Here are the football players who committed to HBCUs on national signing day
See where the top high school players and college transfers are going
National college football signing day is a monumental day in the lives of many high school players across the country. Lots of attention is paid to athletes heading to play for schools in Power 5 conferences. But we are paying attention to the young men who are casting their football fortunes at historically black college and universities (HBCUs).
Aqeel Glass, quarterback, Lutheran North (Missouri): Glass was originally committed to Florida International, but a coaching change was a major reason he decided to decommit from the school. The three-star prospect started looking into other options and ultimately decided upon the Bulldogs. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Glass is the No. 9 overall recruit in Missouri by 247Sports.com.
Cleveland Ford, quarterback/defensive back, Gulfport (Mississippi): The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Ford is rated as the 35th best player in Mississippi and considered a three-star prospect. While it’s possible he may play defense for Alcorn State, during his senior season in high school, he found himself doing a host of offensive tasks — throwing for 1,800 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions, rushing for two touchdowns and almost 400 yards. He held offers from Southern Mississippi, Texas Tech, Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Marquise Foreman, running back, Cedar Hill (Texas): In his senior season, Forman rushed for 873 yards and 13 touchdowns for a high school program that dominated at the district, region (Dallas) and state level.
Christopher Jerry, defensive back/wide receiver, North Florida Christian (Florida): Jerry is the son of Florida A&M University running backs coach Steven Jerry.
D.J. Phillips, quarterback, Rickards (Florida): A first-team all-conference signal-caller, he passed for 2,635 yards, 23 touchdowns and six interceptions, and rushed for 605 yards and five touchdowns.
Donovan Hovey-Franklin, lineman, Warner Christian Academy (Florida): Although Hovey-Franklin held offers from Coastal Carolina and Mississippi State, he committed to the Rattlers on Jan. 17.
Rodney Jackson, defensive lineman, East Mississippi Community College (Mississippi): Jackson returns to his native state of Louisiana after spending a year in Arkansas and Mississippi. Coming out of Bastrop High, Jackson committed to Division II Southern Arkansas University before transferring to Last Chance U as a sophomore. He was also recruited by Idaho, Northwestern State and Southeast Missouri State. He plans to enroll in Grambling in June, and by that time, he will have his associate’s degree in hand.
Christian Morris, offensive lineman, Ole Miss (Mississippi): Morris almost put away his cleats because of a neck injury. After being cleared by doctors, he joined Grambling in large part because of former Ole Miss quarterback and current Southwestern Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, DeVante Kincade.
Malik Route, wide receiver, Griffin (Georgia): The all-state, all-county and all-region player is only 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds. Route, a wide receiver and return specialist, led the country in punt return and kickoff return yardage.
Kalen Whitlow, quarterback, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Mississippi): Whitlow, the younger brother of former Kentucky and Eastern Illinois quarterback Jalen Whitlow, finished 2016 with 72 completions for 733 yards and six touchdowns. Coming out of high school, Rivals.com listed the younger Whitlow as a two-star prospect, while 247Sports.com ranked him as a three-star recruit.
Caylin Newton, quarterback, Grady (Georgia): A three-star signal-caller and the younger brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Caylin Newton was a huge pickup for the D.C.-area private HBCU. He is considered the 190th-best prospect in the state. In his senior season, he threw for 3,322 yards, 33 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while also rushing for 1,036 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Kendrick Paul, defensive back, Livonia (Louisiana): Rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com, Paul is the cornerstone of Jackson State’s incoming class. While he mostly played wide receiver, it appears he’ll be suiting up as cornerback and safety for the Tigers.
Kyland Richey, tight end, Cedar Hill (Texas): At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, it’s easy to see how Richey’s future could involve working the seam or putting his hand in the ground to help out with blocking. Besides his football prowess, Richey is also a three-star baseball recruit, and may pitch for the Tigers come spring.
North Carolina A&T
Jamari Smith, running back, University of South Carolina (South Carolina): Coming out of high school in 2013, Smith amassed 2,178 yards and 24 touchdowns, which earned him first-team Class 8A all-state honors as a junior. Despite 295 carries, he didn’t fumble and was named the Florida Times-Union Offensive Player of the Year. Before losing a year to injury, Smith was redshirted as a true freshman at South Carolina.
Noel Ruiz, place kicker/punter, Fike (North Carolina): Ruiz made 41 of 45 field goals, including a school record 49-yard try. The three-star recruit had 26 touchbacks and received all-area recognition.
Artavious Richardson, defensive lineman, Rocky Mount (North Carolina): Richardson was considered a three-star athlete when he played weak-side defensive end at Rocky Mount. As an all-conference and all-area defensive lineman, he finished with 107 tackles, 10 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. The year before, Richardson was a part of the Class 3A state champion team.
North Carolina Central
Chauncey Caldwell, quarterback, Mallard Creek (North Carolina): Caldwell passed for 2,500 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2016. He coupled that with 400 yards and seven scores on the ground. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound quarterback ended up on the Eagles’ radar after participating at a football camp three years ago.
E.J. Hicks, wide receiver, Rolesville (North Carolina): In his senior season, the three-star prospect found the end zone 10 times. He picked N.C. Central over Navy and Army.
Prairie View A&M
Kaleb O’Bryant, wide receiver, Cy Creek (Texas): The three-star wideout received District 17-6A Offensive Newcomer of the Year and second-team All-Houston honors. During his two years, he amassed 1,829 yards and 17 touchdowns — 1,005 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, with 475 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Besides those scores, O’Bryant also ran back a kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown.
Jaime Hicks, defensive end, Lackawanna College (Pennsylvania): Coming out of St. Georges Technical High School in Delaware in 2014, Hicks was a first-team all-state and all-conference defensive end and second-team all-conference tight end. He recorded 70 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries. He also had 13 receptions for 268 yards and seven touchdowns and blocked two punts, returning one for a touchdown.
Zach Elder, kicker, San Antonio Johnson (Texas): Elder is considered a five-star recruit and the 26th best kicker in the country by Chris Sailer Kicking. His accolades go on: four-time 26-6A all-district, two-time all-area (2013, 2016), Kohl’s Kicking first-team All-American (2014) and 6A honorable mention all-state (2013). Elder finished his high school career with 242 career points scored.
South Carolina State
Omar Cummings, running back, Beaufort (South Carolina): Last season, Cummings accumulated 1,270 rushing yards and 16 scores, which earned him a spot in the North/South All-Star showcase. His junior year, the running back nearly tied the state record for rushing touchdowns in a single game (eight) and ran for 404 yards in that same game.
Treon Harris, quarterback, University of Florida (Florida): After spending two seasons as the Florida Gators’ starting quarterback, Harris decided to transfer when it was reported he was going to be asked to change positions. During his tenure in Gainesville, Florida, Harris passed for 2,695 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for an additional 576 yards and three scores in 15 games. Coming out of high school, the signal-caller was considered a four-star, dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com.
Lawrence Segree II, wide receiver, Brentwood Academy (Tennessee): Segree’s father played receiver at Tennessee State (1992-95). The younger Segree had the No. 1 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter after corralling a tipped pass from his quarterback for a touchdown in his team’s game against Montgomery Bell Academy.