Former HBCU Football Players Selected for Active NFL Rosters Or Signed To Practice Squads

Several HBCU football players saw their NFL dreams stay alive as they were claimed off waivers Wednesday by NFL teams and added to active gameday rosters or signed to practice squads.

FAMU defensive end Isaiah Land, who won the 2021 Buck Buchanan Award, was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys hours after the 2023 NFL Draft ended. The HBCU pass rush specialist spent the entire NFL training camp and preseason with the Cowboys but was cut Monday, hoping they could sign him to their practice squad.

However, Land turned some heads during the preseason with his pass rush abilities and was claimed off waivers by the Indianapolis Colts. The move guarantees his $95,000 base salary and ensures he will suit up weekly as part of the Colts 53-man gameday roster.

Cowboys fans were unhappy to see the HBCU product go to the Colts as they expected the Cowboys to put him on their active roster to keep other teams from claiming him.

Alcorn State linebacker Claudin Cherelus spent training camp with the New York Jets but didn’t see much action due to an injury and was cut. The 6’2 HBCU linebacker showed solid speed and tackling ability in the Hall Of Fame Game against the Cleveland Browns in August and was claimed by the Carolina Panthers, who have a young but spirited team this season.

South Carolina State receiver Shaquan Davis didn’t make the New Orleans Saints active roster, but his NFL dreams are still alive after they signed the HBCU athlete to their practice squad. Davis led the MEAC last season with 36 receptions for 738 yards and eight touchdowns, showing a habit for dramatic catches.

Other HBCU players in the league include Cowboys safety and FAMU product Markquese Bell, Houston Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard, who played at Alabama State, and Arkansas Pine Bluff punter Jamie Guillan, who is on the New York Giants.