The Black College Football Hall of Fame honored the best two coaches and two athletes at the BCFHOF Induction ceremony in Atlanta on Saturday, June 18.
The organization presented trophies to head coach Buddy Pough (South Carolina State), head coach Deion Sanders (Jackson State), quarterback Aqeel Glass (Alabama A&M), and linebacker Isaiah Land (Florida A&M).
2021 HBCU Football National Champions
Head coach Buddy Pough and South Carolina State were named the 2021 HBCU Football National Champions. South Carolina State registered a 5-0 MEAC record and 7-5 overall before meeting Deion Sanders and Jackson State in the 2021 Celebration Bowl.
The Bulldogs defeated the Jackson State Tigers 31-10 and claimed the Black College National Championship. Quarterback Corey Fields Jr. led a determined South Carolina State offense with four touchdown passes over the Jackson State defense. Pough's ferocious defense forced the freshman quarterback Shedeur Sanders to toss two interceptions en route to claiming the national championship.
In February, Coach Pough was named Team Gaither's head coach for the HBCU Legacy Bowl and had four of his players in the inaugural contest. His squad won 22-6 over Team Robinson.
Star cornerback Decobie Durant was drafted by the Super Bowl Champions Los Angeles Rams as the 142nd overall selection in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
2021 Coach of the Year
Deion Sanders guided the Jackson State Tigers to a perfect 8-0 SWAC record, 11-2 overall, and a trip to the 2021 Celebration Bowl in his first complete regular season as a college head coach.
The remarkable part of Sanders' journey was how the team remained focused, as Sanders missed four weeks due to health complications after foot surgery in September of 2021.
Jackson State won the SWAC East Division title for the first time since the 2013 season.
Coach Sanders won the 2021 Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS' top coach. His son Shedeur Sanders won the 2021 SWAC Freshman of the Year and 2021 Jerry Rice Award for being the top-FCS freshman football athlete.
Coach Deion Sanders, his son Shedeur, and top-recruit Travis Hunter were featured on June's cover of Sports Illustrated. His spotlight was the first for an HBCU college program, coach, or athlete in 28 years since Alcorn's Steve McNair graced the cover.
2021 Offensive Player of the Year
Alabama A&M's legendary quarterback Aqeel Glass is a two-time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and Black College Player of the Year (Deacon Jones Trophy). BCFHOF honored him as the 2021 Black College Offensive Player of the Year on Saturday evening.
Glass dominated the Fall 2021 season with 3,568 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and averaged 356.8 yards per game. His 160.8 passing efficiency over the course of 10 games led all HBCU football. He ranked in the Top-10 nationally in nine different NCAA statistical categories.
Glass ended the season ranked fifth in the FCS in passing yards per game and yards per attempt (8.62), sixth in passing touchdowns, passing yards and passing efficiency, seventh in total points responsible for (226) and total offense (348.3), and eighth in completions per game (25.9).
His incredible season included five games of at least 400 passing yards, two of which broke his own program record with 446 yards and four touchdowns, and 462 yards with five scores. He also added two more outings of over 300 yards passing and four TDs in each.
2021 Defensive Player of the Year
Last season, the Rattlers' linebacker Isaiah Land was a "one-man wrecking crew" in college football. During his junior campaign, land recorded an FCS season-high 19 sacks and 25.5 tackles for losses. FAMU's disruptive pass rusher also had 43 tackles and six quarterback hits.
The Buck Buchanan Award Finalist will return to Willie Simmons' program in 2022 to follow up his 2021 FCS Stats Perform Defensive First Team performance. The SWAC honored Land as the conference's 2021 Defensive Player of the Year.
Land is an Athlon Sports Preseason All-American for 2022.