The six new inductees into the Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) have a definite Mississippi flavor. Like the blues and catfish, this class is Mississippi through and through.
Making the class are two Braves from The Reservation at Alcorn State in Jimmie Giles and Roynell Young. Jackson State wasn’t left out either, with the late Coy Bacon making the class.
All three will soon have a permanent home at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, where the BCFHOF will be housed.
Only one of the three is a native of the Magnolia State, but all three were gridiron stars both in college and the NFL.
Bacon played at JSU in the 1960s and was undrafted out of college, where he was a dominant defensive lineman. After leaving Jackson State, he played briefly in the old Continental Football League (yall remember that?) before getting a tryout with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
He would later become a member of the renowned “Fearsome Foursome” of the Los Angeles Rams, where he was credited with an impressive 130 sacks in his career. A three-time Pro Bowler and three-time second-team All-Pro, Bacon is also a member of the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame in his native state. He died in 2008 at the age of 66.
Giles and Young briefly crossed paths at Alcorn State, with Giles being a senior when Young was a freshman. He went to ASU to play baseball and was discovered by Braves offensive coordinator O.C. Brown of the football team.
“He told me I could play at the next level at a time when I hadn’t really played at any level,” Giles said, laughing, during the induction teleconference.
The Greenville, Mississippi, native was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. Giles was initially drafted by the Houston Oilers but made his name with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a favorite target for Doug Williams. He was a four-time Pro Bowler for the Bucs and a member of the Bucs’ Ring of Honor. He was considered one of his era’s best tight ends, equally good at receiving and blocking.
Young, a native of New Orleans, played cornerback and safety for the Braves before heading to the NFL as a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in an era where SWAC teams played almost exclusively man-to-man coverage, and those skills were highly desirable in the NFL at the time.
Earning one Pro Bowl invitation as a member of the Eagles while finishing his career with 23 career interceptions, Giles also played in Super Bowl 15 against the Oakland raiders.
Young’s career after football has been rewarding also. In 2009, he founded “Pro-Vision,” a youth and community development organization in Houston.
These three halls of fame inductees show the depth of talent produced by the HBCU’s in Mississippi. And just like the blues and catfish, it is a staple and a way of life down in the Delta.