Commentary: The 2023 HBCU Legacy Bowl student-athletes scored big on and off the field
Commentary: The 2023 HBCU Legacy Bowl student-athletes scored big on and off the field The post Commentary: The 2023 HBCU Legacy Bowl student-athletes scored big on and off the field appeared first on WS Chronicle.
By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr. & Deborah L. Ewers
There are some events that start off with a powerful vision and a lot of hope. That characterized last year’s HBCU Legacy Bowl held in New Orleans. The game was successful at all levels for players, coaches, fans and NFL scouts. Congratulations and applause to former star professional football players James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams for conceiving and believing in this idea.
This year’s HBCU Legacy Bowl was also held in New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 25 and was even more successful, in our opinion. The NFL Combine was held at the New Orleans Saints practice facility. There, approximately 30 NFL scouts gathered to see the HBCU all-stars.
These young men had the rare opportunity to showcase their skills and talents to NFL decision-makers. Running, catching and throwing all made for some exciting times for this group of college players. Because of the HBCU Legacy Bowl, some of these young men will have the chance to play on Sundays.
According to reports, quarterback Jalen Fowler from North Carolina A&T State University made an impression at the combine. The Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, and Detroit Lions were among the teams that came away enthusiastic about his play. If all goes well, he will be invited for a try-out and will sign with one of those teams.
Jalen Fowler has some impressive credentials as he was ranked sixth in the Big South Conference in total passing yards and threw for 1700 yards, ranking him 61st in the nation.
The HBCU Legacy Bowl had a good crowd on a warm day in the Crescent City and the half-time entertainment was provided by the Alabama State University Marching Band. The honorary captains were Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints) and Terron Armstead (Miami Dolphins).
The game was a defensive struggle as Team Robinson defeated Team Gaither 10-3. The most valuable players were Xavier Smith (offense) from Florida A&M University and Jason Dumas (defense) from Southern University.
After the game, we spoke with A.J. Davis, running back from Florida A&M University and he is both confident and excited about the next chapter of his football life. He’s getting ready for some try-out opportunities and believes he can become a professional football player.
It is clear to us that the HBCU Legacy Bowl has presented a golden parachute of possibilities for these aspiring professional athletes. Prior to the HBCU Legacy Bowl, the chances were rare that these athletes would be seen by professional scouts. We don’t know of any HBCUs that had pro days so that their players could be seen by talent scouts. For some, while the NFL might not be an option, the Canadian Football League (CFL), the United States Football League (USFL) and the XFL will be.
Don’t forget that Warren Moon (Edmonton Eskimos), Raghib “Rocket” Ismail (Toronto Argonauts) and Joe Theismann (Toronto Argonauts) had great careers in both the NFL and the CFL.
Some players will get the chance while others played their last football game. That’s the reality of college sports. Most college players in all sports will see their playing days come to an end.
The HBCU Legacy Bowl also featured workshops and a career fair where job offers were made by employers from the public and private sector. As a result, they will exchange a football uniform for a suit and will enter another world of competition where they will continue to use their communication and teamwork skills. Sports has been an important part of their lives, but it is now time to move on to the next phrase, which will bring on new challenges and new goals.
If you weren’t there like we were, make plans to attend next year as the HBCU Legacy Bowl is here to stay and will become a part of America’s football landscape.
James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Deborah L. Ewers is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is a retired educator and social worker.
The post Commentary: The 2023 HBCU Legacy Bowl student-athletes scored big on and off the field appeared first on WS Chronicle.