Javon Hargrave named top HBCU player in NFL
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Javon Hargrave named top HBCU player in NFL

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WASHINGTON – Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Javon Hargrave - a former South Carolina State standout - has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the Black College Football Pro Player of the Year presented by the NFL Players Association.

The prestigious award is presented annually to the top professional football player who attended a historically black college or university.

Building on a breakout 2018 campaign, Hargrave continued his strong play this past season with four sacks, a forced fumble and a career-high 60 tackles, including seven tackles for loss.

The former Bulldog All-American has earned a reputation as a dependable, durable player and missed only one game in his four-year NFL career.

“It is a great honor and privilege to be named this year’s NFLPA Black College Football Pro Player of the Year,” Hargrave said. “I’ve been inspired by so many great HBCU players who came before me, like South Carolina State’s own Robert Porcher and Donnie Shell, so it means a lot to get an award like this.”

A witness to great moments for Pough, S.C. State football

Hargrave will be recognized as this year’s winner during the Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) Induction Ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 22, in Atlanta. The 2020 BCFHOF class features Earl “Air” Harvey, James Hunter, Robert Mathis, Erik Williams, head coach Joe Taylor and MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas.

“We are happy to honor Javon as this year’s winner of one our most important awards,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said. “His play on the field and work off the field through his foundation serve as a strong example of the type of men produced by the many great HBCUs across the country.”

In recognition of February’s Black History Month, the NFL Players Association partnered with the Black College Football Hall of Fame to create this annual award. Each honoree is selected by a six-member committee comprised of Charles Bailey (former NFL executive player evaluator), Ron Hill (former NFL executive player evaluator), John X. Miller (Senior editor for ESPN’s The Undefeated), Jay Walker (former NFL player), Doug Williams (Washington Redskins Senior Vice President of Player Development) and Steve Wyche (Reporter, NFL Network).

Dwayne Harper's road to the MEAC Hall of Fame

The winner should serve as a positive influence in his community, have ties to his alma mater, exhibit good character throughout his career and perform at a high level during the current NFL season. Last year’s co-winners were current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T State) and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard (South Carolina State).

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League.

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The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October of 2009 by African-American pioneers and quarterbacks James “Shack” Harris (1974 Pro Bowl MVP) and Doug Williams (Super Bowl XXII MVP) to preserve the history of and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from HBCUs.

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