More than a game for four Rattlers

Photo Courtesy: HBCU Legacy Bowl Media

Although the 2022 football season has come to an end for FAMU, a few
student-athletes continue to showcase their skills on the field to impress higher-level coaches at The
HBCU Legacy Bowl.

According to its official website, The HBCU Legacy Bowl is a “postseason all-star game
showcasing the best NFL draft-eligible football players from Historically Black Colleges and

Among 100 student-athletes, FAMU will be represented by four familiar faces on the field:
Xavier Smith, AJ Davis, Jose Romo-Martines and Chris Faddoul.

By competing in the HBCU Legacy Bowl Game and the HBCU NFL Combine, student-athletes
are able to showcase their skill sets to NFL level coaches.

Smith, former wide receiver for the Rattlers, was amongst 46 other students at the HBCU NFL
Combine. He impressed scouts with his sharp route-running, and his outstanding 4.38 time in the
40-yard dash.

As he reflected on a successful first day of the Combine, Smith shared with a reporter that he
prepared for this week by reminding himself to focus on his skills. He also shared with reporters
his high hopes of one day seeing his name on an NFL roster.

“Even coming from an HBCU, I want to show that I have the ability to play this game at a higher
level, and I believe I have done that,” said Smith.

HBCU Legacy Bowl and its leaders have worked hard to prove that the event is more than just
getting exposure for the athletes, it is also a “week-long celebration of Black culture and history
[that] will provide invaluable exposure for HBCU students,” as stated on their official website.

The HBCU Legacy Bowl Career Fair, presented by the New Orleans Saints, is to be held Feb.
23-24 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the La Nouvelle Orleans

Attendees will be given the opportunity to network with the nations top-employers. Students
interested in pursuing a career in the sports industry will get the chance to talk to several
representatives from NFL teams, as well as get advice from the keynote speakers, Deb Elem
Grant and Jason Wright.

Organizers project that there will be over 1500 HBCU students in attendance. As of Friday,
Feb.17 FAMU has 10 students who have received an invite to the event.

Amongst the opportunities that will arise from the career fair, HBCU Legacy Bowl has also
provided opportunities for many other students who have joined the team as interns.

With these internships, students will be able to get hands-on experience in all facets of the
operations at the events including marketing, ticketing, operations, player personnel, the career
fair and much more.

With a halftime performance from the Alabama State University “Marching Hornets,” many
around the country are anticipating the mass display of HBCU excellence on the field this
Saturday including our very own Willie Simmons.

“We are very excited to support [these athletes] as they impress NFL scouts and personnel this
week at the 2nd Annual HBCU Legacy Bowl,” said Simmons, Head Coach for the FAMU
Football Team. “They’ve all represented this great institution in a first-class manner, and we
can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”

Former teammates of Davis, Romo-Martinez, Faddoul and Smith also explain their excitement to
see these athletes compete on national television.

“I believe seeing them go on and do big things provides a lot of hope for us younger guys,” said
freshmen Michael Watson Jr.

As gameday fastly approaches, Davis shares a word of advice for his former teammates.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of every opportunity you get,” Davis said. “Be a
sponge, and soak in all the information from the older guys because they want to help you.”

To watch Davis, Romo-Martinez, Faddoul and Smith compete in Yulman Stadium on Saturday,
Feb. 25, you can stream the game at 3:00PM CST on NFL Network.

To see the game in person, tickets are available at