By Donal Ware
College Sports Journal
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — South Carolina State safety Christian Thompson was the only player from an HBCU taken in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Thompson was taken in the fourth round — 130th overall — by the Baltimore Ravens.
“This can’t be real,” said Thompson when asked about his initial reaction to being drafted. “One of my favorites teams was calling me and there was a possibility they were going to be drafting me."
It was an unforgettable experience for the MEAC star.
“When I saw my name come across that screen, I was ecstatic. I really didn’t know what to say or what to do.”
What makes being drafted by the Ravens more special is the fact that Thompson was a huge fan growing up of Ravens free safety and future Hall of Famer Ed Reed.
Prior to the draft Thompson had a chance meeting with Reed through his agent. Thompson’s agent works with some financial advisors that Reed works with and set up a meeting between the two.
“Once I met him in person we stayed in contact and shot each other a couple of text every now and then,” said Thompson. “[Growing up in North Lauderdale and cheering for University of Miami] He and Sean Taylor were my favorite players.”
Thompson reports to Ravens rookie minicamp on May 10.
It was a surprise that Thompson was the only HBCU player taken.
In most people's estimation, Bethune-Cookman defensive end Ryan Davis was one of the best players in all of Black College Football and after his pro day performance as well as the pro day performance he put on as an invitee to the University of Miami camp, he was projected to be anywhere from a third-to-fifth-round pick.
Three days of rounds passed and Davis’ name did not pass across the screen.
“I expected to be drafted, but that’s the way it goes,” Davis said.
Davis, a native of Tampa, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There were at least four legitimate potential draftees including Thompson and Davis, Prairie View defensive end Adrian Hamilton, the Boxtorow Willie Davis National Defensive Player of the Year who registered 20.5 sacks this year, and Hampton’s Micah Pellerin who along with Thompson was the only other HBCU player invited to the NFL combine.
Hamilton was also the College Sports Journal's first FCS defensive player player of the year.
Grambling wide receiver Mario Louis, who head coach and Grambling legend Doug Williams called the best NFL prospect he has ever coached (that is saying something because Williams coached former Lions fifth-round draft choice Scotty Anderson), could have been drafted had he played previous to his senior season.
South Carolina State defensive back Dominique Ellis also had a chance to be drafted.
Typically punters aren’t drafted, so for Fort Valley State’s Marquette King, signing a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders, is like being drafted.
Who knows, King could become the next Ray Guy.
All of the aforementioned players have signed contracts and so have these players:
- Bethune-Cookman’s Ryan Davis (Jaguars)*
- Fort Valley State’s Marquette King (Raiders)*
- Hampton’s Micha Micah Pellerin (Colts)
- South Carolina State’s Dominique Ellis (Chiefs)*
- South Carolina State’s Donovan Richard (Jaguars)
- Grambling’s Mario Louis (Texans)*
- Prairie View A&M’s Adrian Hamilton (Cowboys)**
- Morgan State’s Lamont Bryant (Ravens)
- Jackson State’s Casey Therriault (Falcons)***
- Jackson State’s Donovan Robinson (Jets)
- Florida A&M’s Kevin Elliott (Jaguars)
- Tennessee State’s Rico Council (Falcons)*
- Tennessee State’s Donte’e Nicholls (Buccaneers)
- Tennessee State’s Joseph Wylie (Dolphins)
- Bowie State’s Delano Johnson (Texans)
- Winston-Salem State’s Nic Cooper (Packers)*
- Howard’s Willie Carter (Redskins)
- Tuskegee’s DeMario Pippen (Broncos)
- LaQuinton Evans (Titans)
- Bethune-Cookman’s Jean Fanor (Chiefs)
- Southern’s Jared Green (Panthers)
*2011 Boxtorow All-American
**2011 Boxtorow Willie Davis National Defensive Player of the Year
***2011 Boxtorow National Offensive Player of the Year