‘Neglected & rejected’: No HBCU players selected in 2021 NFL Draft

In the 2021 draft, 259 players were selected for league teams


NFL logo The official NFL logo. (Credit: The National Football League)
By: Alyssa Wilson

Out of all the collegiate athletes selected for the 2021 NFL Draft, no teams in the league picked a player from a historically Black college or university (HBCU). 

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Deion Sanders, a former NFL player and the football coach for Jackson State University, took to Instagram to express his frustration, saying:

“And we have the audacity to hate on one another while our kids are being NEGLECTED & REJECTED. I witnessed a multitude of kids that we played against that were more than qualified to be drafted. My prayers are that this won’t EVER happen again. Get you knife out of my back and fight with me not against me,” he wrote. 


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According to the Washington Post, the lack of HBCU players in the draft comes from postponed and canceled seasons as a result of the pandemic. Despite this, many coaches were surprised by the result. 

Doug Williams, a graduate of Grambling State University and the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, called it a travesty. “It’s hard to believe that not one guy is worthy of being drafted. That, to me, that’s a travesty. Hopefully, we can fix it,” he said. 

In 2020, Lachavious Simmons of Tennessee State University was the only HBCU student selected when he was drafted to the Chicago Bears. Just one year before that, only four HBCU players were drafted. 

There is still an opportunity for some prospects to make it on NFL rosters by the summer. Four players from HBCUs signed free agent contracts after this year’s draft. 

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