MILWAUKEE, WI - Former Winston-Salem State University defensive back Daryus Skinner will get the opportunity to put his skills on display as he was selected to take part in the Inaugural HBCU Combine at the University of Alabama-Birmingham on April 9th - 10th. The event will provide Skinner and other athletes from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) the opportunity to display their skills for scouts from several professional football leagues, including the National Football League (NFL), the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the XFL. The HBCU National Combine LLC was formed and funded by Ulice Payne, Jr., president of Addison-Clifton, LLC, and former president/CEO of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club.
The HBCU National Combine was created as a response following the cancellation of the 2020 combine that was announced by the NFL due to COVID-19 restrictions. With the cancellation of the event, the HBCU National Combine LLC was formed to bring together pro football talent evaluators and highly rated NFL draft-eligible players from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Selection for the combine is a prestigious honor for all involved. The participants were identified by NFL teams and scouting services but did not receive an invitation to the NFL Combine. Among the participants are 26 players who were invited by the NFL to their exclusive HBCU scouting combine event in 2020. Each participant will participate in physical and mental assessments and have their talents evaluated by pro football scouts.
Skinner was among the 42 athletes from various HBCUs from across the country. He earned a spot in the combine after completing an historic career with the Rams. During his career, he pulled in 22 total career interceptions and he ranked second in school history. He also earned several honors, including earning Associated Press (AP) Second Team All-American honors, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) All-Conference selections and an NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) First Team All-Region selection twice. In 2018, he was also a Don Hansen NCAA Division II All-American.
The combine will consist of on-field drills and tests that will be administered and performed to the NFL Regional Combine specifications. Fusion Sport's SMARTSPEED timing system will be used the electronically time the 40-yard dash and short shuttle drill. All performance times are measured and distributed electronically by the SMARTSPEED system. Scouts will also be able to interview participants one-on-one as well as complete classroom sessions focused on preparing career transition plans, financial literacy, and evaluation criteria used by pro scouts.
The combine will also include the inaugural HBCU Combine Recognition Dinner which will be held at the Hilton Birmingham on the evening of April 9th for participants and invited guests. The event will also highlight the legacy of HBCU football, and it will feature speaker Darryl Orlando Ledbetter, award-winning Atlanta Falcons beat writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. WSSU alum and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith will also participate in the Recognition Dinner. He has also provided a travel assistance grant to each participating player to help defray their transportation costs.
The HBCU Combine will take place during the Birmingham Coaching Clinic presented by UAB Football. The Legion Pavilion at the University of Alabama-Birmingham will be the site of the participants' performance assessments. Safety will also be a priority for the combine as all participants and invited guests will be required to comply with COVID-19 protocols of the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
For more information on Rams football, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.