At two of my previous stops in the media world, I worked at newspapers that covered Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M daily.
Specifically with BCU, I covered a lot of kids in high school who went on to be stars for the Wildcats in the MEAC and sometimes beyond. Nick Collins had an outstanding BCU career as a DB and went on to win a Super Bowl and go to the Pro Bowl three times–and I had the pleasure of watching him play quarterback and defense at Dixie County High School many years ago. The Wildcats also snagged one of the best, most overlooked high school players I’ve ever seen when they were able to keep local prep superstar Travis Roland in Daytona Beach. Roland had a chip on his shoulder that he wasn’t more highly recruited, and took it out on the MEAC for four seasons.
The point is, Bethune-Cookman has been a launching pad for players who have felt slighted. Coming out of a Jacksonville (Fla.) high school, Rashean Mathis didn’t get a chance to play in the SEC or ACC, but he sure has enjoyed his 13 years in the NFL and the millions of dollars he made after starring at BCU. Larry Little also enjoyed his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame, and he also played for the Wildcats.
Incoming recruits feel that Bethune-Cookman is a place you can shine and then move up–in many ways.
This week, the Wildcats got a handful of stellar commitments from junior college transfers. Next week, these prospects can sign their letters of intent because they are JUCO transfers and not high school prospects–and they can take classes and be on campus immediately, in January. Malik Slaughter is one of those JUCO studs who has chosen to ply his trade for Bethune-Cookman for a couple of years. Also coming aboard this week are 3-star JUCO transfers Marcus Levy and 2-star DB De’Andre Bozeman, coming from Nassau C.C. in New York and Highland C.C. in Kansas respectively.
Slaughter is the son of former Jackson State and CFL veteran Derrick Lewis. The Copiah-Lincoln C.C. (Miss.) defensive tackle is hungry. Hungry to prove that nobody got it right when it came to his recruitment–except Bethune-Cookman. He knows all about championships and being productive. He was on the 16-0 state championship team at Louisville (Miss.) his senior year, chipping in 17 sacks.
“I would like to go undefeated the two years I’m there,” Slaughter told HERO Sports. “I didn’t have the grades coming out of high school so I didn’t get the big offers. I was overlooked in high school, no all-star game invites or anything … I like the players BCU has committed to them this year. I feel like we will go undefeated next year. The missing pieces are coming in. I really like (assistant) Coach (Earl) Lane. He has a big name across these 50 states, and I will enjoy playing for him as my position coach.”
Slaughter, Levy and Bozeman are the examples of what Cookman will be bringing to the table in the fall. They’ll be walking the campus as early as January, while contributing immediately as early as September.