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Stan Becton | | February 27, 2023

The top HBCU football players, by position, from the 2022 season

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The 2022 HBCU football season is almost finished, but talented players shined throughout the FCS season. A select group of players stood out among their peers, thanks to on-field performances. Here are the top players, by position, from the 2022 HBCU football season.

MORE: What happened in the 2022 HBCU football season | 2022 Celebration Bowl | Final 2022 Rankings

To make this All-HBCU list, a player must've made their all-conference team. This list has more than the traditional 22 players plus specialists. On offense, the list features an extra, third wide receiver and an all-purpose back to showcase the increase in spread offenses throughout college football. On defense, the list features both four defensive linemen and four linebackers since teams play both a 4-3 and 3-4 defense. With the rise of nickel packages, the list also features an additional defensive back. In total, there are 29 players.

Overall, the SWAC leads the MEAC for players landing on this list 17-10. However, the MEAC leads the SWAC when it comes to players on the list per conference team.

Top 2022 HBCU football players, by position


  • QB - Shedeur Sanders | Jackson State
  • RB - Bhayshul Tuten | North Carolina A&T
  • RB - Jarveon Howard | Alcorn State
  • WR - Xavier Smith | Florida A&M
  • WR - Shaquan Davis | South Carolina State
  • WR - Jadakis Bonds | Hampton
  • TE - Kemari Averett | Bethune-Cookman
  • OL - Robert Mitchell | North Carolina Central
  • OL - Corey Bullock | North Carolina Central
  • OL - Anim Dankwah | Howard
  • OL - Mark Evans | Arkansas-Pine Bluff
  • OL - Drake Centers | Texas Southern
  • AP - Sy'Veon Wilkerson | Jackson State

About the offense

Shedeur Sanders, Bhayshul Tuten and Jarveon Howard all grab their spots after fantastic seasons as the focal points of their offense. Tuten and Howard rushed for 1,363 and 1,270 yards, respectively. Sy'Veon Wilkerson grabs the all-purpose spot, thanks to his 19 catches out of the backfield to add to his 1,100 rushing yards.

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At wide receiver, Xavier Smith was one of the best in the FCS this year and was the only HBCU wide receiver to gain over 1,000 receiving yards. The final two wideout spots go to Shaquan Davis and Jadakis Bonds. Each finished with 10 touchdowns, despite constant double-teams from opposing defenses.

Up front, Robert Mitchell was named the MEAC's offensive lineman of the year. He and Drake Centers did not allow a sack. Corey Bullock and Mark Evans have been two of the most consistent lineman all season, while Anim Dankwah was a stalwart at left tackle during Howard's run to the MEAC title.

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  • DL - Kamari Stephens | Florida A&M
  • DL - Elijah Williams | Morgan State
  • DL - Isaiah Land | Florida A&M
  • DL - Sundiata Anderson | Grambling State
  • LB - Ronnie Thomas | Mississippi Valley State
  • LB - Aubrey Miller | Jackson State
  • LB - BJ Davis | South Carolina State
  • LB - Colton Adams | Alabama State
  • S - Khalil Baker | North Carolina Central
  • S - Kenny Gallop Jr. | Howard
  • CB - Omari Hill-Robinson | Bethune-Cookman
  • CB - Isaiah Hamilton | Texas Southern
  • DB - Karon Prunty | North Carolina A&T

About the defense

The top defensive linemen in the MEAC and SWAC this year were Kamari Stephens and Elijah Williams, respectively. Williams had 60 tackles,15 tackles for loss and eight sacks for a Morgan State team that exceeded expectations. Meanwhile, Stephens finished with 10 sacks and 13 tackles for loss while forcing four fumbles. He outplayed his teammate and reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner Isaiah Land, who also made the list. Land only played in eight games and still finished with 11.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. The final spot on the defensive line goes to Sundiata Anderson. He was one of the best edge-rushers this season, finishing with 50 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

2022 Games: 2022 MEAC/SWAC Challenge | Orange Blossom Classic

The linebacker corps featured four shoo-in selections in Thomas, Miller, Davis and Adams, with the latter making 128 tackles, the second-most in the FCS.

In the secondary, the MEAC grabbed both safety spots after Khalil Baker won the conference's Defensive Player of the Year honor and Gallop led the conference in solo tackles. The best cornerback in HBCU football this year was Omari Hill-Robinson while Isaiah Hamilton led the SWAC in interceptions as a sophomore. Karon Prunty earned the final spot in the secondary after he finished the season with four interceptions and seven pass breakups.

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  • K - Adrian Olivo | North Carolina Central
  • P - Chris Faddoul | Florida A&M
  • KR - Darnell Deas | Bethune-Cookman and Keith Jenkins | Morgan State

About the specialists

Adrian Olivo narrowly grabbed the spot as a kicker over Florida A&M's Jose Romo-Martinez because Olivo missed fewer field goals and extra points combined. Chris Faddoul led the SWAC in punting, while Darnell Deas and Keith Jenkins each returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

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Top Players Breakdown

# of Players School
4 Florida A&M, North Carolina Central
3 Bethune-Cookman, Jackson State
2 Howard, Morgan State, North Carolina A&T,
South Carolina State, Texas Southern
1 Alabama State, Alcorn State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff,
Grambling State, Hampton, Mississippi Valley State
0 Alabama A&M, Delaware State, Norfolk State,
Prairie View A&M, Tennessee State,  Southern

🔥MORE: The top individual performances | The most exciting HBCU players

Just Missed

  • QB Davius Richard | North Carolina Central
  • RB Alfonzo Graham | Morgan State
  • WR Dallas Daniels | Jackson State
  • WR Shane Hooks | Jackson State
  • OL Dallas Black | Southern
  • OL Jalen Goss | Florida A&M
  • DL Malachi Bailey | Alcorn State
  • DL Jermaine McDaniel | North Carolina A&T
  • LB Jacob Roberts | North Carolina A&T
  • K Jose Romo-Martinez | Florida A&M

About those that just missed the cut

Leaving Alfonzo Graham off the list was a hard choice after he ran for over 1,000 yards this season. He was the best running back in the MEAC but his missing the list shows how talented the running backs were this season. At the other offensive skill positions, Jackson State's wide receiver duo misses the list because other receivers put up better numbers on fewer catches. 

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Offensive lineman Dallas Black and Jalen Goss were near-misses on the offensive line, but with seven players for five spots, a difficult choice had to be made.

On defense, Malachi Bailey was the first defensive lineman left off after his impressive season at Alcorn and Jemaine McDaniel didn't have a large enough sample size —although, his production was great — after playing just six games.

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