The inaugural HBCU Legacy Bowl is in the books, as Saturday's game in New Orleans wrapped up an extraordinary week of events featuring all-star players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I had a chance to get an up-close look at the proceedings during the week leading up to our broadcast of the game on NFL Network, and I can tell you everything was run with an eye on giving the participating 2022 NFL Draft prospects the best opportunity to be exposed to NFL scouts. That's a credit to the coaching staffs who led the teams, event organizer Kevin Kaplan and the pro teams in attendance.
Before we officially turn the page, I'm highlighting six players who helped themselves, either during the week of practice, in the game or both. There were plenty of talented prospects who flashed, but in this piece, I'm focusing on guys who consistently had their names mentioned in my conversations with scouts.
Aqeel Glass, QB, Alabama A&M
Glass is a two-time winner of the Deacon Jones Trophy, which is awarded annually to the top player from an HBCU, so it should be no surprise to see him included here. His performance in practices served as a reminder that he's worthy of a strong look from NFL teams as a developmental quarterback. Glass offers an intriguing mix of size (6-foot-5, 215 pounds, per school measurements), intelligence and physical talent. He's a star in the classroom, too. Glass has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering and is pursuing a master's degree in systems and material engineering. He's also one of the most productive QBs in FCS history. You just cannot ignore his rare accomplishments.
De'Shaan Dixon, Edge, Norfolk State
Dixon carried over an excellent week of practice into a dominant performance in the game, posting four tackles (1.5 for loss) and a pass breakup. The scouts I spoke with were impressed by his length, stoutness at the point of attack and motor. He looks the part, has a great get-off and made plays versus the run and the pass. The buzz about him never stopped.
Marquis McClain, WR, Southern
There was a lot of chatter about McClain during the week because of his size (6-2, 215), with some folks wondering if he could put more weight on his frame and become a move tight end at the next level. I see him as a big wide receiver who can go inside and make the tough catches. He certainly showed what he's capable of in the game, making seven catches for 84 yards. I think he's going to make a lot of people give him a look, if they hadn't already, with that performance. A tight end who had flashed during the week, North Carolina Central's Isaiah Macklin, did not end up playing on Saturday, so McClain had to pick up the slack for his team, and he did it quite well.
Dee Anderson, WR, Alabama A&M
After beginning his career at LSU (where he played behind the likes of Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and D.J. Chark, among others) and then spending the 2020 season at Oklahoma State (where he played behind 2021 fourth-round pick Tylan Wallace), Anderson transferred to Alabama A&M for his final collegiate season. With Glass as his QB, Anderson finally had a chance to rise to the forefront, and he led the team with 12 touchdown grabs. He made plays all week long at the HBCU Legacy Bowl. I liked his ability to get low and secure catches you wouldn't expect a 6-foot-6 receiver to make. He's big, rangy and strong out on the perimeter, but his ability to separate is still a bit of a question mark right now.
Will Adams, S, Virginia State
Adams did not play in the game Saturday due to a shoulder injury, but the good news is, I was told it's not going to require surgery, and he should be able to work out at his pro day in front of scouts. He has now stood out at last month's HBCU Combine and during the week of practice in New Orleans, so he should be fully on the radar for NFL evaluators. He is fundamentally sound and plays the game with intelligence. Adams' career on-ball production won't jump out at you (five interceptions, nine pass breakups), but he does have ball skills in addition to good flexibility and the ability to play inside the box. He's around the football all the time.
Antwan Collier, S, Florida A&M
Collier is a UCF transfer who played a key role in the Knights' undefeated season back in 2017, as he made the game-clinching interception against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll loves long, rangy college safeties that he can turn into Cover 3 corners. Could Collier be one of those guys? We shall see. His coaches will tell you he's a natural leader, and his body type reminds me of Browns safety John Johnson.