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NFL Draft 2024: HBCU Talent to Watch

The NFL, and the Seahawks, have a long history of finding talent at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Here are some HBCU standouts to keep an eye on in this year’s draft.

Grambling State defensive lineman Sundiata Anderson (9) runs during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Grambling State defensive lineman Sundiata Anderson (9) runs during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

From the franchise's inaugural 1976 draft class, the Seahawks have done their due diligence on evaluating talent across college football from all corners of the country and beyond. The Seahawks have selected 12 players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) all-time, and teams are wise to do their due diligence on HBCU players given that some of the greatest players in NFL history have come from those schools, including Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Deacon Jones, and in more recent years, stars like Steve McNair, Donald Driver, Robert Mathis and Shannon Sharpe. With that in mind, here are a handful of HBCU stars to keep an eye on in the 2024 NFL Draft process.

OT Anim Dankwah, Howard

Anim Dankwah, a 6-foot-8 offensive tackle from Howard, kicked off the month at the 2024 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, representing the school as the first Bison to receive an invite in a decade. The road to hearing his name called in the NFL draft has taken many winding turns since leaving his native Ghana at the age of 9 to live with his father, Yaw, in Ontario, Canada. The pre-teen would initially struggle to adjust in a new country, but his love for playing soccer would capture most of his attention as a pre-teen. But it was an introduction to the American game of football at St. Roch Secondary School would change Dankwah's life. Dankwah's growing body and ability to quickly adapt led him to the Taft School in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he'd finish up high school. After not receiving an offer, Dankwah would move even further away from his family, taking a shot and committing to Howard in Washington, DC.

After playing in eight contests in 2019 and after COVID-19 took away the 2020 season, Dankwah earned second-team All-MEAC honors in 2021. The Bison struggled through Dankwah's first three seasons with the team, before the athletic blindside protector helped Howard split the MEAC title with North Carolina Central in 2022. This season, Howard outright won the conference crown, falling short 30-26 to Florida A&M in the Celebration Bowl. Dankwah's physical prowess and improvement over the years didn't go unnoticed, as he accepted an invite and participated in the 2024 Shrine Bowl at left and right tackle in January.

Dankwah then opened the month in Indianapolis at the 2024 NFL Combine, tying for the sixth-longest wingspan (85 inches) amongst offensive linemen and impressing scouts in position drills. He now looks to become the Bison's first drafted player since Super Bowl XLI Champion and three-time Pro Bowl safety Antoine Bethea (2006).

CB Willie Drew, Virginia State

Smithfield, Virginia native Willie Drew committed to James Madison University out of high school in 2018, playing four games as a true freshman. After appearing in seven games while battling injuries the following season, Drew transferred to Virginia State University for a fresh start. After eight appearances as a sophomore, Drew returned in 2022 a better player. That year, he nabbed five interceptions in 10 games, earning All-CIAA honors. Drew would reestablish himself as a true ballhawk in 2023, grabbing another six interceptions. Along with his 11-combined picks in two seasons, Drew was credited with 34 pass breakups.

In February, Drew was one of two Division II defensive players to participate in the 2024 Reese's Senior Bowl, and joined Howard's Anim Dankwah earlier this month as the only two HBCU players selected to the 2024 NFL Combine.

The 6-foot, 190-pound corner ran a 4.46 official 40-time, along with posting the third-best 10-yard-split (1.49) of all cornerbacks.

CB Mychal (Mikey) Victor Jr., Alabama State

There arguably isn't an HBCU prospect that had a bigger year of ascension than Alabama State cornerback Mychal (Mikey) Victor. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound corner from Pomona, California briefly spent time at Ventura College and UNLV, before transferring to Alabama State in 2022. After recording 19 tackles, six pass breakups and his first-career interception that year, Victor recorded two interceptions and 15 pass breakups in 2023.

After shining at the Hula Bowl, Victor earned an invite to the Shrine Bowl in Texas. The lengthy corner stood out with his versatility in man and zone coverage, while making big tackles in the open field. Victor was named a finalist for the Aeneas Williams Award, after ranking second amongst all FCS defenders with 1.7 pass breakups per game.

On Tuesday, Victor was a special invite to participate in the University of Alabama's Pro Day, recording a 35.5 inch vertical and 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump. Victor's athletic genes run in the family, as his father, Michael, played basketball for Long Beach State and brother, Azeem, played linebacker at the University of Washington before spending time with the Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks practice squads.

DE Sundiata Anderson, Grambling

Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive end, looks to be the latest Grambling State Tiger to play in the NFL, after blossoming into one of the Southwestern Athletic Conference's (SWAC) most-dangerous pass rushers. The College Park, Georgia native played in five games as a true freshman (2018) before redshirting the following year. After playing just six games between the 2020-2021 seasons, Anderson earned First Team All-SWAC honors in 2022, following a career-high 7.0 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a blocked field goal attempt. He'd earn repeat first team honors in 2023, after recording 5.0 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and 60 combined tackles.

After receiving an invite to play in the 2024 Shrine Bowl in Frisco, Texas, Anderson showcased his pass rushing and run-stuffing abilities to the pleasure of many scouts and media in attendance. With a quick first step, high motor and a knack for finding his way in the backfield, Anderson is a name to watch.

QB Davius Richard, North Carolina Central

The last NFL quarterback drafted from an HBCU was late Seahawks Legend and 2006 Minnesota Vikings selection Tarvaris Jackson. North Carolina Central quarterback Davius Richard looks to break that decade-plus drought, after a standout career as a dual-threat weapon. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Belle Glade, Florida native became a starter as a true freshman in 2019, throwing for 12 touchdowns and rushing for another three across 11 games. After accounting for 23 touchdowns (15 passing, eight rushing) and earning Second Team All-MEAC honors as a sophomore in 2021, Richard took his game to another level as an upperclassman.

In 2022, Richard earned the 2022 MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, after completing 199-311 passes (64%) for 2,661 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing scores. Richard would go on to lead the 9-2 Eagles to a 41-34 Celebration Bowl victory over the Jackson State Tigers, earning MVP honors for his three-score performance. In 2023, Richard repeated as the MEAC OPOY, completing 166-273 passes (61%) for 2,177 yards, 21 passing touchdowns and 18 rushing scores. The two-time Walter Payton Award finalist became NCCU’s all-time total touchdowns (117) leader.

Following the season, Richard shined at the 2024 Hula Bowl and the 2024 HBCU Combine, before getting banged up in the 2024 HBCU Legacy Bowl.

With Richard back at work to get prepared for a potential opportunity, April's draft will show if he'll get a chance to make history.