 21 TDs.
Nathan Scruggs, N.C. Central (6-2, 235)
An All-MEAC performer in 2015, Scruggs grabbed 14 receptions for 156 yards, averaging 11.1 yards per catch in 10 games. Posted the most receptions and receiving yards by an NCCU tight end since 2009.
Victor Tabbs, Elizabeth City State (6-4, 230)
An All-CIAA selection in 2015, Tabbs played in all 9 games for the Vikings averaging 12.6 yards per reception. He finished the year with 13 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Thomas, Central State (6-5, 190)
An All-SIAC selection in 2015, Thomas concluded his four year career at CSU with his fourth All-Conference selection. He caught a team leading 15 passes for 294 yards. Known as a receiving tight end, Thomas redefined his game as one of CSU’s best blockers when the team decided to focus more on running the ball.
NEXT: Offensive lineman.

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