MEAC, Grambling lead Black College Football POY Watch List

ATLANTA, Ga. | The Grambling State University football team placed six student-athletes on the 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year Watch List, which was recently announced.

The Tigers, who were tied with the most selections with North Carolina A&T State, represented six of the 15 players nominated from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

De’Arius Christmas, Darrell Clark, La’Allan Clark, Jordan Jones, Brandon Varner and William Waddell received the early selections.

The Black College Football Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player from a Historical Black College & University (HBCU). In addition, the watch list was composed of 52 players from 25 different HBCU’s, with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) leading the way with 18 selections.

Howard University quarterback Caylin Newton (3) rushed for 194 yards and one touchdown passed for another 140 yards and two scores to lead the Bison to a 43-30 upset win against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

The winner of the 2018 Black College Football Player of the Year Award will be honored with the Deacon Jones Trophy during the Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which takes place on Feb. 16, 2019 in Atlanta. Four finalists will be unveiled on November 29.

“HBCU football has outstanding talent, as evidenced in this year’s NFL Draft,” said Super Bowl MVP quarterback Doug Williams, a BCFHOF co-founder and 2011 inductee. “This Award is a way that the Black College Football Hall of Fame is able to recognize these talented student-athletes.”

“The Deacon Jones Trophy is the most prestigious football award for HBCUs,” said BCFHOF co-founder and 2012 inductee James Harris. “Deacon Jones was a pioneer and an icon, and still to this day represents the very best of Black College Football.”

The Watch List candidates have been selected based on past performance and future potential. Additions to the list may be made as the 2018 season progresses. The finalists and the winner will be chosen by a selection committee.

The award is presented annually to the most outstanding football player from a Historically Black College & University. Former North Carolina A&T, and current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Award in 2016; and Bowie State sophomore quarterback Amir Hall was the 2017 recipient.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 by African-American pioneers, quarterbacks James Harris and 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 77 Inductees since inception, including Mel Blount, James Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees. Its permanent home is currently being constructed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

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