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Various All-Star Games bBetween the end of the college football season and the NFL Draft, players have the opportunity to increase their stock before starting their professional careers. Among these games are the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Bowl.
This year, a new showcase game has been added to the mix. The HBCU Legacy Bowl will feature draft-eligible players from various historically Black colleges and universities. The inaugural edition of the game will take place Saturday at 4 p.m. ET at Yulman Stadium at Tulane University in New Orleans and will be broadcast live on NFL Network.
Both teams are named after former Florida A&M head coach Jake Gaither and former Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson. Team Gaither will feature players from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, while Team Robinson will feature players from the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
A full list of players participating in the 2022 HBCU Legacy Bowl can be found on the game’s official website.
Here’s a look at several of the top players who took part in Saturday’s game.
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After starting his college career at Coastal Carolina, Jah-Maine Martin transferred to North Carolina A&T ahead of the 2018 season. He didn’t make a huge impact in his freshman year with the Aggies, but he broke out in 2019 when he rushed for 1,446 yards and 23 touchdowns to earn first-team All-MEAC honors.
Martin rushed for 522 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games during the 2021 season. Now the 5’10” running back will have the opportunity to show he could be a solid NFL running back against strong competition in the HBCU Legacy Bowl.
As Martin has shown throughout his career at North Carolina A&T, he’s capable of breaking big plays. During his three seasons with the Aggies, he averaged 7.3 yards per carry. And he has great speed, which he showed in training this week, shared by Sports IllustratedNFL Draft Bible.
Martin should be among the most exciting players on Team Gaither’s offense, and don’t be surprised if he has big plays in Saturday’s game in both the run and pass games.
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Chris Myers competed in the HBCU combination at the Senior Bowl earlier this month, and now the former Norfolk State defensive end will be among the top defensive prospects in Saturday’s HBCU Legacy Bowl. The 6’6″, 245-pound passing thrower spent his first two college seasons at Middle Tennessee before transferring to Norfolk State in 2019.
In his first year with the Spartans, Myers had 36 tackles, nine sacks (tied for most in the MEAC) and one fumble recovery in 12 games, earning third-team All-MEAC honors. He then recorded 40 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 11 games during the 2021 season.
According to Ric Serritella of Sports Illustrated‘s NFL Draft Bible, Myers “turned quite a few heads” in practice this week. Serritella thinks Myers will be a “priority free agent” after the 2022 NFL Draft.
Myers should be entertaining to watch during Saturday’s game. Expect him to put pressure on Team Robinson quarterbacks.
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For the past four seasons, LaDarius Skelton has played quarterback for Southern. He didn’t make many assists for the Jaguars, but he did contribute to their rushing offense. In 2019, he even rushed for 870 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games.
However, Skelton will not play QB in Saturday’s HBCU Legacy Bowl. Instead, he will line up to the running back.
Although Skelton said he hasn’t played running back since his youth football days at Pop Warner, he got reps at RB in practices this week. And so far, it looks like things are going well.
“I’ve been running the ball all my life. The only difference is the running position technique,” Skelton said, according to NOLA.com’s Rod Walker. “You just have to figure out the footwork part and go through the hole and read the blocks. Just the little things. After the technique, it’s just running.”
After rushing for 119 yards and four touchdowns in limited action for Southern during the 2021 season, Skelton will look to show off his running abilities for Team Robinson on Saturday, even if he does so in a new position.