These HBCU's Are Developing Athletes Into NCAA Contenders

* Florida A&M athlete Jaylyn Scott has blossomed into one of the NCAA's best long hurdlers since arriving on campus

Photo Credit: FAMU Forward

By Garrett Zatlin - MileSplit Recruiting Correspondent

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With the month of February comes the celebration of Black History Month, leaving a MileSplit recruiting correspondent such as myself with a unique opportunity to reflect on the current and past successes of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (also known as HBCUs).

One of the most prominent HBCU track and field programs in the NCAA is North Carolina A&T. However, the Aggies are already well known for their national-caliber stars in the sprints, hurdles and jumps.

At this point, seeing them on the national stage isn't a surprise anymore.

It is, however, a massively advantageous way to promote your program to certain athletes who maybe weren't originally considering an HBCU program in the first place. 

That's why other schools like Florida A&M and Tennessee State are worth highlighting. 

Aside from North Carolina A&T, those two schools were the only other HBCU programs to feature an American-born individual male qualifier at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships last spring. 

Photo Credit: FAMU Athletics

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Of course, with that achievement these schools potentially did more than just field a strong talent at the outdoor national meet. In fact, they also showed, both to us and to the entire nation, that they can be a promising landing spot for all future recruits.

Take Florida A&M's Jaylyn Scott, for instance.

The Georgia native from Bainbridge High School and Class of 2018 high school graduate wasn't just another athlete who passively ran track as an after class activity during his prep days. At the conclusion of the 2018 spring track season, Scott was ranked at U.S. No. 27 in the 300m hurdles.

But the more important race, the 400m hurdles, which is the event that is actually scored at the NCAA Championships, wasn't Scott's strongest mark compared to his 300m hurdles times. His high school personal best in that event was 60.61, a time that didn't even register a national ranking that year.

But now? Scott owns a personal best of 50.36 and come this spring, he could be even faster in that event. 

In just two meets so far this winter, Scott has already produced strong personal best efforts of 7.00 in the 60 meter dash and 47.71 in the open 400 meters.

But Scott isn't the only name who has had success in this Florida A&M program over the last couple of years, either. 

While naming every past standout Florida A&M athlete would be exhaustive exercise, we can still reflect on the Rattlers' distance running history and find recent national-caliber success there.

David Too, for example, earned numerous cross country wins during his time with the Rattlers. That includes a gold medal at the 2017 MEAC XC Championships.

Too would later go on to compete for the Iowa State Cyclones, acting as a highly valuable piece for their cross country lineup.

And let's also mention American-based recruit R'Lazon BrumfieldThe Florida native from Bishop Kenny HS graduated a year ahead of the eventual Florida A&M runner.

Since then, Brumfield has found himself at Tennessee State, emerging as one of the nation's top triple jumpers and even a nationally competitive long jumper as well.

In high school, Brumfield owned personal bests of 47 feet, 8.5 inches in the triple jump and 21-6.5 in the long jump.

His triple jump mark ranked him at US No. 49. But similar to Scott, Brumfield was unable to crack past the top-330 names on the indoor national leaderboard when he earned his long jump PR.

Nowadays, Brumfield is jumping 53-11.25 (TJ) and 25-1.25 (LJ). Those marks that make him one of the better overall horizontal jumpers that the NCAA has to offer.

To put it simply, both  coaching staffs at Florida A&M and Tennessee State have done fantastic jobs not just recruiting high schoolers, but developing them once they get on campus, too. 

Photo Credit: Tennessee State Athletics

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Both programs were able to attract and land talented prep school athletes who were nationally ranked in certain events. 

However, at the same time, the coaches at these HBCU programs noticed key event areas and certain disciplines that could be dramatically improved upon. Now, both Scott and Brumfield are near the top of the NCAA.

And of course, Florida A&M and Tennessee State aren't the only teams that have had success on the national stage in the past year.

Ghanian-born athlete Joseph Amoah, who competes for HBCU school Coppin State, was also an individual national qualifier last spring. He qualified for two, earning qualifying bids in both the 100m and 200m.

We also can't ignore the Norfolk State men who joined the Coppin State men in fielding a 4x100m relay at the national meet. The month of February may be Black History Month and yes, that does make this a good time to highlight HBCU programs. 

However, make no mistake: HBCU programs should be in serious consideration for nationally talented recruits.

Not just in the month of February, but throughout the entirety of the recruiting process.

And after all of the success that we've seen from these schools over the last few years, we may see a few standout names take up that offer come next fall.