HBCU Football: Which Players in the UFL are from HBCU's?

The 2024 UFL Season will kick off on March 30th and after the merger between the XFL and the USFL, the league is furnished with talented players. However, how many of those players came from an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)?

New Orleans Breakers v Birmingham Stallions
New Orleans Breakers v Birmingham Stallions / Justin Casterline/USFL/GettyImages

The United Football League will kickstart its inaugural season at the end of March after the merger of the XFL and the USFL in December 2023. The brand-new league is brimmed with elite talent which raises the question, which players played collegiate football at an HBCU?

When the XFL and the USFL merged, it became one league that consists of eight teams that were previously members of the USFL and XFL, respectively. The teams are split into two conferences, as the USFL conference features the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Roughnecks, Memphis Showboats, and the Michigan Panthers. The XFL conference features the Arlington Renegades, DC Defenders, San Antonio Brahmas, and the St. Louis Battlehawks.

1. Chidi Okeke, OL, DC Defenders, Tennessee State

Chidi Okeke
Kansas City Chiefs v Green Bay Packers / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Chidi Okeke hails from Anambra, Nigeria and stands at 6-foot-6, 315Ibs and is a force on the offensive line. Okeke played collegiate football at LSU and then transferred to Tennessee State in 2017. The 315-pounder went undrafted in 2019 but spent time in the NFL (only offseason), XFL (started six games), and the USFL (started in ten games). Okeke was drafted in the fourth round of the 2024 UFL dispersal draft to the DC Defenders back in January.

2. Kemari Averett, TE, St. Louis Battlehawks, Bethune-Cookman

Kemari Averett
Bethune-Cookman v UCF / Alex Menendez/GettyImages

Kemari Averett played collegiate football at Louisville ('17-'19) and then took his talents to Bethune-Cookman ('22-'23) in Daytona Beach, Florida. Averett's best statistical season came in 2021, when he garnered 51 receptions, 876 receptions yards along with 10 touchdowns. The former Wildcat will catch passes for the St. Louis Battlehawks as the first UFL season gets underway.

3. Justin Smith, WR, San Antonio Brahmas, Norfolk State University

Wideout Justin Smith spent his collegiate career at Norfolk State University, as he accumulated 98 catches for 1,655 receptions yards and 15 touchdowns throughout his tenure. Smith finished his career at Norfolk State ranked in the top ten in touchdown catches, receptions, and reception yards in school history. The former Spartans pass catcher formerly played for the Houston Roughnecks (9 games) and tallied 16 catches for 238 yards in 2023. Smith aims to take a leap in the 2024 season.

4. Mac McCain III, CB, San Antonio Brahmas, North Carolina A&T

Mac McCain III
New York Jets v Philadelphia Eagles / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Mac McCain III played college football at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina. As a freshman, McCain tallied six interceptions and garnered 50 tackles which was top-2 amongst the defense. The former Aggie went undrafted in 2021, but had a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles and made his NFL debut in week 3 of that same season (primarily special teams). McCain was eventually cut prior to the conclusion of the season and never found a home with another NFL team. McCain now has a fresh start with the Brahmas heading into 2024.

5. Brycen Alleyne, RB, San Antonio Brahmas, Delaware State

Brycen Alleyne
Fan Controlled Football Season v2.0 - Week Seven / Jonathan Bachman/Fan Controlled Football/GettyImages

Halfback Brycen Alleyne played for the Delaware State Hornets for four seasons and played 41 total games but started 27. Alleyne accumulated 1,710 rush yards, 11 touchdowns, and averaged 4 yards per carry across his tenure at the HBCU. As a professional, the former Hornet played for the Houston Roughnecks in 2023 (no starts) and averaged 4.4 yards per carry on 43 carries that tallied up to 193 yards on the ground. As the 2024 season approaches, Alleyne looks to make a bigger impact compared to last season in San Antonio.

6. Chris Rowland, WR, DC Defenders, Tennessee State

Chris Rowland
USFL Portraits - Philadelphia Stars / Fox Sports/USFL/GettyImages

Wideout Chris Rowland had an impressive season at Tennessee State in 2019. Rowland was the only player in Division 1 to have a kick return for a touchdown, a punt return resulting in a touchdown, a touchdown catch, and a rushing touchdown. Rowland earned the coveted Deacon Jones trophy, which is given to the best overall player amongst HBCU teams. The former Tiger went undrafted in the 2020 draft and never saw in-game action despite being signed by the Atlanta Falcons and the Tennessee Titans. Rowland was drafted by the DC Defenders in the dispersal draft back in January.

7. Jalen Morton, QB, Prairie View A&M & Alex Taylor-Prioleau, OL, South Carolina State, Birmingham Stallions

Jalen Morton
Jalen Morton / Alex Slitz/USFL/GettyImages

Jalen Morton and Alex Taylor-Prioleau both played college football at HBCU's and have now found themselves on the Birmingham Stallions of the UFL. Morton played college football at Prarie View A&M in Prarie View, Texas and went undrafted in the 2020 draft. Morton played for the Hamilton Wild-Cats of the Canadian Football League for two seasons ('21-'22), but rarely saw in-game action. As for Taylor, he had a solid career while at South Carolina State. In 2018 and 2019, Taylor was named to the first-team and second-team All-MEAC team, respectively. Taylor went undrafted in the 2020 draft and never found his footing in the NFL. Now, both Morton and Taylor have the chance to rewrite their stories in the UFL.

8. Cory Rahman, DB, Michigan Panthers, Tennessee State

Cory Rahman
Michigan Panthers v New Jersey Generals / Ron Schwane/USFL/GettyImages

Cory Rahman, who spent his college days at Tennessee State, tallied 65 tackles, two interceptions, and one sack during his senior season in 2021. In 2022, Rahman joined the Panthers and tallied 15 total tackles. In 2023, Rahman made only one start for the Panthers after having suffered an injury that placed him on Injured Reserve. What can UFL fans expect to see from Rahman in 2024?

9. Dee Anderson, WR, Memphis Showboats, Alabama A&M

Dee Anderson
New Orleans Breakers v Birmingham Stallions / Justin Casterline/USFL/GettyImages

At 6-foot-6, wideout Dee Anderson is a force that is dangerous for any defensive back, especially if he goes vertical. Anderson played college football at Alabama A&M (transffered from Oklahoma State) and posted 493 reception yards, 12 touchdowns with 33 catches in 2021. Anderson was a member of the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL in 2023, but the team was disbanded due to the merger. Anderson had 174 reception yards and two touchdowns for the Breakers last season. The 6-foot-6 wideout will now aim to make splash for the Showboats of Memphis.

10. Ezra Gray, RB, Alabama State & Brandon Haskin, OL, Tenn St State & Robert Myers, OL, Tenn St, Houston Roughnecks

Gray, Haskin, and Myers all played college football at HBCU's and their paths came together in Houston. Gray had a prolific career at Alabama State and was solid as a rusher and a pass catcher. The former Hornet had three seasons with over 100 carries on the ground. In 2019, Gray had 104 reception yards with ten catches along with 157 carries that tallied up to 654 rushing yards. Myers was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2015 NFL draft. Unfortunately, Baltimore didn't work out and Myers struggled to find a home in the NFL. Myers was drafted by the Roughnecks in the disperal draft. Haskin, also from Tennessee State, is still looking to be competitive at age 34. The 315-pounder played for the USFL's New Jersey Generals (disbanded due to merger) in 2023 and started in six games.

11. Jai Nunn-Liddell, DB, Kentucky State & Rodell Rahmaan, TE, Tennessee State, Houston Roughnecks

Rodell Rahmaan
Rodell Rahmaan / Fox Sports/USFL/GettyImages

Jai Nunn-Liddell had a highly productive senior season with Kentucky State, as he tallied 16 tackles, seven passes defended, and an interception in 9 games played in 2022. Nunn-Liddell is extremely athletic and his talents will be on full display in the UFL. As for Rodell Rahmaan, he stands at 6-foot-3, 230Ibs and also played linebacker while at Tennessee State. Rahmaan tallied 30 receptions for 490 yards along with six touchdowns in 2021. Rahmaan has the physical attributes to be a strong contributor for the Roughnecks in 2024.