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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Former HBCU Football recruit uses 7-on-7, CFL path to NFL Draft

Qwan’tez Stiggers’s journey to becoming the 176th pick in the 2024 NFL draft is an incredible story of triumph over tribulation. The one-time HBCU football recruit who played high school football at a small charter school in Atlanta, Georgia with only 27 players on the football team has become one of only three players ever drafted into the NFL without having played a single down college football.

Stiggers originally committed to HBCU Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, a member of Division II’s Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) out of high school in 2020. After losing his father in a car accident and his freshman season of football to COVID, Qwan’tez Stiggers decided to take a different path to his pro football dreams.

After a tip from his mother, Stiggers tried out for Fan Controlled Football, a 7-on-7 indoor pro football league in Atlanta. He made the team and led the Fan Controlled Football in interceptions as the youngest player in the league, picking off five passes in 12 games while being runner-up for defensive player of the year.

His play in the Fan Controlled Football 7 -on- 7 league led his coach, John Jenkins, a former assistant with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL), to send his game film to his former colleagues.

And while the guys in the front office liked what they saw of Qwan’tez Stiggers on tape, the coaches on the field were a little wary of a guy with no college listed beside his name.

But an impressive training camp led to another breakout season as the youngest player in another league. Qwan’tez Stiggers started 16 games in his rookie CFL season. He had 53 tackles and five interceptions, he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie for the 2023 season, the first defensive back to win the award in 25 years.

His award-winning rookie season in the CFL earned him an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl, which is usually reserved for college seniors. Stiggers, now 22 years old and eligible for the NFL Draft had seemingly rejoined his college football peers at one of the top showcases for NFL prospects.

“My goal is to get drafted,” Qwan’tez Stiggers said in an article from Andscape. “There’s nothing like hearing your name on draft day. Just to hear someone say ‘such and such has drafted Qwan’tez Stiggers’ will mean so much. I can make history.”

In the fifth round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Qwan’tez Stiggers with the 176th pick. Making him the third player to ever be drafted without playing football in college.

HBCU football Qwan’tez Stiggers NFL Draft HBCU football Qwan’tez Stiggers NFL Draft

And while his HBCU football was never able to take flight, Qwan’tez Stiggers drew his own road map to the NFL, serving as a lesson to future NFL prospects that it’s not how you start… its how you finish.

Former HBCU Football recruit uses 7-on-7, CFL path to NFL Draft

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