Tribune Sports Reporter Donald Hunt assembles the all-time Black college football team.
Doug Williams, Quarterback, Grambling State (1974-78)
In 1978, Williams was named first team All-American. He threw for 8,411 yards in his college career. In 1988, he led the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI.
Walter Payton, Running Back, Jackson State (1971-75)
Payton had a great college career, gaining 3,563 yards. He was a terrific running back for the Chicago Bears. The Hall of Famer ran for 16,726 yards in his NFL career.
Leroy Kelly, Running Back, Morgan State (1960-64)
Kelly was a brilliant running back for Morgan State. He could run inside and outside. Kelly played most of his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Bob Hayes, Wide Receiver, Florida A&M (1960-64)
Hayes was an Olympic champion sprinter. He was regarded as the “World’s Fastest Human.” He had a great career as a wide receiver. He was a big-time player with the Dallas Cowboys. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jerry Rice, Wide Receiver, Mississippi Valley State (1981-85)
Rice was a prolific wide receiver in Mississippi Valley State’s high-scoring offense. As a senior, he had 100 receptions for 1,845 yards and 28 touchdowns. Rice, a Hall of Famer, was a sensational wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers.
Shannon Sharpe, Tight End, Savannah State (1987-90)
Sharpe played some great football at Savannah State. He earned All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors three straight years. Sharpe, a 1990 seventh-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, had a tremendous NFL career. The Hall of Fame tight end caught 815 passes for 10,060 yards and 62 TDs. He also won Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens.
Jackie Slater, Tackle, Jackson State (1972-76)
Slater was an outstanding blocker. He was a three-time All-Southwestern Athletic Conference selection. He was a teammate of running back Walter Payton at Jackson State. The Hall of Fame offensive tackle played 20 years in the NFL with the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams.
Rayfield Wright, Guard, Fort Valley State (1963-67)
Wright was a great run and pass blocker. In 1967, the Dallas Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round. The Hall of Fame offensive lineman was a magnificent player with the Cowboys.
Woody Peoples, Center, Grambling State (1964-68)
Peoples played for legendary head coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State. He played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles in his pro career. He was on the 1981 Philadelphia Eagles team that played in the Super Bowl.
Art Shell, Tackle, Maryland State (now Maryland Eastern Shore) (1964-68)
Shell was a very talented football player. He was an offensive and defensive lineman in college. He and Gene Upshaw were a fantastic blocking combination with the Oakland Raiders. Shell, a Hall of Famer, was also the first Black head coach in the NFL of the modern era. In 1989, he was named head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders.
Larry Little, Guard, Bethune-Cookman (1964-68)
Little had great strength and footwork. He was a classic pulling guard. The Hall of Famer played for the Miami Dolphins. He played on the 1972 Dolphins team that posted a 17-0 overall record.
Michael Strahan, Defensive Lineman, Texas Southern (1989-92)
In 1992, Strahan was named the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year. He holds the school record for 41.5 career sacks. He was a second-round draft pick of the New York Giants. He has 141.5 career sacks. He helped the Giants win a Super Bowl in 2007. Strahan is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Deacon Jones, Defensive Lineman, South Carolina State/Mississippi Vocational (1958-60)
Jones was a tremendous pass rusher. Jones had a number of sacks in his NFL career. Unfortunately, sacks weren’t an official statistic when he played. Jones is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Buck Buchanan, Defensive Lineman, Grambling State (1959-63)
Buchanan had a great ability to get to the quarterback. He was a fabulous all-around defensive player. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963-75. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Defensive Lineman, Tennessee State (1970-74)
Jones was a 6-foot-9 pass rusher with great quickness and length. He was the No. 1 pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1974 NFL Draft. The three-time Pro Bowler played 15 seasons in the NFL.
Willie Lanier, Linebacker, Morgan State (1963-67)
Lanier was a small college All-American. He was a great open field tackler. He was a terrific linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs. Lanier is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Robert Brazile, Linebacker, Jackson State (1967-71)
Brazile was a teammate of Walter Payton’s at Jackson State. As a linebacker, he covered a lot of ground. He was a great tackler. Brazile was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.
Isiah Robertson, Linebacker, Southern University (1967-71)
Robertson had a tremendous senior year with 112 total tackles. In 1971, he was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams. He was named Rookie of the Year. Robertson played for the Rams and the Buffalo Bills. He was also named to six Pro Bowls in his NFL career.
Aeneas Williams, Defensive Back, Southern University (1987-91)
Williams played just two seasons of college football. However, he was a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 1991 NFL Draft. Williams played for the Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Willie Brown, Defensive Back, Grambling State (1959-63)
Brown led Grambling State to coach Eddie Robinson’s first SWAC title in 1960. Despite not being drafted, he played 16 years with the Oakland Raiders. He finished his career with 54 interceptions. Brown played on two Super Bowl championship teams. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Mel Blount, Defensive Back, Southern University (1966-70)
Blount was a two-time All-SWAC selection in college. As a junior, he was named MVP of the conference. In 1970, he was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He won four Super Bowl championships with the Steelers. He had 57 career interceptions. Blount is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Johnny Sample, Defensive Back, Maryland State (now Maryland Eastern Shore) (1954-58)
Sample led Maryland State to two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships. He was the first player from an HBCU to be selected to play in the College All-Star Game. He is the only player to win an NFL, AFL and Super Bowl title.
Greg Coleman, Punter, Florida A&M (1972-76)
Coleman was a spectacular punter with the ability to punt the ball long and far. He played 12 years in the NFL. Ten of those years were with the Minnesota Vikings.
Cedric Oglesby, Kicker, South Carolina State (1996-2000)
Oglesby was one of the leading placekickers in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He was one of the league’s most accurate kickers.
Alvin Haymond, Kick Returner, Southern University (1960-64)
Haymond was an exciting kick returner. He had great speed and moves in the open field.
John Taylor, Punt Returner, Delaware State (1982-86)
Taylor was fantastic wide receiver in college as well as the NFL. He could also change the game with a big-time punt return.
Eddie Robinson, Head Coach, Grambling State (1941-97)
Robinson compiled an impressive 408-165-15 overall record in his career. He was the head coach at Grambling State for 56 years and sent several players to the NFL.