By Avery Jacobs/ BNC Digital Contributor
With sporting events being cancelled nation-wide, nothing seems too surprising anymore.
After such ecstatic news that the NFL would be hosting an HBCU Combine that would spotlight smaller schools, well, let’s just say it seems as though their back at square one again.
The NFL has announced that the HBCU Combine, the first of its kind, is officially canceled. This opportunity was for athletes who were never granted the opportunity to showcase their skills during the regular Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Ryan Stanley of Florida A&M University was hoping to be one of those athletes to show off his talent at the combine at the Dolphins training facility in Miami
Stanley undoubtedly put Florida A&M on the map this past season throwing for 2,566 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and reeling the Rattlers to a perfect 7-0 MEAC record and a 9-2 overall record that gave the program its first national ranking since 2009.
The Florida native was also the top passer in the MEAC, honored with a First Team All-MEAC selection, winner of the Walter Payton award along with the Black College Football player of the year award, so having his dreams be put on hold left him in disbelief.
“I was disappointed when I found out that the HBCU Combine was cancelled, but I don’t really let too much stuff get to me,” Stanley said by phone. “I only worry about things that I can control so it is, what it is. A lot of kids are in the same position as me right now, so I can’t complain, I just have to accept it and keep working.”
The days where it didn’t matter what school you attended your talent would somehow still be found – well, for many HBCU programs those days seem to no longer exist.
For somebody like Stanley, who is 6-3 and 210 pounds, there’s a huge disadvantage coming from a small conference dominated by only two or three teams, not to mention, he’s not throwing 4,000 yards every season, so there’s a huge drop with scouts attending games
“The HBCU Combine was going to be great for a lot of lower level division one schools. While you love to play for historically black colleges, it does come with a risk and that risk is always national attention.”
“Even when your team is excelling on a high level, you still may never see scouts. But just being on that list of names attending the combine, should give some scouts a good group of guys to check on and watch our tapes,”Stanely stated.
Stanley left the Rattlers as the all-time career leader in touchdowns (67), pass attempts (1,187), passing yards (8,424) and completions (636). Also ranking as the first in MEAC history in pass attempts and second pass completions and total passing yards.
There were 52 guys among the list who received invitations to the HBCU Combine. Out of the 52 only three of them were from Florida schools and majority of those players come from the MEAC or SWAC conferences; so, this combine was much needed.
Stanley, who is back in his hometown of Pembroke Pines, Fla. said that he’s been training his body every day in case the opportunity presents itself again
“In the mean time I’ve been working on my body weight and working out with dumb bells that I have at hope. I’ve also bee training my body with a with a jump rope, just stuff I can do on my own since gyms and fields have been closed.”