ATLANTA, GA — The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced today four finalists for the Black College Football Player of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to the most outstanding football player from a Historically Black College & University that embodies the rich tradition of athletic excellence and integrity associated with HBCUs. Former North Carolina A&T State University, and current Chicago Bears Running Back, Tarik Cohen was selected as the inaugural recipient of the award in 2016.
The 2017 finalists include running back Trenton Cannon (Virginia State), quarterback Amir Hall (Bowie State), quarterback DeVante Kincade (Grambling State) and quarterback Lamar Raynard (North Carolina A&T State).
“The Black College Football Player of the Year Award showcases the immense talent of our HBCU student-athletes today,” said Doug Williams, BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee. “Each finalist has had an incredible season and we are excited to celebrate their success.”
The winner of the 2017 Black College Football Player of the Year Award will be announced on Feb. 10, 2018 at the Ninth Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Presented by the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, Georgia. He will be presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy, named in honor of the football legend and inaugural BCFHOF inductee.
“On behalf of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees, we congratulate the Black College Football Player of the Year Finalists,” said James “Shack” Harris, Co-Founder and 2012 Inductee. “These student-athletes represent the very best of HBCU football.”
Running Back … Virginia State University … Senior … 1st Team All-Conference (CIAA) as a running back and kick returner … CIAA Offensive Player of the Year … Led CIAA in rushing yards (1,638), rushing avg. (7.7 YPC) and all-purpose yards (2,686) … Scored 22 total touchdowns (2nd in CIAA) … Named CIAA’s Offensive Back of the Week five times during 10-week regular season … Became Virginia State's all-time leading rusher … Candidate for The Harlon Hill Award (Division II College Football Player of the Year) … Two-time All-CIAA 1st Team (2016 and 2017) … Born July 23, 1994.
Quarterback … Bowie State University … Junior … Two-time 1st Team All-Conference (CIAA) … Led conference in passing yards (3,519), passing touchdowns (41) and total offense (3,929) … Also had 406 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns … Owns nearly every quarterback record for Bowie State, including career passing yards (6,974), passing touchdowns (69) and passing efficiency (163.6) … Candidate for The Harlon Hill Award (Division II College Football Player of the Year) … 2016 CIAA Offensive Player of the Year … Born September 26, 1997.
Quarterback … Grambling State University … Senior … Led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in passing yards (2,409), efficiency (143.8), completions (184) and total offense (2,649) … Threw 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions … 2016 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year … 2016 1st Team All-SWAC … 2016 Black College Football Player of the Year Finalist … Led Grambling to the SWAC Championship both years as starting quarterback and the 2016 Black College Football National Championship (Celebration Bowl) … Born September 16, 1994.
Quarterback … North Carolina A&T State University … Junior … 1st Team All-Conference (MEAC) … Led MEAC in passing yards (2,707), efficiency (171.6), completion percentage (65.3 percent) and touchdowns (26) … Broke school record for passing yards in a season … Also had 168 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns … Finalist the Walter Payton Award for FCS Offensive Player of the Year … Led the Aggies to an undefeated season and a second consecutive birth in the Celebration Bowl … 2nd Team All-MEAC in 2016 … Born February 1, 1996.
ABOUT DEACON JONES
David “Deacon” Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. He won unanimous All-NFL honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones is an inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2010) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
ABOUT THE BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October of 2009 by African-American pioneers and quarterbacks, Pro Bowl MVP James “Shack” Harris and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams to preserve the history and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There have been 64 Inductees since inception, including Mel Blount, James Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.