At South Carolina State, Darius Leonard shined from the moment he stepped on the field. As a redshirt freshman, he led SC State in tackles, earned All-Conference Honors the following season; and finished as the 2016 MEAC Defensive Player Of The Year. His senior year numbers were similar to the prior year; but with more QB Sacks; and he would be invited to The NFL Combine. Going into the draft, NFL Scouts questioned his aggressiveness and strength-which at this point makes one question their qualifications Lol. As a result, he received a 2nd to 3rd round grade-and 35 other players were drafted in front of him. But this was nothing new to him, as he had previously been overlooked by the college team he wanted to play for most-Clemson.
Not alone in the struggle, there are multiple other HBCU-Rooted Players making an impact in the league nowadays. And based on the success of players like Darius Leonard and Tarik Cohen, hopefully more and more players from HBCUs will get more love in the coming years. Honestly, it would be even better if more high schoolers forced the hands of the scouts by choosing HBCUs over the more mainstream path. We have the power to break the current power structure almost overnight!