HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have long shown they can put out NFL talent, going as far back as players like Jerry Rice and Walter Payton and as recent as Darious Leonard.
One of the latest HBCU product to enter the NFL is Decobie Durant, whom the Rams selected with the 142nd overall pick out of South Carolina State. For Durant, he wants to use his opportunity to continue paving the pro path for HBCU players.
"Coming from an HBCU, alongside myself with the others in the draft with me, we just trying to set the bar, set the bar high for not only ourself, but other people along with us in the draft and the people that's coming in behind us next year," Durant said during his video conference following his selection. We just trying to open up more doors and let other players know to never lose hope."
A look at Durant's resume shows he is in a good position to do just that.
The 2021 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, he joined linebackers Darius Leonard and Joe Thomas and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave as South Carolina State products to win the award.
He also followed some strong examples of defensive back play, modeling his game after Stephon Gilmore and Tyrann Mathieu as well as "a little bit" of Marshon Lattimore.
"I feel like my playing style is just being a gnat to the ball," Durant said. "Whenever the ball is in the air, it's mine and nobody else's. Just being a ball-hawk."
Durant will get a chance to work under one of the best defensive backs in the game in Jalen Ramsey, among a group of other talented defensive backs on the Rams' roster.
While Rams have a spot in the rotation to replace with Darious Williams' departure in free agency this offseason, Durant indicated he's willing to do whatever role is asked of him.
"I just really want to come in and get ready to work," Durant said. "Whatever the coaches need me to be at, whatever position, I'm just ready to get in there and handle business, come to work and produce each day."
Take a look at photos of newly drafted Los Angeles Rams defensive back Decobie Durant from his time at South Carolina State.