This season, another HBCU player will be added to the Black College Football Player of the Year award lineage.
While there is a presumed favorite to win the 2022 award, that does not mean there are not worthy candidates that deserve to be in the discussion.
HBCU Sports breaks down our top candidates for the Black College Football Player award at the Division I level.
Xavier Smith WR, Florida A&M
Rather than playing in the first annual HBCU Legacy Bowl, Florida A&M receiver Xavier Smith opted to return to the Rattlers for one more season and it has paid dividends.
The fifth-year player is leading the SWAC in total receptions (43) and receiving touchdowns (6) while ranking second in receiving yards per game (89.2).
Smith has posted at least eight receptions and 70 receiving yards in four of five games. His last performance against Mississippi Valley State secured his place on this list as he finished with 13 receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Not only is he dangerous as a receiver, but he is also active in the return game, tallying 116 yards on kickoff returns.
Khalil Baker DB, North Carolina Central
If there is any HBCU defender who has a chance of taking home the Deacon Jones trophy it would be Baker.
The junior defensive back played a major role in his team beginning the year 4-1, its best start to a season since 2007. Baker has been a ball hawk for the Eagles recording an interception in each of his first four games.
In addition to leading the country in interceptions, he has also tallied 24 total tackles (14 solo) and a pass breakup.
Bhayshul Tuten RB, North Carolina A&T
North Carolina A&T has, for a long time, been a factory for great running backs with players such as Tarik Cohen and Jah-Maine Martin each having defining seasons for the Aggies.
That streak continues as sophomore running back Bhayshul Tuten makes his mark in his first full season as the team’s starter.
Tuten leads the Big South across every category in rushing. He has 534 total rushing yards and is averaging 106.8 rushing yards per game to go along four rushing touchdowns.
He has recorded three-straight 100-rushing yard games, including 140 rushing yards on 12 attempts in NC A&T’s first win of the season against South Carolina State.
Jarveon Howard RB, Alcorn State
Alcorn State running back Jarveon Howard is making a great case for the SWAC Newcomer of the Year award after shredding opposing defenses on the ground.
The Syracuse transfer ranks third in the country in rushing yards per game (142.8) and total rushing yards (571) in addition to being tied for ninth in rushing touchdowns (6).
Howard made his presence felt immediately recording 199 rushing yards on 21 attempts and a touchdown in the Braves season debut against Stephen F. Austin.
In the team’s most recent outing against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Howard had yet another big game putting up 299 rushing yards and scoring four touchdowns.
Shedeur Sanders QB, Jackson State
Arguably the leader in the clubhouse for the Black College Football Player of the Year award, Sanders has a chance to make history by becoming the first sophomore to win the honor.
Sanders is the only HBCU quarterback with over 1,300 passing yards, at least 10 passing touchdowns, and a completion percentage over 70%.
It also helps that Jackson State holds a perfect 4-0 record, including three conference wins by an average margin of 46.3 points.
Not only is Sanders in contention for the Black College Football Player of the Year, but he is will be a serious candidate to win the Walter Payton Award as well.