HBCU student-athletes participate in HBCU legacy bowl

Howard players and coach Larry Scott pose after the game. Team Gaither won 10-6 on Saturday. From left, Gerone Hamilton Jr., Brennan Brown, Larry Scott, Darrian Brokenburr, and Ian Wheeler. (Photo Courtesy of Zahria Liggins)

By Badi Cross

Howard University football talent took the field on Feb. 24 at the HBCU Legacy Bowl, the annual postseason all-star game featuring the best NFL draft-eligible football players from HBCUs.

This year was the third iteration of the event, bringing together talent from over 10 different HBCUs across the country to showcase their skills in front of pro scouts.

The two teams, named after College Football Hall of Fame head coaches Eddie Robinson and Jake Gaither, comprise over 100 HBCU players. Many of the players that were invited are national award-winners. 

Some notable players who participated include Co-Black College Players of the Year Davius Richard of North Carolina Central University, Jeremy Moussa of Florida A&M University, and Texas Southern University HBCU All-American LaDarius Owens.

Team Gaither defeated Team Robinson 10-6.

The week leading up to the all-star game included a draft combine and a career fair event open to all HBCU students, including over 100 different organizations and 12 NFL teams.

Coach Larry Scott, selected as one of the coaches of Team Gaither, led his team to victory in a low-scoring affair, with his squad being the only team scoring in double-digits. He said it was a “great feeling” to get the win.

Scott spoke about the importance of a bowl game like this, saying that it was a great opportunity for the players to be able to work out and be scouted by all the NFL teams in attendance.

“It all comes down to exposure, being out in the right position where you have access and have cameras and different people following,” Scott said. “When you put the collective body together like that for HBCUs all over the country, it’s tremendous.

“Big-time headway in the big picture of exposure of HBCUs in the football world.”

Howard Sports Information Director Derek Bryant believes the bowl was an excellent opportunity for HBCU athletes to showcase their talents. 

“It’s great that they’re showcasing their talents in front of professional scouts, whether it be the NFL, United Football League, Canadian Football League, or any of the others,” Bryant said. “It’s also a chance for the scouts to see talent that they don’t get the chance to go out and see.”

The week was attended by scouts from all 32 teams, including the New Orleans Saints, which hosted the game.

Graduate running back Ian Wheeler participated in the event, likely his last as a collegiate athlete. Wheeler said he enjoyed the entire process, especially playing with his teammates again.

“It was a lot of fun to compete,” he said. “A lot of fun to play against some of the best talent that I’ve gone up against in my last few years here.”

The Bowl game precedes the NFL Draft, which will take place April 25 to 27.