Chris Rowland Named Black College Player of the Year
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Chris Rowland Named Black College Player of the Year

Courtesy Black College Football Hall of Fame

Atlanta, Ga. (February 22, 2020) – Tennessee State University senior wide receiver Chris Rowland has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Black College Football Player of the Year Award. He was presented with the Deacon Jones Trophy, named in honor of the football legend and inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Black College Football Hall of Fame Trustees James "Shack" Harris, Willie Lanier, Art Shell and Doug Williams made the announcement during the 2020 Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Atlanta on Saturday night. The Award recognizes the most outstanding football player from a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) that embodies the rich tradition of athletic excellence and integrity associated with HBCUs.
 
Rowland set an HBCU record with 104 receptions during the season, eclipsing the old mark of 103 set by Black College Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in 1984. He was named First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) as a wide receiver and return specialist. Rowland led the Conference in receptions, yards (1,437) and all-purpose yards (2,110), and was name OVC Offensive Player of the Year. He was the only Division I player (FBS or FCS) to score a touchdown via kick return, punt return, reception and rushing.
 
After leading the nation in receiving yards per game (119.8), Rowland was selected to play in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl. He was also a Finalist for the Walter Payton Award, named after the Black College Football Hall of Famer, which is given to the FCS Offensive Player of the Year.
 
“Chris had one of the most prolific seasons as a wide receiver in HBCU history,” said Harris. “He is a great testament to the talent Black College Football, and wish him well in the next chapter of his football career.”
 
The Player of the Year was voted on by a five-member Selection Committee, which is composed of Black College Football Hall of Fame Co-Founders James “Shack” Harrisand Doug Williams, Power News Radio Network’s Ty Miller, College Football on ESPN Analyst Jay Walker and former USA Today sports writer Roscoe Nance, prior to his passing.
 
Rowland is just the third recipient of the Deacon Jones Trophy. The inaugural winner was current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T State) in 2016, and the winner in 2017 and 2018 was quarterback Amir Hall of Bowie State.
 
Other Black College Football Player of the Year Award Finalists included QB Felix Harper (Alcorn State University), RB Jah-Maine Martin (North Carolina A&T) and QBRyan Stanley (Florida A&M University).

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About Black College Football Hall of Fame

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October of 2009 by African-American pioneers and quarterbacks, Pro Bowl MVP James "Shack" Harris and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, to preserve the history and honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). There have been 90 Inductees since inception, including Mel BlountJames HarrisWillie LanierArt Shell and Doug Williams, who serve as Trustees.
About Deacon Jones

David “Deacon” Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. He won unanimous All-NFL honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones is an inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2010) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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