Just the second North Carolina Central University football player in 25 years to be drafted by an NFL team, NCCU cornerback Ryan Smith was picked in the fourth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaners last weekend.
Lewis was the 108th pick overall in the draft.
“I have a chip on my shoulder. I have been doubted my whole life,” Smith said. “I am going to give it my all and 10 times more. All my life I’ve been doubted. All my life I’ve had to work hard and prove myself. There’s nothing new here. I still have something to prove. They are going to see why I should have gone earlier in this draft.”
Smith is the first NCCU player drafted by an NFL team since 2007, when defensive end Greg Peterson was also chosen by Tampa Bay in the fifth round. Smith and Peterson are the lone Eagles drafted since defensive back Robert Massey went in the second round to the New Orleans Saints in 1989.
Before leaving NCCU, Smith set a school career record with 168 solo tackles. He finished with 263 total tackles, seven interceptions and 24 passes broken up.
Triangle carries a Torch for football
Mid-major and HBCU football players now have another avenue to showcase their skills. Raleigh has a new indoor football team called the Triangle Torch.
The squad, which plays its home games at Dorton Arena, is a member of the American Indoor Football League. The roster is loaded with HBCU talent.
Seventeen of the 30 players are from HBCUs, including N.C. A&T’s Keith Holliday and Ricky Lewis, Fayetteville State’s Jay Jackson and Antonio Allen, St. Augustine’s Anthony Harris, Jataurus White and Frank James, Shaw’s Stanley Porter, and N.C. Central’s Allen Lee Jr., Malik Cromartie and Tony Dixon.
“The Torch were born out of a love for the game of football and a desire to share that love with our fellow residents of the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill areas,” owner George Sutphen said on its website.
“We want to create a forum to showcase the abilities of as many of the local athletes as possible. After experiencing the last four years of excitement following my son play professional indoor football, I wanted to share my experience with my community, the Triangle area, and bring that same excitement to this great area.”
The team held tryouts in January and began play March 20. The Torch is 3-2 after defeating the CPenn Capitals 47-41 on April 24 at Dorton. They play in the Northern Division of the AIF and sit in fifth place in the 10-team division.
Their final regular-season home game is May 8 at 4:05 p.m. in Dorton against the Philadelphia Yellow Jackets.
Scroggins picked for all-star team
Southern defensive back Jaleel Scroggins is in elite company as the only representative from Durham County to get an invite to the annual N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Football Game. The all-star game is scheduled for July 20 at Grimsley High in Greensboro. Only high school graduating seniors are eligible. Players are nominated by their high school coaches and then selected by the all-star coaching staff.
Between now and then, Scroggins is mulling his latest offer – from Ole Miss, where former Southern running back Akeem Judd is a rising senior.