HBCU QBs worry of a spotlight

With the recent exposure of teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities on ESPNU, a lot more attention has been paid to the quarterbacks.

Years ago, you didn't see these guys play on TV. The quality of the HBCU QB has changed over that course of time, too.

Sure, the likes of James Harris, Doug Williams and Steve McNair brought these QBs to the forefront, but the recent exposure has taken it to another level.

This year's crop of Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference QBs is led by Hampton's David Legree. The transfer from Syracuse started off his career at Hampton as a solid backup and has worked his way onto the field. It's safe to say he has earned the respect of his teammates after battling through various injuries over his career.

The 6-foot-4 senior from New York is coming off an injury-riddled 2010 season, when ankle and knee woes limited him throughout the entire season. He threw for 1,679 yards in 2010 and accounted for nine total touchdowns in a mostly rushing offense.

This season, Legree is shouldering much more of the offense and been asked to lead the team. With excellent size and an NFL-caliber arm, he has thrown for 852 yards and five touchdowns against two interceptions, with 238 yards and four touchdowns on the grounds, through four games.

Accuracy has been the issue with Legree, but he seems to be answering it this season. He clearly looks like the top QB in the conference as far as NFL prospects from the MEAC.

Norfolk State QB Chris Walley has been impressive in his two seasons for the Spartans. The 6-2 senior was selected to the MEAC preseason first team this year.

Walley comes off a 2010 season in which he threw for 1,859 yards and 10 touchdowns and finishing with a school-record 61.4-percent accuracy.

What separates Walley and Legree is instincts. Walley has a very quick release with pinpoint accuracy. It helps that his offense caters to him with short passes, draws and screens to take the pressure off Walley.

Walley has some size limitations and arm strength issues that could become a problem at the next level. However, he is off to a white hot start this season, leading his team to a 3-0 record in this young season. He has completed an eye-popping 73.4 percent of his passes.

In the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Grambling State true frosh D.J. Williams is off to a great start to his collegiate career. The 6-4, 193- pounder has done well planning for his father Doug, the Tigers' head coach.

While Grambling has gotten off to a slow 1-2 start, Williams has thrown for 392 yards and five TDs. The offense is very young and Grambling hasn't been the football power it has been in past seasons. Doug Williams has done a great job of not putting too much pressure on his young QB and balancing this offense out with a solid running game.

Jackson State senior Casey Therriault leads the way as the top QB in the SWAC conference right now. He is on the Watch List for the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the top player in the FCS and is sponsored by Fathead.com.

Therriault is coming off an historic season in which he threw for 3,436 yards and 31 touchdowns while adding 10 rushing TDs. The junior college product is as good an HBCU QB as any in a decade.

At 6-2, 205 pounds, he brings versatility to the JSU offense. While he's not the biggest passer, he seems to have a very natural feel for the passing game. He gets the ball out quick, has excellent footwork and has a chance to be the first HBCU QB drafted since Seattle Seahawks QB Tavaris Jackson.