As the NFL preseason draws to a close, HBCU players have showcased their skills and resilience, hoping to secure spots on their respective teams' final rosters. Here's a rundown of some standout players and their outcomes:
1) Xavier Smith - Los Angeles Rams
Xavier Smith, the talented Florida A&M Rattler, made waves as a UDFA for the Rams. His impressive return plays and remarkable catch during Week 2 of the preseason caught the attention of fans. Regrettably, Smith did not make the Rams' initial 53-man roster, but his potential suggests he might find his place on the practice squad.
2) Isaiah Land - Dallas Cowboys
Another Florida A&M Rattler, Isaiah Land, displayed promise during the offseason and preseason, making plays that turned heads. Despite his efforts, Land didn't secure a spot on the Cowboys' roster for now. While his former teammate, Safety Markquese Bell, clinched a roster spot, Land might still find his way to the practice squad.
3) Aubrey Miller - Miami Dolphins
Aubrey Miller, the Jackson State Linebacker and 2022 SWAC Defensive Player of the Year, secured a three-year contract with the Miami Dolphins. His impressive performance, including a memorable hit, earned him the admiration of fans. Although he didn't make the initial 53-man roster, Miller's potential could land him on the practice squad.
4) Shaq Davis - New Orleans Saints
Shaq Davis generated considerable buzz with his standout preseason practices, becoming the topic of media discussions. Despite dominating practices, Davis fell short in the final preseason game, causing him to miss the Saints' final roster. However, there's optimism that he could make the practice squad if he clears waivers.
5) Emanuel Wilson - Green Bay Packers
The remarkable journey of Emanuel Wilson, a running back from D2 Fort Valley State, captured attention. After a strong performance with the Packers in the preseason, Wilson secured a spot on the team's roster. His explosive runs and contributions on the ground and through the air impressed both fans and coaches.
6) Darius Hagans - Indianapolis Colts
Darius Hagans, representing Virginia State, faced challenges in the preseason, struggling to find his footing on the field. His limited touches and lack of special teams contributions likely contributed to his exclusion from the Colts' roster. The lack of opportunities made it difficult for him to secure a spot.
7) Isaiah Bolden - New England Patriots
Cornerback Isaiah Bolden, drafted by the New England Patriots, showcased his speed and versatility as a return specialist. While an unfortunate injury temporarily halted his progress, Bolden's talent earned him a spot on the team. He is currently on Injured Reserve, showing his potential impact upon his return.
In addition to these players, several others faced varying outcomes:
- Mark Evans, an offensive guard, displayed potential but did not secure a spot on the Saints' initial roster.
- Joshua Pryor, a defensive end, did not make the cut for the Commanders.
- James Houston, a standout linebacker from Jackson State, successfully earned a spot on the roster once again.
- Wide Receiver Jadakis Bonds unfortunately did not make the Packers' final roster.
As the NFL season progresses, these HBCU players' journeys continue, we will be keeping an eye on all practice squad additions tomorrow.