1st Round Draft pick was touched by former HBCU, NFL Gridder
ATLANTA- Even though only two players from historically black colleges were selected in the 2014 NFL draft, at least one first round pick from Florida State was touched by the hand of HBCU graduate and former NFL player from Morris Brown College.Blackmon
Roosevelt Blackmon, playfully called “Tadpole” by alumni, fellow classmates and players, was a 4th round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers during the 1998 draft. He played for the Packers and eventually the Cincinnati Bengals before stepping away from the league and returning to his hometown of Belle Glade Florida. In 2005, he joined the coaching staff of the city’s Glade Central High School at or around the same time wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had arrived as a freshman and ultimately became one of the school’s best wide receivers. Blackmon worked as an assistant coach and athletic director at Glades Central until named head coach in 2010, which should have been during Benjamin’s senior year. I have to think “Tadpole” probably had some direct or indirect influence on that youngster’s playing ability. The point? No matter how others count us (HBCUs) out, we are In there pitching somehow!!
It might interest you to know that among those on the short list of candidates for the former head coaching vacancy at Mississippi Valley State was current Morehouse head grid coach Richard Freeman. I’d like to think that Freeman’s name was likely advanced by the school’s new president Dr. William Bynum, who served as a vice president at Morehouse College from 2009-2013 and was mentored by the college’s former president Robert Franklin. The job was instead handed to former Jackson state head coach Rick Comegy (Comegy also coached in the SIAC at Tuskegee).Weston
Clark-AU’s second year head football coach Kevin Weston is pleased as punch that six of his 10 games this coming grid season will be at home. Most of his 2013 team which was predominately freshman is returning with a sprinkle of juniors and seniors. Returnees to watch for include quarterback Trenton Earl, second team all conference running back Montavious Taylor and first team all conference junior linebacker Bre’nard Williams. The Panther elevens are scheduled to open September 6 on the road against Central State…….CAU no longer needs to continue the search for a head basketball coach. They already have their candidate in interim coach Tony Lamarr. He took a team practically in shambles after the 2012-13 season and led them to a winning 15-12 season which included a 10-7 mark in the SIAC….The school is still in the hunt for an athletic director. Any takers? Contact the school………Ismsr
Meanwhile, Morehouse head man Richard Freeman says overall he was pleased with the Maroon Tiger spring drills. Though some of his players were sidelined principally because of the school’s strict academic policies, he said it did give him and his staff a chance to see more of those who were allowed on the grid and especially at the skill spots. He is returning three quarterbacks and seems especially impressed with sophomore Montvavious Johnson of Decatur Georgia. Although the school hadn’t planned to play him until this year, injuries to other signal callers forced Freeman to send him in prematurely, a decision he says he doesn’t regret. “He started in the Lane game,” Freeman told INSIDE. And since then, he hasn’t looked back.” He is also happy to get running back Shelton Hamilton back after an injury last year left the Montgomery, Alabama native sidelined for most of 2013. “He’s told me this year he’s 100% and ready to roll,” said Freeman. “The last two losing seasons we’ve had was a wake up call for all of us, coaches, staff and players,“ he added. “We got a bit soft with all those previous winning seasons. We are ready again.” Meanwhile, Freeman has added former Concordia College head coach Shepherd SkanesSkanes as the team’s running backs coach…..Morehouse's 2014 schedule will be a challenging one. The Marooners ' first six games will be roaders. In fact, The hometowners won't get a glimpse of the elevens until homecoming October 18 against Albany Statte....Freeman
The SIAC will once more rule the roost at the annual grid “do” the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis. The “Breds” of Kentucky State will throw down against the Marauders of Central State, new coach and all, October 4th…………
XTRA POINTS: I understand that former Alabama A&M head coach Anthony Jones is now an assistant at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff……Where is former North Carolina Central head man Henry Frazier?.......Former Lincoln University (Missouri) head coach Jack Bush has rejoined ex- boss Rick Comegy at Mississippi Valley State ……If you come to Atlanta this grid season (or for that matter any time) let me recommend the TGI Friday restaurant in the Camp Creek Marketplace shopping center. The food is great and reasonable, the atmosphere is fantastic and the service is excellent. It is also black owned by the family of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson (Morehouse College)……..
Big Break for Former Morehouse Assistant Grid Coach
Patience, hard work and the ability to put one’s nose to the grindstone can pay off big time and that is what happened for ex-Morehouse offensive line coach Brian Braswell. The Atlanta native (East Point) and former lineman at both Benjamin Banneker High and Hampton University has been hired to join the staff of Cincinatti Bengal Head coach Marvin Lewis as an assistant offensive line/quality control coach.
BraswellBraswell caught the attention of Lewis last spring and during training camp as he participated in the Bill Walsh Minority Internship Coaching program. At Morehouse, he wore a number of hats as offensive line coach under defensive coordinator George Copeland (Tennessee State), as run game coordinator, coach for the field goal and extra point teams and developer of strength programs. “ Brian is an energetic guy who finds ways to contribute and we’re happy to add him on for 2014,” Lewis said in a statement. “We’re impressed with the work he put in for us in the offseason and camp last year.”
Former Morris Brown athletic trainer Walter Smith is getting a crack at the silver screen. He is playing the role of a bow-tie wearing referee in a film about Muhammad Ali called “The Final Punch”. Smith, an Atlanta native told INSIDE his selection was accidental. He was taking his grandson to movie tryouts at a Shriner’s Temple in northeast Atlanta when approached by staff about taking the role of referee in the flick.” I refused about three times but they kept bugging me about it because the turnout for tryouts had been poor due to weather. I finally gave in and took the part.” Smith, one of the country’s most sought-after trainers, which he has done since the age of 13, has been in a similar role with the Georgia Tech baseball team for the last 29 years. For that devoted service, the school named one of its athletic buildings for him…….
James “Cannonball” Butler, a one time sensational running back for the Atlanta Falcons, was laid to rest late last month in Boynton Beach, Florida. Butler came to Atlanta in 1967 after spending three years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their 15th round pick in 1963. He graduated from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville Florida, and was cited by the school as one of its “most decorated athletes.” His number 24 at EWC is the only jersey retired. He spent four years in Atlanta from 1968 to 1972. Although most remember him for his fullback-like roughness with the oval, he is also remembered by many Atlantans as the owner of a popular nightspot called 200 South in southwest Atlanta. His relatives said EWC and his frat, Omega Psi Phi were among the closest to his heart.Butler
The same year Butler came to the Falcons in 1968, the team made former Tennessee State great Claude Humphrey their first round draft pick and the third player selected in that year’s draft overall. In 1976 through 1978, I produced the Claude Humphrey Radio Show for station WAOK-AM and we became close friends. So it was with pride that this year, I watched the NFL finally see fit to induct the brother into the Hall of Fame. There are two people I wish Claude’s close friend, former Falcon tight end Jim Mitchell (Prairie View) and his wife/cheerleader Sandra could have been around to see this triumph. Humphrey joins Richard Dent as the second “Big Blue Tiger” elected to the Hall. Ceremonies are slated for August 2 in Canton Ohio. I wonder who will Claude select to introduce him?Humphey at Tennessee State TSU Photo
XTRA POINTS; INSIDE has learned that the Atlanta Xplosion women’s tackle football team has changed leagues.They are now part of the Omaha Nebraska based Women’s Spring Football League. The switch was confirmed to INSIDE by league CEO Randall Fields. “Atlanta has four women’s tackle teams and two of them , the Xplosion and the Atlanta Heartbreakers are members of our league,” he said in a phone interview from Omaha. “The Xplosion joined us about two months ago.” He said there is also a possibility that the league championship for 2014 might be held in Atlanta. It appears the fourth women’s team in Atlanta is the Atlanta Rage said to have been created by former Xplosion longtime general manager-owner Mashonda Gilmore.
……Meanwhile, Atlanta’s other team , the Phoenix, say their tweaks during the off-season have developed them into 50 dedicated souls to the team and the sport. Last year, the Phoenix was 8-0 in the regular season and 2-1 in post season play. Somehow, after two tough playoff games last year against Tampa Bay and Miami, they went into third round play against the Chicago Force on the road and got creamed 84-0. How could that happen against a team that only allowed regular season opponents an average 7.2 points a ballgame?
They (Chicago) threw some ringers in on us at the last minute,” said General Manager and part-owner April Christler. She protested to the honchos of the Women Football Association she told us the league promised to invoke rules against last minute “roster adds”. The team meanwhile has changed home fields to Campbell High school in Smyrna Georgia and will began with a pre-season contest against the (Washington) DC Divas March 22 before their official season begins April 5th against Tampa…..
I nearly forget to render applause to the 2013 Atlanta Metropolitan College men’s basketball program. Among the more than 1000 two year colleges that sponsor field basketball teams in the USA, AMC’s 2013 hoop program was the nation’s 5th best All- Academic teams. Mind you, only five teams were picked from around the nation! Their head coach is Robert Pritchett (Albany State), AMC s first and only head coach since the school began playing b-ball in the early 1990s.
First Gobble Day game between Ala.State-Stillman draws 14,396
NEW ORLEANS, La- 14,000-plus flocked to the 90th Turkey Day classic in Montgomery, Alabama and introduced a new team to the annual football “do.” Those who travelled across state from Tuscaloosa, the hard-core Hornets who would show up regardless the opponent and the curious who wanted to get a peak at the elevens and the new state-of-the-art ASU stadium saw a pretty good game . Alabama State prevailed 41-28 to start a new chapter in the history of this game. Will it last the 89 years of the Tuskegee-Hornet contest? Will Stillman eventually decide to bow out to qualify for NCAA playoff action? Only time will tell that……..
SIAC SUPERLATIVES FOR 2013- The SIAC’s all conference team has been unwrapped for 2013 and the selections didn’t come as much of a surprise. BurroughsThree of the conference’s 11 football playing teams had three players selected to the first team. Probably for the first time in memory, Lane College joined the list of multi-superlatives which also included the player of the year, Chris Rini. I do take issue with the selection committee’s failure to name Lane’s Derrick Burroughs as coach of the year and this is with all due respect to selectee Reggie "Ruff” Ruffin, who is a brilliant coach. But Burroughs, an one time assistant under former Stillman coach Greg Thompson, took over a team that was once everybody’s preferred homecoming opponent and lifted them to their first winning season (6-4) since 2007 . The also finished third in the SIAC’s tough western division. One decision the committee made that was a damn good one was naming CAU freshman TaylorMontavious Taylor the freshman player of the year. The native Atlantan was second in conference rushing with 671 yards, averaging 75 yards per game. Check out the rest of the best at www.thesiac.com......
BAYOU AT 40- ‘Ole Southern University captured their second consecutive Bayou Classic football victory 40-17 over poor Grambling who mercifully ended their 1-11 season which aside last year’s equally abysmal 1-10, were the two worst one win seasons ever since 1945. Despite the loss, Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams accounted well for himself, throwing for 120 yards and tossing two touchdowns. Williams started in the last two Grambling games, replacing DJ Williams who played the last few minutes of the fourth period. “ I was glad for the opportunity and got in there to win.” , he told INSIDE HOTLANTA. Although the Tigers played a poor first half, they improved some in the second, scoring twice, once in the third period and again at the beginning of the fourth period. Williams was his own worst critic. “ I didn’t play well,” said the QB of few words. “ I played a bad game.” Southern’s Southern celebrates Bayou Classic victory Dray Joseph, meanwhile, was grinning like a cheshire cat following the win. He should have been. Joseph, playing in his final regular season game, threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Like Williams, he too was his harshest critic. “I give my performance (in Bayou 40) between a B plus and B minus, “ he told INSIDE, “ JosephI threw a few bad passes, some too short, others too long. I know I am going to have to play much, much better against Jackson State (December 7, Houston Texas).” Joseph has survived three coaches at Southern and some lean years but he says “it’s a process.” “Coach (Dawson) Odums took over for coach (Stump) Mitchell and he came in emphasizing discipline and accountability. It worked.”
Meanwhile, there is no word as of the posting of this column about the future fate of Grambling interim coach Dirk Winston, who took over after former head coach Doug Williams and interim George Ragsdale were fired.
SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Paine College head coach Greg Ruffin’s Lion elevens showed themselves well as a club football team this season. They wound up beating three of their four opponents. They will play a full SIAC schedule in 2014 and any conference or other team who schedules them as possibly an easy homecoming opponent better think again.Ruffin
XTRA POINTS: The 47,000 –plus at this year’s 40th Bayou Classic was surprising to some, considering many Jaguar hard-cores I talked to said they expected the bulk of their fans to sit it out and save their green for Houston this weekend at the SWAC championship game against Jackson State. Actually, considering Grambling’s dismal 2013 record and its twin from 2012, I really expected to see only a smattering of Tiger fans at the game. I was pleased to see quite a few sporting their Grambling garb……….The Jackson State-Southern match for the SWAC title will feature two coaches who formally piloted teams in the SIAC. Rick Comegy was head coach at Tuskegee for many years and Dawson Odums piloted Clark-Atlanta University in the part of this century….My wife’s hometown of Hammond Louisiana is dying for a good soul food restaurant. Any enterprising soul might look into it. You’d die a millionaire !!!!!..DID YOU KNOW that former Norfolk State President Harrison Wilson ( 1976-1997) is the grandfather of poker-hot Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson. No wonder the brother is so bad……
Tuskegee fights but loses first shot at NCAA Playoffs
HAMMOND, La-Well, it was close and the team played well, no, BETTER than well but ‘ole ‘Skegee nonetheless lost a heartbreaker to the University of North Alabama 30-27 in last weekend’s round one of the NCAA Division ii playoffs..
Tuskegee tied the game once in the third period and even led after the first quarter. UNA scored what turned out to be the winning points via a touchdown in the third period. Willie Slater’s Goldens responded with a 38 yard field goal at the 2:06 mark of the third probably thinking they’d have time left to mount a drive and score once more. Didn’t happen. The 4th period turned largely into a defensive battle with neither team able to score. Tuskegee had four opportunities but couldn’t get a sustained drive going. In fact, one of them was stopped with an interception. UNA had the last word with 6:11 to to go and managed to run out the clock.
This was, nonetheless, an historic contest for Tuskegee. Never before had the Goldens qualified for an opportunity to play in the D-2 post-season. But that all changed last year when Skegee pulled out of the annual Thanksgiving day game with Alabama State…So who is playing the hornets on turkey day now? Stillman stepped up to the plate..
Meanwhile, Albany State, this year’s SIAC champ, won’t get to enjoy any post- season play as a reward. What would have been the 16th annual Pioneer Bowl featuring the champ or a rep from the SIAC (Albany State) against the champ or rep from CIAA (probably the runner-up to the scheduled conference matchup between Virginia State and Winston Salem which was wisely cancelled by the conference honchos) was cancelled. Since the Pioneer started in 1997, it’s been cancelled twice before in 2002 and 2008. Last year, Elizabeth City State defeated Tuskegee 28-13.
My only concern with the cancellation is how this might affect the sanctioning. How long is the NCAA going to tolerate continued cancelling of this game, the longest enduring post-season sanctioning for not only the SIAC-CIAA but all of division II.
The late Wallace Jackson, the SIAC’s first full time commissioner, pushed the sanctioning through the right committees. SanctioningSuperman and Lamars and automatic conference bids are most coveted with rival organizations biting at the bit to snatch ups for themselves. I’d hate for this sanctioning to be lost. The chances are likely this opportunity will never come again…..
XTRA POINTS: I’ve been spending the last two weeks in the Bayou State of Louisiana celebrating Thanksgiving with Patsy’s family and while there, took advantage of a couple of games.. One was the Clark-AU- Southern contest in Baton Rouge and then the 40th Bayou in New Orleans .I also journeyed to Shreveport to look up an old friend and former Morris Brown College football player, Robert “Supermann:” Blount.
For nearly 20 years, he lived in Atlanta, became an awesome bodybuilder and a sought-after trainer. He left Atlanta before the turn of the century on what he said was a spiritual calling and returned to his native Shreveport. He gave up the lifestyle of the rich and famous, -re-married and turn his life to all things spiritual. Now an ordained minister, he established “B-Fit for Life”, a program encouraging men and women to get themselves fit, refrain from excesses and treat the physical body with the same respect they treat their spirituality. “The body is the temple of the Lord,” he said at a recent health symposium in Shreveport, “You have to start treating the temple right, If your car breaks down, you get it fixed, right? Well, what about the body? That’s the first thing we ignore.” To learn mout Supermann Blount, contact him at www.bfitforlife.org