40 draft hopefuls participate in first-ever HBCU Combine

Updated: Jan. 29, 2022 at 9:00 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - MOBILE, Ala. (WALA)- As scouts from all 32 NFL teams looked on. Forty of the top HBCU athletes took part in the first-ever HBCU Combine

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so got to make the best of the opportunity,” said Alabama A&M’s Dee Anderson.

“It’s a blessing to be a part of this opportunity,” said Ezra Gray from Alabama State.

Players ran the same drills as the main combine in Indianapolis including the 40-yard dash. Bench Press and of course position drills.

“I was in and out of my breaks, did everything that was expected of me,” said Anderson.

The cold weather was also a challenge.

“Came out here and it was like 32 degrees from the jump so yeah I didn’t expect it to be this cold,” added Anderson.

But the athletes used it as an opportunity to show scouts they could play through anything.

“It’s a big opportunity to show teams like Green Bay and Buffalo what type of players they can expect in cold environments like this. Are you going to fold under the pressure? You’re either going to barbecue or mildew,” said Gray.

The HBCU Combine was all about leveling the playing field and showing off the hidden talent at HBCUs. Including Mobile’s own Jerry Garner.

“It meant everything. It meant everything to me. The first one from my city, the first one from my college to be invited to the first-ever HBCU Combine,” said Garner. It’s amazing I’m a part of history. My name is forever set in stone at my school and in the NFL world.”

The former Davidson Warrior had one of the best days of the combine. Separating himself during the linebacker drills.

“Today I wanted to let God work through me and give Him the glory because without him I wouldn’t be here,” added Garner.

Now with this historic day behind them, it’s back to work for the players as the path to the draft continues

Some of these players will take part in the HBCU Legacy Bowl in New Orleans next month. After that, it’s onto pro days then the NFL Draft in April.