Grambling duo to play in Legacy Bowl on Saturday

Former Grambling State running back Maurice Washington will be one of two Tigers playing in Saturday’s HBCU Legacy Bowl all-star game in New Orleans.

By T. Scott Boatright

The Grambling State football program will be front and center on Saturday as the second annual Legacy Bowl is held at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.

The game will kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday and will be televised live by The NFL Network.

Former Grambling State quarterbacks James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams, founders of the Legacy Bowl,  will lead the teams of former Historically Black College and University (HBCU) football stars into the stadium for the event.

The rosters will include a pair of GSU Tigers playing for Team Robinson, which will be led by Southern University coach Eric Dooley.

Those two players who will be representing Grambling will be defensive back Rey Estes and running back Maurice Washington.

In his three seasons at Grambling after playing his freshman year at Riverside Community College in California, Estes played in 25 games as a G-Man, totaling 75 tackles ( 59 solo, 16 assisted), two interceptions, one tackle for loss, 16 passes defended, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

A transfer from the University of Nebraska, Washington totaled 589 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 61 carries in his lone season as a G-Man, averaging 9.7 yards per attempt.

Williams said the week leading up to the game has gone smoother this year and he expects the event to continue growing.

“The most important thing is the community and the sponsorship, that’s the reason why we’re able to have this game,” Williams said during a press conference earlier this week. “If it wasn’t for those guys who sponsor this and the people around this area and outside the area, we wouldn’t be able to have it.”

Williams said the reason for the game is to give young players from HBCU an opportunity they might not otherwise receive.

“I didn’t do this for me, Shack didn’t do this for him,” Williams said. “We could ride off into the sunset, but we understand – having gone to an HBCU – we understand the opportunity that these guys have not gotten over the years. So we felt like if we create something to give them an opportunity, a platform to showcase their talent, that’s what it’s about. We decided to do it.

“All I  hope is that it’s sustainable and that people understand what we’re trying to do and all the sponsors stay behind us and let’s do this for the rest of eternity.”

Working to create that sustainability Williams desires, the event has been going on all week including an HBCU combine that was held Monday for 50 of the top players, giving them a chance to be seen by NFL scouts from all 32 teams. 

“You’d be surprised,” Williams said. “A lot of the scouts who were out there Monday had never seen these guys. That in itself goes a long way. Now when they go back to draft meetings, they can talk about these players. The combine did a big thing for these guys.”

A Career Fair for HBCU juniors and seniors was held Thursday and will continue today at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, giving participants a chance to connect with some of the nation’s top employers.

“That’s a big thing — really bigger than the game itself — because we’re working to create better futures for all HBCU students,” Williams said of the Career Fair.

The whole week is designed to create opportunities for HBCU students and former football players alike.

“I talked to a couple of the guys the other day and I asked them, ‘If we didn’t have this, where would you be?'” Williams said. “Because when you look at the (NFL) Combine, HBCUs might have two guys that have been invited to the (NFL) Combine.

“But here, we’ve got 100 guys to showcase — 50 guys that were in the combine get a chance to play in this game and show people what they can do, because I do believe that there are some talented guys in HBCUs. And there’s no reason why 10 to 12 to 15 guys shouldn’t get drafted or signed as free agents and get an opportunity to play. Like last year, we had 40 guys that got a chance to either go to camp, sign as free agents or be drafted.”

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