Not much arm twisting was necessary for the HBCU Legacy Bowl to land its first commitment. Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass, one of the most productive players in the nation, was more than eager to make history as the first player to commit in the inaugural game.
"It was a huge honor," Glass said. "My coaches told me about it, and they said they wanted me to be the first person to do it.
"It's a huge blessing. It's a blessing to be recognized for my talent, and to have my talents recognized by not only the people in HBCU, but NFL scouts and people like that."
Glass easily made himself recognizable, and not only because of physical characteristics – 6 feet 4, 225 pounds – that don't blend in many crowds.
En route to winning the Spring 2021 Deacon Jones Award, signifying the Black College Football Player of the Year, Glass, who will play for Team Robinson on Saturday in the Legacy Bowl at Yulman Stadium on the Tulane campus, completed 259 of 414 passes for 3,568 yards and 36 touchdowns, with seven interceptions.
He led Alabama A&M to the Spring HBCU national championship, was the Fall '21 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Player of the Year, is tied for 11th all-time with 109 passing touchdowns in Football Championship Subdivision games, and is 14th all-time in FCS passing yards with 12,136.
"It's a blessing," Glass said. "I had goals coming into college. I wanted to be one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game at an HBCU, I wanted to be the best quarterback at A&M and I accomplished some of those things. It's just a blessing to be able to leave my name in the history books like that."
The Deacon Jones Award simply was a byproduct of the work, he said.
"For me it's just about preparation," Glass said. "At the end of the day, my coach used to always tell me that separation is preparation. So the guy who's more prepared is always going to be ready and I feel like I've been doing that well with the workout plan I've been doing throughout the spring with my quarterback coach, tightening up little things and just getting better every day."
This week, the preparation includes practice with and against some of the best HBCU players in the nation, all preparing for the Legacy Bowl.
"These are high-level guys and I feel like this is a great opportunity for them," Glass said. "Some guys don't get the opportunity that we're getting right now. It's a huge blessing to be able to play with some of the guys like this. I've known them before I played against them, and to be on the same team with them, kind of pick their brains a little is always great."
In the end, it's essentially a job interview, an opportunity to impress a team that could add him to its roster in the near future.
"At the end of the day, football is football," Glass said. "So for me, I do like I do, take everything one game at a time, one play at a time, one day at a time and everything else will take care of itself. Just keep the main thing the main thing."
On February 17, 2022, Team Robinson and Team Gaither gathered for Day 3 of practice at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center in preparations for the 2022 HBCU Legacy Bowl at Tom Benson Field at Yulman Stadium on Saturday.