Daryus Skinner of Winston-Salem State was hoping to show off his football skills at the HBCU Combine in Miami at the Dolphins training facility.
Three players from black college national champion N.C. A&T – wide receiver Elijah Bell, offensive lineman Marcus Pettiford and defensive lineman Justin Cates – were also invited to the combine, scheduled for the last weekend in March.
But those plans fell through when the combine, the first devoted entirely to players at historically black colleges and universities, was canceled by the NFL because of novel coronavirus.
The HBCU combine was created for those who didn’t get invited to the NFL combine held in Indianapolis.
Skinner made 22 career interceptions, second-best in WSSU history.
“I’m hearing that because we were actually invited to the HBCU combine that gives us something for the scouts to go on,” Skinner said by phone. “I was hoping to go down there and do what I could to get noticed even more.”
The adage of the NFL is that if you can play, a team will find you. That will be put the test for this year’s NFL Draft because the pro days at individual colleges have been canceled.
For somebody like Skinner, who is 5-10 and 182 pounds, there’s a disadvantage coming from a small school where there has been limited contact with a few scouts.
Skinner, a Division II All-America and an All-CIAA selection, has been a four-year starter. Skinner has been working out in a gym in Greensboro.
“I’ve been pretty dedicated and I’m trying to gain some good weight and it’s working pretty well,” said Skinner, who ended the season weighing 175 pounds.