As the push to the 2023 NFL Draft begins, player prospects from historically Black colleges and universities will have their opportunity to put their talents on display at the HBCU Combine and Legacy Bowl presented by the Black College Hall of Fame this week. The multi-day event is in its second year and focuses on the celebration of Black culture, history and career prep in addition to the postseason all-star game. The contest will be broadcast live on NFL Network on Saturday afternoon.
The San Francisco 49ers history with HBCUs run deep as some of the organization's most iconic players hail from historically Black colleges and universities. Three-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State) is the most notable HBCU alum to play for the red and gold and is recognized across the league as one the greatest players of all time. His teammate and Delaware State alum, John Taylor, is also on a short list of HBCU greats, working in tandem with Rice to help secure three Super Bowl wins for the 49ers between 1989 and 1995.
Rice played four seasons with the Delta Devils and helped MVSU compile a record of 21-9-1, including school best mark of 9-2 during the 1984 season. Many of the NCAA 1-AA, SWAC and MVSU records set by Rice still stand, and he is the only first round draft pick out of MVSU (No. 16 in 1985 NFL Draft). The Hall of Famer spent 16 of his 20 seasons in the league with the 49ers and had short stints with the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks near the end of his career. He is an inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 49ers Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Black College Football Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Rice is a 13-time Pro Bowler, an 11-time First Team All-Pro and still owns notable receiving records, including most 1,000-yard receiving seasons (14), total touchdowns (208) and combined net yards (23,546).
Look back at some of the best moments from John Taylor's 10-year career in red and gold.
Taylor spent four seasons with the Delaware State Hornets before starting his illustrious NFL career. The wide receiver and return specialist was a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standout and completed his college football career as the MEAC's all-time leader with 42 touchdowns and 254 points. Taylor previously held the NCAA record for career yards per catch (24.3) and ranks top five in several statistical categories at Delaware State including fifth in Delaware State history with 3,593 all-purpose yards, fourth in career punt return yards (576) and second in punt return touchdowns (4). Taylor was a third round pick of the of the 1986 NFL Draft and went on to play the entirety of his nine-season NFL career with San Francisco in which he amassed 347 catches for 5,598 receiving yards and 43 touchdowns. He is an inductee of the 49ers Hall of Fame, the Black College Hall of Fame, the Delaware State University Athletics Hall of Fame, the MEAC Hall of Fame and the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.
For more details on how you can watch and listen to performance of the HBCU prospects in this years HBCU Legacy Bowl click here.