This year, Optimum Scouting is working with a new college all-star game: the HBCU Spirit of America Bowl. Preliminary invites have been sent out to the top players at HBCU schools (primarily the MEAC, SWAC, CIAA and SIAC conferences) and NFL/CFL teams are eagerly awaiting to see the final rosters.
In an effort to promote HBCU programs further, especially the seniors on NFL radars, we’ll be featuring one player from each of the HBCU conferences each week.
MEAC – Aris Scott, WR, Delaware State
The 6’2 receiver from Harrisburg, PA was a standout quarterback at Central Dauphin East high school before transitioning to receiver at his prep school and eventually at Delaware State. Scott, who has arguably been the Hornets’ best receiver this year, has seen his production limited thanks to a run-heavy offense the Hornets employ. Averaging just three catches and 30 yards per game, Scott hasn’t had the opportunity to be overly featured the last two years.
But with 6’2, 225+ size and potentially sub-4.5 speed, Scott meets the measurable threshold for NFL teams to consider a small school receiver regardless of college production, and the post-season work of Scott, which will start in just two weeks, will be crucial for his NFL aspirations..
SWAC – Javancy Jones, DE, Jackson State
One of the FCS’s tackle for loss leaders (along with junior teammate Keontre Anderson), Jones has thrived as a speed rusher this year, utilizing active hands, quick lateral exchanges and finishes in the run game on the perimeter. Though a bit undersized for an NFL defensive end and, for some schemes, a 3-4 outside linebacker (measured at just 6’1, 235 pounds), his activeness and clear production has NFL teams excited to see him up close after the season.
Jones has overcome plenty off the field during his career, and his resilience and constant improvement over the last two years hasn’t gone unnoticed by NFL teams. Despite being undersized for an obvious NFL position, Jones’s production, activeness, and finishing ability has the speed rusher in the mix for an NFL opportunity, but he’ll need to continue to build off a strong senior campaign during the draft process.
CIAA – Paulin Miano, DE, Virginia Union
The 6’4 senior finished with 11 sacks and 25 tackles for a loss a season ago, and his combination of size (6’4, 266 pounds), length (34 inch arms), and production put him firmly on NFL radars. While his production has seen a drop this year (just one sack), he’s seen ample attention from opposing offenses to dodge the impact of Miano week to week.
His size, length and likely athletic testing numbers alone, including a potential sub-5.0 forty time, have NFL teams intrigued since before the season, and he’ll need to make up for a lack-of-production senior year to assure himself of an NFL opportunity.
SIAC – Javoris Wilburn, OT, Albany State
One of two Albany State lineman firmly on NFL radars (the other being defensive tackle Grover Stewart), Wilburn is a 6’4, 310+ offensive lineman who wows NFL scouts with nearly 35 inch arms and a powerful punch. A three-year starter and all-conference standout at offensive tackle, Wilburn has proven to be one of Division II’s best offensive tackles, especially in the run game, over his career.
With the next step in mind, Wilburn will need to show he’s a plus athlete along with his awesome strength and physical nature, especially when working as a run blocker. He’s been a part of an Albany State program that has had Division II and future pro player success, and while he still has plenty to prove as his college career begins to wrap up, he’s been put in a position to succeed for the next step of his college career.