Mobile natives bring HBCU Pigskin Showdown to the port city

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 4:46 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Over the last decade, the number of HBCU players selected in the NFL Draft has dwindled. The reason, some say, was a lack of exposure.

Three years ago, Chris Williams and Bryant Grove came up with the HBCU Pigskin Showdown to create more exposure for the players not only to NFL scouts but other leagues as well.

“When kids left these games there’s two comments we got,” said Bryant Grove, director of operations and co-founder of the HBCU Pigskin Showdown. “Either thank you I’m grateful for the opportunity or four years I was at a university I never talked to a scout. Let alone coming to your event and sitting across the table from one that had an interest in me.”

For the last two years, the showdown has been played in Selma but now the game is set to make its debut in Mobile at the end of the year.

Executive Director and co-founder Chris Williams says they’ve averaged about 20 NFL teams that come to their game. He hopes that bringing the game to mobile will bring even more.

“When I tell my friends in the NFL that we’re coming to Mobile I have gotten a congratulations every time I tell them that,” said Williams. “The reason they say that is because they understand what scouting has meant to the NFL.”

Eighty-four players and two full HBCU coaching staffs will take the field at Ladd this December. Not only is it about bringing more exposure to the players. For Williams and Grove, it’s about bringing this game back to their hometown of Mobile.

“It means everything to come back to this particular stadium,” added Williams. “To be here and be able to fulfill some people’s dreams that means everything to us.”

They say local kids in this area are going to get unique experiences from this game as well.

“They need to have kids talking back to them saying hey I had a rough road or no I didn’t,” said Grove. “Kids in the community are going to get to talk to players. They are going to get to interact with players during the game.”

The HBCU Pigskin Showdown kicks off at noon on Dec. 30.