How honest should a coach, particularly an HBCU football coach, be about the reality of how their program might be viewed?
Alabama A&M offensive coordinator Duane Taylor took to Twitter to suggest that high school football players use HBCUs as a stepping stone to be recruited by Power Five schools.
“HS players & Coaches: View the landscape of college football and the transfer portal,” Taylor wrote on Twitter. “Come to an HBCU, get EXCELLENT coaching, developed and then maybe you can transfer up. These P5 are coming to HBCU’s (D1/ D2) daily for our players! You could be the next one!”
The response to the now-deleted message was mixed. Many saw the message as encouraging high school talent to only use HBCU football programs as a means to an end to live out their FBS dreams. Others saw it as the honest truth in the era of the transfer portal.
In a vacuum, Taylor might be right. The transfer portal has created a situation where HBCU football players are targeted by FBS schools, as evidenced by more than a dozen Jackson State football players transferring to Colorado to follow Deion Sanders. More recently, Bhayshul Tuten, who played at North Carolina A&T, transferred to Virginia Tech. Other HBCU players — at the Division I and Division II levels — have drawn interest from FBS schools.
HBCUs were once considered the land of second chances for athletes exiled from major college programs. So, why not get ahead of it and be a school of auditions?
And it’s not like HBCUs haven’t worked the transfer portal to help supplement rosters and pick up talent that ultimately contributes to winning. Quarterback Jeremy Moussa, who previously played at Vanderbilt, led Florida A&M to its first SWAC championship and a trip to the Celebration Bowl.
While some might be turned off by Taylor’s tweet, the transfer portal has reshaped how football programs approach recruiting.