Tennessee State now a football power
In the 1978 NFL draft Tennessee State
University had the distinction of having no
less than seven players picked no later
than the sixth round.
That feat was better than the number of
draftees from Oklahoma, Notre Dame,
Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, USC, and a
host of other big time college football
John Merritt is the head coach at this
small predominantly Black school of
nearly 5,000 students in Nashville, Tenn.
He spumed job offers from major college
and pro teams to continue his footb-i’’
factory operation because he felt it was a
Merritt’s arch-rival in producing
professional talent is Eddie Robinson, the
head coach at Grambling. Out of 41
seasons at Grambling, Robinson has had
18 consecutive winning teams, thanks to
stars such as James Harris and Gary “Big
Hands” Johnson (both of the Chargers),
Douglas Williams (Buccaneers), Willie
Brown (Raiders), etc., etc.
Grambling, long a recognized hot bed for
superior athletes has been losing out in the
race to the pros as of the last few years.
Merritt groomed the recently retired
defensive end Claude Humphrey
(Falcons), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (defen
sive end. Cowboys) and Vernon Holland
(offensive tackle, Bengals). They all have
something else in common though—all
three have made All-Pro in the NFL at
Observers have often wondered about
the competition these players face. Since
becoming an Independent, Tennessee
State will face Jackson State (who
produced Walter Payton, Rich Caster,
Robert BrazUe, etc.), Florida, N.C. A&T,
and of course Grambling during the course
The players Tennessee State sent to the
NFL via the ’78 draft will continue the
prestige bestowed upon Merritt. Although
he had no one picked in the first round this
year, his record speaks for itself.
Last spring’s draft saw Stan Johnson
and Sylvester Hicks plucked by the Los
Willie Scroggs, a former assistant
lacrosse coach at John Hopkins, and
Tommy Dixon, a former standout tennis
player for the Tar Heels, are the latest
additions to the North Carolina coaching
Scroggs will serve as head lacrosse
coach at Carolina in addition to his duties
as assistant business manager. Dixon, who
won six Atlantic Coast conference flight
championships in his playing days, will aid
head Tar Heel tennis coach Don Skakle as
Prior to his appointment at Carolina,
Scroggs, 31, had served for five years as an
assistant coach in charge of defense and
goalkeeping at Hopkins, his alma mater.
During the last three years, the noted
lacrosse institution finished third in the
nation in 1976, second in 1977, and first in
1978, beating Cornell in the NCAA
championship game. He was also an
assistant football coach during his stint at
Duming his undergraduate days at
Hopkins, Scroggs was a regular midfielder
on the Blue Jays’ three national cham
pionship teams (1967-69). The Blatimore
Md., native won six varsity letters, three
in lacrosse and three in football. He
captained the gridiom squad his senior
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All-Pro Houston Oiler linebacker Robert
Brazile was also groomed at a top black
school (Jackson St.)
Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs,
respectively, each in the second round.
Johnson is a 6-4, 275 pound defensive
tackle who will most likely sit for a few
years because of the abundance of quality
defensive linemen with the Rams.
Hicks’ story should be different. He is
said to be a tough mean guy who can play
either defensive tackle or end. At 6-4%,
248, he will probably be used where he’s
needed mort, since the Chiefs lack good
A few rounds later, in the fourth in fact,
was just in time for Dwight Wheeler,
Homer Ehas, and Danny Johnson to be
summoned by the New England Patriots,
Detroit Lions, and the desperate Chiefs,
Wheeler is a b-3 , 275 pound offensive
, tackle who may step into the spotlight if
All-Pro Leon Gray (Jackson State) walks
out of camp again.
Elias, 6-3 , 260, aother of the many
Tennessee State offensive linemen in the
pros, may dislodge one of the Lion’s
starting guards before it’s over.
Johnson is a smallish rookie linebacker
by NFL standards for the Chiefs. Pro
scouts say he needs a great deal of polish
and is one of the fastest L..ebackers
around. Although he is only 6-1, 216,
Johnson may have a starting opportunity
since incumbent Jim Lynch retired.
In the fifth round, the Kansas City Chiefs
plucked again and caught Jerrold McRae.
His position is wide receiver which nxakes
his situation all the more interesting. The
6-1, 200 pound McRae will be battling
Charlie Wade and Larry Dorsey who both
happened to have played their college ball
at Tennessee State.
The way the Chiefs are going, in the next
ten years, all 45 players on their roster will
be Tennessee State alumni.
Last but not least, there was the 6-1,190
pound Rodney Parker just waiting to be
discovered by the Atlanta Falcons. He is
another wide receiver and will be battling
Wallace Francis (Arkansas AM&N) and
Alfred Jenkins (Morris Brown) for a
Merritt has nearly 20 players in the pro
ranks excluding this year’s rookies.
Although UNC is known more for
producing basketball talent, and Ten
nessee State is not, that figure represents
two and one-half times as many ex-Tar
Heel players that are in the professional
ranks, compartively speaking.
So what should Coach Merritt do for an
encore in next year’s draft?
Send two players in each of the first six
It doesn’t sound too far-fetched for
Tennessee State and of course, John
Freshman Lauren Lewis on
UNC female track squad
By Karen Smith
She has blonde hair, big eyes and a bright smile. And she is the newest
edition to the University of North Carolina track team.
In case you are wondering who this new track star is, she is Lauren Leslie
Lewis from Montclair, New Jersey. She is also the only Black freshman on
the team holding a scholarship. When asked how much her scholarship was
worth, Lauren replied, “I’m not sure. Um, around $4,000 a year”.
While at home in Montclair, New Jersey, Lauren won first place
respectively in the hurdles, discus and long jump in the Essex County Meet.
She also was a member of her school’s 440 yard and 880 yard relay teams
who were selected Best in the State of New Jersey.
Since being at Carolina, Lauren has participated in the Penthalon, an
event where track team members compete against each other. Lauren
placed first in the hurdles, second in the long jump, third in the quarter mile
run and fourth in the discus.
When asked about the upcoming track season, Lauren said that the season
opens in January with the first meet against Richmond.
“We’re looking forward to a good season”, Lauren said with a bright
smile, then she left to join the other members of the track team for practice.
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Coach Cleve Bryant
By KIM TURNER
Cleve Bryant is doing exactly what
he loves best in the world, coaching
The former star quarterback for
Ohio University came to Chapel Hill
along with Dick Crum last year and is
now an assistant coach for Carolina,
coaching the quarterbacks.
Bryant, who hails from Canton,
Ohio, graduated from Ohio University
in 1970. He was drafted by the Denver
Broncos but didn’t make the final cut.
He worked on Dick Crum’s Miami
staff one year before coming to
While Bryant was at Ohio, he led the
Bobcats to back-to-back Mid
American Conference championships
in 1967 and 1968. He was also MAC
Offensive Player-of-the-Vear in 1968
and he is a member of the Ohio U.
Athletic Hall of Fame.
Carolina couldn’t have gotten a
better man to coach its quarterbacks.
Bryant said that both the Carolina
quarterbacks were gifted, but that
they had two different styles.
“Chuck Sharpe, as a freshman has
played excellent, but of course, he has
made mistakes because of inex
perience,” he said.
Matt Kupec, who will be started
against Clemson, “has made a lot of
improvements and is doing an ex
cellent job as quarterback.” said
North Carolina’s baseball team, third-
place finishers in the 1978 College World
Series, will play six games in Honolulu
next spring as part of a 55-^ame schedule.
The Tar Heels will play the University of
Hawaii stt times during the week of March
6-13. The Rainbows, who led the nation in
team earned run average this year,
feature All-America pitcher Derek Tat-
suno who topped the country in total
“We’re looking forward to a great trip
and a tough series with Hawaii,” said
Carolina coach Mike Roberts. “We are
hoping this trip will be the first of several
for us to Honolulu.”
In his first year at the helm, Roberts
took the Tar Heels to the College World
Series in Omaha and guided them to a 38-17
record. Several starters, including AU-
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