HBCU football players, Robert Mitchell, an offensive lineman from North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Keyron Kinsler Jr., a defensive back from Alcorn State University, Kemari Averett, a tight end from Bethune-Cookman University, and Justin Ragin, a defensive lineman from Jackson State University are set to play in the XFL, following Friday’s rookie draft.
On Friday, Mitchell and Kinsler were selected in the XFL Rookie Draft. The Vegas Vipors chose Mitchell, and the Orlando Guardians selected Kinsler for the upcoming season.
Averett and Ragin were acquired as undrafted free agents by the St. Louis Battlehawks on Wednesday, per HBCU Sports.
Mitchell’s remarkable performance at NCCU earned him the title of 2022 MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year.
During his redshirt senior season, he started all 12 games on the offensive line, achieved a team-high grade of 90.2%, and allowed just 8 pressures with 69 pancake blocks in 731 plays.
While Mitchell was playing for the Eagles, they held the fifth-highest-scoring offense in the nation, averaging an impressive 38.6 points per game. NCCU also led the NCAA Division I-FCS in third-down conversions at 55.8%, and ruled the MEAC in total offense (445.3 yards per game), rushing offense (210.6 yards per game), and passing offense (234.8 yards per game).
In 2022, Mitchell helped NCCU secure the MEAC championship and the HBCU national championship with their win against Jackson State in the Cricket Celebration Bowl. The Eagles ended the season with an impressive 10-2 record, earning them a No. 17 ranking in the FCS Coaches Poll and the HBCU national championship title.
Kinsler excelled as a defensive back at Alcorn State, wrapping up 53 tackles, ranking fifth on the team, along with 4.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions.
A highlight of Kinsler’s performance with the Braves was against Savannah State when he registered a career-high 10 tackles.
Kinsler was also a standout player in high school, where he started on the varsity team beginning his sophomore year. As a senior, he was recognized as First-Team All-County and as a junior, he was recognized as Second-Team All-County. During his senior year, Kinsler recorded 115 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles, awarding him Honorable Mention All-State honors.
Averett led the Wildcats in receiving in each of his two seasons with the team, compiling 91 receptions for 1,333 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He was named to the All-SWAC First Team in 2021 and 2022.
At Jackson State, Ragin totaled 94 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, three pass breakups, and two blocked kicks in 34 career games.
Ragin was named to the All-SWAC Second Team this past season.
This story was updated on Thursday, June 23, 2023, to clarify which players were selected in the XFL Rookie Draft and which players signed on as XFL undrafted agents.