How first-of-its-kind event could level the playing field for these NFL hopefuls

Posted at 2:26 PM, Feb 13, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- As another College Football season ends, the days of prospective NFL players working out with trainers begin.

“Offensive line is all about hip explosiveness and core strength,” Virginia State Offensive Tackle Zachary Wilcox explained. “So, me and Coach Roger will be doing a lot of that stuff, lot of core work, lot of hip explosion and making sure I get ready for the scouts.”

To prepare them for the most important time in their athletic careers.

“Make sure you're doing some type of workout, some type of training, studying stuff like that,” Virginia State Defensive End Javon Frazier said. “Just giving 110%, plus the extra effort.”

Javon Frazier
Javon Frazier

“Don’t take any days off,” Chowan Quarterback Bryce Witt stated. “Make sure you're grinding and putting forth the effort.”

Which hopefully leads them to playing in the NFL.

“We all got the same goals,” Witt said. “We want to be professional football players and we're here working our butts to get to that goal.”

Bryce Witt
Bryce Witt

That road however is not always smooth for those, whose dream is to hear their name called at the draft.

“Coming out of high school, even in college, I always felt like I was overlooked,” Frazier explained.

“I've always been driven just to prove people wrong from a young age,” Witt mentioned.

Because of uncontrollable issues, zero players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities were selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“HBCU's guys got the talent but of course they don't have the exposure,” Frazier said. “So often times they get overlooked.”

Will Adams
Will Adams

“They may feel that we may not have the resources or everything so that we can make sure that everything is aligned with a Big 10 school or a Division I school,” Virginia State cornerback Will Adams stated.

Many coaches were frustrated this happened for the second year in a row. Last March, the NFL and Black College Hall of Fame announced a new postseason All-Star Game, the HBCU Legacy Bowl... an invitation-only showcase of players solely from HBCUs.

“It's a great thing for HBCU's in general putting the spotlight on Black College Football in general,” Wilcox commented. “And put us on a national scene and everything.”

"Just growing up and watching NFL Football, watching games on the NFL Network and knowing that you'll be able to play on that platform and everybody at home can watch and stuff like that,” Witt said.

Giving those players a national platform to show NFL scouts and front office executives there is talent outside of the Power 5 programs.

Zachary Wilcox
Zachary Wilcox

“I always felt like maybe people didn't give me the respect I deserve,” Frazier mentioned. “So now I get the opportunity to be in the 1st HBCU combine and being in the Legacy Bowl, that I almost have to prove to myself.”

“CIAA Football is up and coming for sure... just promoting good players, every team got great players,” Witt noted. “Being able to compete in the CIAA and just that promotion of going into the HBCU Legacy Bowl, the CIAA will team up with the MEAC, which we're looking to get out there and competing, should be a good game.”

In hopes of being the next player to carry the banner of all HBCU programs to the NFL.

“A lot of guys don't make it to the big one, but one for HBCU Football,” Frazier explained. “I feel like I'm one of the best in HBCU Football, so I got to go, go to make it.”

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“For me, I went to Virginia State in 2016 and we never really got a whole bunch of exposure,” Wilcox mentioned. “Now, that we got a combine, we got the all-star game, it's a good way to showcase talent.”

“We got a lot of good players, great players that have come through the CIAA...and especially this year,” Witt claimed. “We got a lot of players coming out that are competing with me out there on the field in Louisiana. I think it will be a fun game to watch.”

“Definitely have to make sure that we prove that we do belong where we are, and that we can play at a high level,” Adams said.