The Black College Football Hall of Fame stirred controversy over the weekend when the organization announced former Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders as the Deacon Jones Trophy recipient, the top HBCU football player for 2022.
The former Tigers quarterback is without a doubt worthy of the distinction after leading Jackson State to their first-ever undefeated regular season and their second straight SWAC championship.
Not only that, but Sanders put up spectacular numbers in the regular season leading the SWAC in passing yards (3,083), passing touchdowns (32), and completion percentage (70%). In addition, he also scored five rushing touchdowns.
He played even better in the postseason, finishing with a combined 669 passing yards on 72% passing and nine total touchdowns in the SWAC Championship Game and Celebration Bowl, respectively.
But Sanders wasn’t the only HBCU quarterback who was thought to be worthy of the award.
North Carolina Central quarterback Davius Richard gained enormous support online from social media users who believed he should have received the honor.
Not Davius Richard??? #NCCU #MEAC #HBCUs https://t.co/36lGQu57Nv pic.twitter.com/yW5wh5lYs4
— yardtalkhbcu (@yardtalkhbcu) February 25, 2023
Man FOH!! @DaviusRichard was the best player in HBCU ball, in the best conference. Oh and btw we beat them in the chip! https://t.co/9bZBgrO6ez
— Jessie Malit (@malitjessie) February 25, 2023
Congrats to that young fella.
Davius Richard is the best Dual Threat QB in the country & a National Champ. We ain’t trippin’.
Watch what we do next season too. #EaglePride 🦅🦅🦅🦅 https://t.co/6Iy4D0gHep
— HBCU Nightly (@HBCUNightly) February 26, 2023
Richard staked his claim as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, leading the MEAC in passing touchdowns (24) and rushing touchdowns (13) in the regular season.
He led the Eagles to the MEAC title for the first time since 2016 and victory in the Celebration Bowl over Sanders and Jackson State.
In the Celebration Bowl, Richard was named the Offensive MVP after finishing with 175 passing yards and a touchdown pass. He also rushed for 97 yards on 22 attempts and scored two rushing touchdowns.
At the end of the day, it is a close debate as both players were truly deserving of the award. Both Sanders and Richard put up fantastic numbers and led their teams to historical seasons.
While Sanders put up better numbers in the passing game, Richard was arguably the best passer and rusher in the MEAC. Not to mention Richard has a head-to-head victory over Sanders and Jackson State to his credit.
Although Sanders is no longer in the HBCU space, Richard has a chance to further reinforce his claim as being the best player in HBCU football this fall.
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