|photo credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports via The Undefeated|
Last summer, I wrote one of the first pieces I wrote as a sports' contributor to HBCU Buzz, which was an article about Tarik Cohen, the star Running Back at my university. At that point, he'd already received national attention and his notorious back flip catch moves on YouTube went viral, so of course, I wasn't the only one nor the first fan who could foresee NFL in his career path.
Fast forward and draft season rolls around. Tarik, who is now a graduating senior at the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, is on everyone's radar, and rightfully so. It's not necessary go into detailed stats or anything, but from his freshman year to his most recent season at N.C.A&T, his stellar performance and athletic ability has been nothing less than exceptional.
As much as we'd like to think that our sons, brothers, cousins, and nephews are going to make it to the big leagues, most of us understand how slim the chances actually are. The pool of those who will be drafted or contracted into a professional team is small, and even smaller for colleges with a majority African American student population. Historically Black Colleges and Universities are often overlooked in the corporate world.
On April 29, family, friends, and peers of Tarik gathered at an on campus watch party, which was open to the student body as well, in anticipation to see which team would call the name that so many sports fans, especially HBCU students and alum, were emotionally invested in. In the days leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, social media buzzed with the #DraftCohen hashtag and Aggies all over the country tuned in to what could potentially be the next big thing regarding HBCU's sports programs.
When the announcement was made that Cohen was chosen in the 4th round (119th overall) to play for the Chicago Bears, it-as you could probably imagine- was a huge deal. Any time something like this happens within the HBCU community, it feels like a win for all of us. Aggie family worldwide let out that roaring proclamation (AGGIE PRIDE!!!) that united us all, no matter where we where in that moment. It felt so good to witness yet another young athlete, proud product of one of the best HBCU's in the country, make such a positive impression over the course of his collegiate career and whose hard work and dedication landed him a spot in the National Football League.
Everyone knows I'm a die hard Dallas fan, but next season, I will be rooting for fellow Aggie, Tarik Cohen with no shame whatsoever. Hopefully for the Bears, he'll be the catalyst for another long awaited championship title for the franchise.
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