Deion Sanders ‘ashamed’ of NFL after only one HBCU participant picked
Former Jackson State coach Deion Sanders tweeted Saturday that he is “ashamed” of 31 NFL teams after Isaiah Bolden was the lone HBCU player drafted this year.
Bolden, a cornerback and returner for Jackson State, was selected by the New England Patriots in the seventh round (245th overall) on Saturday.
Sanders, now the coach at Colorado, took to Twitter to congratulate his former player and to admonish the NFL for passing on other HBCU players.
So proud is you @isaiahbolden23 You deserved to be drafted much higher but I’m truly proud of u. I know how much u want this. I’m ashamed of the 31 other @nfl teams that couldn’t find draft value in ALL of the talented HBCU players & we had 3 more draft worthy players at JSU. pic.twitter.com/BfEm3zIGPH
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) April 30, 2023
“So proud is you @isaiahbolden23 You deserved to be drafted much higher but I’m truly proud of u,” he wrote. “I know how much u want this. I’m ashamed of the 31 other @nfl teams that couldn’t find draft value in ALL of the talented HBCU players & we had 3 more draft worthy players at JSU.”
Four HBCU players were selected in last year’s NFL draft.
Bolden, who has one year of starting experience at cornerback and led the FCS in kick return average in 2021 with a 36.9-yard average, followed through on his goal of shining a spotlight on HBCU players.
Bolden is the second Jackson State player who played under Sanders to be drafted. The other was linebacker James Houston, who was selected by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round last year and went on to become just the third player — since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 — to record at least one sack in each of his first four career games (Terrell Suggs and Santana Dotson were the others).
With Houston and Bolden, Jackson State had a player drafted in consecutive years for the first time since 1997 and ’98.
The NFL started a combine for HBCU players in 2020, although the first year it was held was 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, 47 players took part in the event, which was attended by all 32 teams. This year, the combine was hosted by the HBCU Legacy Bowl, a postseason all-star game to showcase HBCU players.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.