The Senior Bowl announced an effort in conjunction with the NFL to provide more exposure to HBCU players. The HBCU Scouting Committee will evaluate and select participants in a two day event.
Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy announced on May 26th that the Senior Bowl plans to launch an NFL-sanctioned combine for NFL prospects entering the NFL Draft from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Over the last several weeks following the NFL Draft, many prominent figures in the industry criticized the league because the NFL drafted no HBCU prospects. Most notably, former NFL star cornerback Deion Sanders spoke his disgust. The HBCU Combine will provide those opportunities to prospects.
The Senior Bowl will be working in conjunction with the NFL on the event. An HBCU Scouting Committee of current and former league executives will evaluate and select this season’s participants. Originally, the Senior Bowl had planned to perform such an event in January 2021 but was postponed by Covid-19.
“The Reese’s Senior Bowl is honored to be collaborating with the National Football League to host the inaugural HBCU Combine in Mobile, Alabama,” Nagy stated in a press release. “Over the years, the Senior Bowl has served as a showcase for some of the top Black college football players in America, including seven of our game’s 56 future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and this event will help many more HBCU players secure further attention and exposure from all 32 teams.”
The HBCU Combine format
The HBCU Combine will be a two-day event spanning from January 28th-29th, 2022. Representatives from all 32 NFL teams attend the Senior Bowl every year. We can assume that all 32 teams will be present for this combine in Mobile. The Combine will provide incredible player access for NFL teams.
The event will be modeled after the league’s main event, typically held in March. They will gather medical information on the prospects, conduct interviews and on-field evaluations of football skills and acumen. The exciting fact for both prospects and teams in this regard is that it will be far less crowded than the main event, which normally features 300 different prospects. This will make prospects more accessible to NFL teams, and each player will get more attention.
“The HBCU Combine is part of honoring that legacy and making every effort to accelerate exposure of HBCU draft prospects to all NFL clubs,” NFL Executive-Vice President of Football Operations stated in the press release. “The game is better when all have the opportunity to compete.”
Recent accusations against Nagy
In early April, For The Win writer Steven Ruiz penned an opinion claiming that Jim Nagy suffered from the “inability to recognize racial bias” and argued that someone should replace him. “In many ways, Nagy is a tastemaker for decision-makers around the league and a gatekeeper for prospects hoping to make the NFL,” Ruiz wrote on April 9th, 2021. “Because of that, Nagy’s capacity to do his job should be under constant scrutiny. And a recent exchange with quarterback trainer Quincy Avery shows that he might not be equipped for the role.”
Ruiz argued that the conversation Nagy wrote on Twitter with Avery, one of the most respected quarterback coaches in the game, showed that Nagy was unaware of racial bias in the NFL. This entire article was penned because Nagy told Avery that the NFL was not racist against black players.
Nagy revealed to NFL Network’s Steve Wyche on twitter that this event had been in planning for quite some time. The NFL and the Senior Bowl had hoped to have this running by 2021, but were held back by Covid-19.
This is a huge step to help HBCU prospects get the attention needed on an NFL platform.
I also think Mr. Ruiz owes Mr. Nagy an apology.