1. 1974 Jackson State Tigers (7-3, 4-2 SWAC)
Many people celebrate the 2001 Miami Hurricanes for all the first-round draft picks from that roster. Before “The U” dominated the NFL Draft, there was the 1974 Jackson State Tigers who boasted two top-10 picks and three future NFL Hall-of-Famers on its roster.
Despite being the best running back in Mississippi out of high school, Walter Payton did not receive offers from a single SEC school. Payton then decided to join older brother Eddie at Jackson State. Payton would become one of the greatest running backs to play college football.
Payton recruited football ironman Jackie Slater to come and block for him at Jackson State. Slater was All-SWAC three consecutive years while at Jackson State, on his way to being selected to seven Pro-Bowls playing for the Los Angeles Rams for 20 seasons.
This team also had some of the best nicknames in the history of football. Chicago Bear fans know Payton simply as “Sweetness.” Despite his gentle demeanor off the field, Slater was “Big Bad Jackie.” However, the best nickname from the 1974 Tigers belonged to fellow Hall of Famer, Robert Brazile.
Known as “Dr. Doom” during his playing days for the then Houston Oilers, Brazile revolutionized the linebacker position. Before Lawrence Taylor, Brazile was the prototype “EDGE” rusher seen so often in today’s game. Brazile could rush the quarterback standing or with his hand in the dirt.
In 1975, Ricky Young, John Tate, and Charles James would also get drafted from one of the most talented rosters in HBCU history.
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