HBCU Baseball Players to Watch in 2021

With the collegiate baseball season just around the corner, Black College Nines has put together a list of HBCU baseball players to watch during to 2021 season. We assembled a brief preview of players who could make an impact for their team’s success.

Black College Nines (BCN) continues to access the HBCU baseball talent pool and the names you may not know, but could be top players in the making for the 2021 season.

North Carolina Central University 

Austin Vernon (RHP) – Vernon was shut down last season because of injury. He is 6-foot-8, 295-pounds. Before the injury, in 2019, Vernon had the third-lowest opposing batting average in a single season at NCCU in the modern era at .220. Threw mid-90s since healing and touched 100 mph last summer in Texas Collegiate League. Projected MEAC Pitcher of the Year.



Lane College 

Zach Elias (RHP/IF) – Has led team in saves during his time at Lane and batted over .300 with extra base pop. Has shown consistency since arriving on campus. Will hit opponents’ pitching at the plate and strike opponents out from the mound. 




North Carolina A&T University 

Trevor Sheehan (INF) – The coaching staff is excited about Sheehan. The freshman brings some physicality to the infield, can play both left side positions, with plenty of arm. Head coach Ben Hall stated, “I definitely expect him to grow and get some opportunities this spring.” In fall ball showed really good ability to hit higher level pitching.



Prairie View A&M University 

Kyle Smith (RHP) – Was a bright spot at the start of last season becoming the ace of the staff, before COVID-19 cut short college baseball according to the PVAM coaching staff. The expectation is for that to carry forward as he looks to throw his name in the hat as one of the SWAC’s best hurlers.



Sebastian Coria (3B/SS/OF) – The JUCO transfer is primary third baseman, but can play any position and hits a ton. Line drive hitter to the gaps. Defensively, he’s flashed the ability to throw with accuracy from multiple positions on the run. Excellent student on the field. 




Grambling State University 

Cameron Phelts (OF) – Transfer from Texas College. Last season was on pace to steal 100 bases in a single season but the pandemic cut that short. Has speed in the outfield. Phelts can hit to all fields and will go station-to-station in a heart beat.



Texas Southern University 

Roderick Coffee (OF) – Coffee was ranked as the No. 3 freshman hitter in the NCAA last season according to DI Baseball. As a redshirt freshman, finished fourth in the SWAC in batting average, first in slugging percentage, ninth in on-base percentage, eighth in runs scored with 13, and first in home runs with 7. Coffee ranked sixth nationally in home runs in the nation and eighth in slugging percentage. 



Benedict College

Bradon O’Connor (OF) – We expect him to pick up right where he left off before Covid-19 blind-sided us. Brings energy every game and spark needed to win ball games. O’Connor can hit, from the lead-off spot or third in the order, to all fields and will go station to station in a heart beat. O’Connor had 25 steals in 11 games last season. Potential to swipe 100 bases in 2021.



Alabama State University 

Britt Buckelew (RHP) – A frontline reliever who continues to get better and better each year. A true competitor in relief, Buckelew brings experience and a strong mentality to the hill. Potential to lead the SWAC in saves for the 2021 season. 




Honorable Mention:

Tim Ruffino (RHP) – Coppin state University

Kyle Coleman (RHP) – Florida A&M University

Kenrick Mendez (RHP) Bluefield State College

Alsander Womack (INF) Norfolk State University

Janmikell Bastardo (OF) Alabama A&M University

La’Nas Torry (OF) Tougaloo College

Rob Dobbs (INF) Claflin University

Yunior Sanchez (1B/OF) Florida memorial University

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