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Productive black college players have playing and money-making
opportunities in Canada; These are some who made it there

by Lut Williams

Black college football players that don‘t make it in the NFL have another chance at professional football in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

    That‘s where you‘ll find 17 former black college players, many with NFL experience, plying their trade. The nine-team league whose 18-game, 20-week season (two bye weeks) runs from late June to late November has a mininum salary of $42,000 and the average salary is now around $82,000.

    Former black college receivers are perhaps having the most success with three among the top 17 in receiving stats.

   arceneauxARCENEAUX: Had over 1,000 receiving yards in his Alcorn State career. Alcorn State product Emmanuel Arceneaux, in his fourth year with the 9-8 British Columbia Lions, is currently seventh in the league with 56 receptions for 816 yards and four TDs. At 6-2, 210 pounds, Arceneaux had his best season in 2010 when he caught 67 balls for 1,116 yards and five TDs.

    Output that season spurred a two year stint (2011 and 2012) knocking around the NFL with Minnesota, Washington and the New York Jets. He had 51 receptions for 885 yards and six TDs last year after returning to BC and reportedly signing a two-year contract for $280,000.

    Former North Carolina A&T and MEAC standout Wallace Miles, is having a breakout year in his first year with the Ottawa Redblacks. Miles, the only single-season 1,000-yard receiver in A&T history who led the Aggies in receiving in each of his four years and finished as the school‘s career leader in receiving yards and tied for first in receptions, played sparingly the last two years for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before being selected by Ottawa in last year‘s expansion draft. This year for the 2-13 Redblacks, the 6-1, 195 wideout has 45 receptions for 688 yards and 4 TDs. He is 11th in the league in receptions.

    ncat wallace milesMarquay McDaniel, a former Hampton all-MEAC receiver, has been the most productive of the receivers playing for the Calgary Stampeders. He led the league in all-purpose yards in 2009 and was the team‘s top receiver last year hauling in 76 receptions for 1,016 yards and eight TDs. This season he had 42 receptions for 637 yards and four TDs before breaking his arm on Sept. 13. He is currently on the league‘s six-game injured list.

    McDaniel‘s teammate, Martell Mallett who rushed for almost 3,000 yards in the SWAC at Arkansas-Pine Bluff,  was one of the most productive offensive backs in the league earning 2009 Rookie of the Year for the BC Lions after rushing for 1,240 yards and 6 TDs.  After bouncing around the NFL with Philadelphia, Cleveland and the NY Giants, he returned to the CFL with the Hamilton TigerCats in 2012. He suffered a torn Achilles tendon in training camp and missed the entire season. He was released by Hamilton last year. He started two games for Calgary this year before being injured. He is currently also on the six-game injured list.

  will ford  MEAC career rushing leader, Will Ford out of South Carolina State, is another former black college player who has enjoyed a nice career in the CFL. Ford was originally signed by the Toronto Argonauts in 2010 but suffered a leg injury and was released. He joined Winnipeg in 2012 and was a CFL East Division All-Star in 2013 when he ran 113 times for 594 rushing yards with two TDs and was also one of the leading kick returners in the league, bringing back 45 kicks for 1,047 yards with two TDs.

    This year, the 5-11 195-pounder signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in July and was on his way to his best season, rushing for three TDs in his first game and 452 yards on 85 carries with 6 TDs before being injured and released on October 21.

    Here‘s a breakdown of the former black college players on CFL rosters this season.

84 Emmanuel Arceneaux WR Alcorn State
95 Marcus Dixon DT Hampton Signed in October
63 Jovan Olafioye DT NC Central
23 Marcell Young DB Jackson State - 41 tackles, 1 sack, 1 int. -
68 Thaddeus Coleman OL Miss. Valley State (Injured List)
26 John Ojo DB Florida A&M (Practice Roster)
0 Domonique Johnson DB Jackson State (Suspended)
34 Martell Mallett RB Arkansas-Pine Bluff (6-game injured list
16 Maquay McDaniel WR Hampton (6-game injured list)
37 Rod Williams DB Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Injured) - Saskatchwan - 62 tackles
 1 Wil Ford RB South Caroline State (Injured and released)
86 Wilson, Justin WR Delaware State (Practice Roster)
24 Michael Coe DB Alabama State (6 game injured list)
90 Brandon Thurman DE Arkansas-Pine Bluff (6 game injured list)
93 Delano Johnson DL Bowie State (13 tackles, 1 sack)
84 Wallace Miles WR North Carolina A&T
38 Dominique Ellis DB South Carolina State


  • The mother of Houston Rockets‘ center Dwight Howard, Sheryl Howard, played basketball on the inital women‘s basketball team at Morris Brown College.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin‘s mother went to Virginia State and his father went to Hampton.
Black College Teams that have won NCAA Div. II Basketball Championships
1967 Winston-Salem State 77–74 Southwest Missouri State Earl Monroe (Winston-Salem State)
1974 Morgan State 67–52 Southwest Missouri State Marvin Webster (Morgan State)
1978 Cheyney State 47–40 Wisconsin–Green Bay Andrew Fields (Cheyney)
1980 Virginia Union 80–74 New York Tech Keith Valentine (Virginia Union)
1982 District of Columbia 73–63 Florida Southern Michael Britt (UDC)
1989 North Carolina Central 73–46 Southeast Missouri State Miles Clarke (North Carolina Central)
1992 Virginia Union (2) 100–75 Bridgeport Derrick Johnson (Virginia Union
2005 Virginia Union (3) 63–58 Bryant Antwan Walton (Virginia Union)

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