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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | October 5, 2022

Here are the most exciting HBCU players, right now, after the 1st month

FCS football season preview: Players to watch, potential upsets and more

Can you believe it's already been one month of the 2022 HBCU football season? While it's only been a month, a handful of players have made themselves must-watches early on.

Here are the most exciting HBCU football players, so far.

Listed Alphabetically by last name

S Khalil Baker | North Carolina Central

Safety Khalil Baker brings excitement to North Carolina Central's secondary thanks to his ball-hawking abilities. Baker intercepted a pass in each of his first four games, taking one interception into the end zone against New Hampshire. Baker is tied for the national lead in interceptions and is drawing the attention of fans and quarterback when he patrols the backend of the defense. 

2022 HBCU: Live updates of the 2022 HBCU football season

LB BJ Davis | South Carolina State

BJ Davis is an every-down linebacker, often found by the football in South Carolina State's defense. Davis already has two double-digit tackles games this year, but what makes him special is his ability to create game-changing plays. Davis has one forced fumble and two interceptions, even scoring a defensive touchdown. Davis is a physical presence in the running game and a lurking threat in the passing game, and is someone whose name you'll often hear throughout 60 minutes.

RANKINGS: See Week 6's HBCU football power rankings

WR Shaquan Davis | South Carolina State

South Carolina State wide receiver Shaquan Davis is a touchdown threat at any time. Davis scored a touchdown in each of his first three games, including scores of 87 and 58 yards. He averages almost 26 yards per reception, good for the third-most in the FCS. Davis is a big-play threat, capable of making catches that will make you gasp, then take the catch to the house.

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RB Jarveon Howard | Alcorn State

Jarveon Howard is an explosive running back that can turn something into nothing out of the backfield. He has rushing touchdowns of 44, 73 and 78 yards already this season. What solidified Howard as one of the most exciting HBCU football players was his performance against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Howard ran for 299 yards and four touchdowns on just 23 attempts. After that performance, Howard sits third in rush yards per game and ninth in rushing touchdowns in the FCS. He's shown that any handoff he takes could go the distance.

MEAC VS SWAC: 16 of the best MEAC/SWAC Challenge moments

QB Shedeur Sanders | Jackson State

Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders is the most notable player in HBCU football — if not the entire FCS — but it's not because of his name alone. Sanders has been slinging the football through four games, establishing himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the FCS. 

What makes Sanders exciting is that he can pick a defense apart by finding any one of his wideouts from a loaded group, meaning you never know where the ball is going to go. Throw in the flare, swagger and personality Sanders brings on and off the field, and you have a star in the sport.

QUARTERBACKS: See the Week 6's FCS quarterback rankings

WR Xavier Smith | Florida A&M

You can't spell exciting without "X," and you can't watch a Florida A&M football game without being on the edge of your seat, thanks to wide receiver Xavier Smith. While Smith started the season slow — the entire Rattlers team did for that matter — he's picked up the pace over the last three games, catching six touchdowns, the third-most in the FCS. Smith has the second most catches in the country and has quickly reemerged as a go-to target in the Florida A&M offense. With great route running and spectacular yards-after-the-catch ability, Smith is an electrifying weapon on the outside.

CLASSICS: Here's every 2022 HBCU football classic in the FCS

DL Ronnie Thomas | Mississippi Valley State

Mississippi Valley State may not have won a game this year, but the Delta Devils have a dynamic pass-rusher in Ronnie Thomas that is forcing himself on everyone's radar. Thomas has seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss, ranking in the top three of both categories nationally. To put Thomas' numbers in perspective, he has more tackles for loss and one less sack than last year's Buck Buchanan Award winner did through five games. Thomas is an exciting bright spot on what's been a disappointing Delta Devil season so far.

🏆: HBCU football championship history

RB Bhayshul Tuten | North Carolina A&T

The success of North Carolina A&T's offense goes hand in hand with the success of running back Bhayshul Tuten. Tuten has rushed for the seventh-most yards in the FCS this season, highlighted by four straight 100-plus yard games. Tuten also contributes in the passing game with 15 catches to lead the Aggies. Tuten's excitement stems from his relentlessness as he's the kind of running back that can get positive yardage even when a defense loads the box. In somewhat of a Marshawn Lynch-like fashion Tuten is hard for any defense to stop over and over... and over and over... and over and over again.

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