Coronavirus outbreak cancels HBCU Combine, local athletes react

The Sports Zone

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus has put a halt to sports around the world and locally it’s affecting college athletes that had hopes of playing at the next level.

Jackson State defensive lineman C.J. Anderson was one of three local athletes invited to the NFL HBCU Combine in Florida.

He said the news of it being canceled because to the Coronavirus outbreak was devastating.

“I’ve been working out for like 10 weeks, just for that one day,” said Anderson. “And, just for it to come out like 2 weeks ago, a week ago, they canceled everything. So, all the work you’ve been doing for 10-weeks, you’ve been away from your family, you’ve been doing all this and that to get ready for one day and just it for it be taken, everybody was in complete shock.”

Mississippi College also holds an area-wide pro day for smaller schools in the Jackson metro area, but the future of that event hangs in the balance.

“That would be a bit let down again,” Anderson said. “Didn’t nobody in Mississippi get a chance, if you didn’t go to the NFL Combine, get a chance to perform in front of scouts. So, it’s just a big let down for all the work you’ve been doing every since you made it college, you’ve been ready for this day.”

“We really work hard and not be getting a chance or an opportunity to show what we can do, it really hurts.”

He hopes to one day be able to display his talents to NFL scouts. But, as Choctaws head coach John Bland explains, finding ways to stay in shape right now may pose a challenge.

“I don’t want to make promises that pro day is going to be a certain day because we just don’t know,” said Bland. “Each week we’re seeing schools being shut down for another week, for another two weeks. So, we just don’t know when that’s going to be. So, we just can say just stay in shape the best you can and that’s difficult as well because most of the gyms are shut down. You’ve got to be able to do some things in your own area.”

Bland said he’s hopeful a pro day will happen before the NFL Draft, but it will probably be less organized than last year’s event.

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