By Donald Hunt Tribune Staff Writer
Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave is entering his seventh season in the NFL. Hargrave played his first six seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder, was a third round pick of the Steelers in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hargrave credits South Carolina State, which plays terrific football and one of the best among historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for his success.
“I owe a lot to South Carolina State,” said Hargrave, who signed a three-year contract with the Eagles last year. “They helped to develop me. They took a chance on me – mentored me and helped me on my way.”
Hargrave started all 47 games in his career at South Carolina State (2012-15). He had 200 tackles, 62 tackles for loss, 37.0 sacks, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
In 2015, Hargrave ranked eighth in the FCS with 22 TFLs. He led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and finished third in the FCS with 16.0 sacks in 2014. He was a two-time SBN Sports Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the MEAC (2014-15). He played some great football for the Bulldogs.
“It’s just really hard work,” Hargrave said. “I like to say we always get it out of the mud. The one thing about South Carolina State [is] I’ve seen people before me going to the league [National Football League]. So, I knew I had a chance to to go to the NFL just looking at some of the people before me.”
Some of the people who have come before Hargrave at South Carolina State are Hall of Famer Harry Carson, Robert Porcher, Orlando Brown Sr., Dexter Clinkscale and others. Donnie Shell, a five-time Pro Bowler, played on four Super Bowl teams with the Pittsburgh Steelers will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN from Canton, Ohio. Shell played his college football at South Carolina State.
“Going to South Carolina State I used to hear about those guys,” Hargrave said. “I actually met Donnie Shell before. That’s pretty big just for me to see that. Like I said, seeing all those guys before me motivated me to be where I am today.”
Hargrave had 38 total and 24 solo tackles, 18 quarterback pressures, five tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season. He’s looking forward to an even bigger year on the Eagles’ defensive line.
“I’m getting ready for the regular season,” Hargrave said. “I’m focused on being better than last year. I’m showing up every day to get better.”
Hargrave is in Philly representing the South Carolina State Bulldogs. Linebacker Darius Leonard, who played for South Carolina State, is doing the same thing with the Indianapolis Colts. Hargrave and Leonard played for head coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough at S.C. State. Pough has done a fabulous job with the Bulldogs’ football program.
With former Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael, a Southern University product, and Donnie Shell being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, this is a big week for the Eagles, Steelers, Southern University, South Carolina State and HBCU football.
“[Pough’s] numbers [coaching record 136-75] do the talking,” Hargrave said “Coach Pough is a funny guy. He always has different things to say to us. He kind of really knows how to get the group going. Coach is one of the Goats [Greatest Of All Time] in college football.”