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The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

DaSean Wade Neclos Jr. wins Madden NFL HBCU Tournament For Second Year In a Row

Pictured in DeSean Neclos Jr., the winner of the 2024 NFL HBCU Madden Tournament.

The National Football League (NFL) hosted its fourth annual EA Sports Madden NFL HBCU Tournament during the Pro Bowl Games in Orlando and N.C. A&T’s DaSean Wade Necols Jr. reigned victorious yet again. 

The senior computer engineering student and Washington D.C. native had hoped to win back-to-back games in the NFL’s annual tournament after winning last year, and those goals became a reality.

Pictured is the other contestants of the 2024 NFL HBCU Madden Tournament.

“Not only am I playing for myself, but I’m also representing my HBCU. I would love to go out my senior year as a winner and a two-time back-to-back champ,” Neclos Jr. said before winning the tournament.

Initially, playing Madden was nothing more than a hobby for Neclor Jr. Still, after getting a glimpse of the competitive scene, he realized he could turn his hobby into something greater than he imagined.

“I started playing Madden when I was around 10,” Neclos Jr. said. “I never really thought about playing competitively, but I always used to watch videos. It wasn’t until I qualified for my first NFL HBCU Madden tournament that I lost in the semifinals to the person who won it all. But that first loss gave me a sense of confidence that I could continue to compete in the competitive scene, which I’ve been doing since 2021.”

Ahman Green, a Nebraska native, all-pro running back, and Esports coach at Lakeland University, hosted the tournament alongside Tiffany Greene, ESPN commentator and Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University graduate. Former NFL receiver DeSean Jackson served as a special guest co-host.

“Opportunities like this shine a big light on HBCUs,” Greene said. “And the great thing about light is it reveals the truth. The truth is HBCUs are still incredibly valuable. Over a century later, Black Colleges and Universities are still mass-producing black excellence. Whether on the field, in the classroom, or on the job, which can be anything from flying an airplane to building one…HBCUs have a tremendous amount to offer.”

In this year’s championship game, Neclos Jr. faced off against Dametri Hill, a Fort Valley State University senior. Both competitors used the Buffalo Bills as their team. But in the end, Neclos Jr. Defeated Hill 28-22.

The game was broadcast live on EAMaddenNFL’s Twitch account, which garnered over 600,000 viewers.  

“I was very confident going into the match,” Neclos Jr. said. “After winning last year, I kinda had an idea of what I needed to do to win. The only thing that concerned me a little was that many of the competitors watched my streams so they could pick up on some of my strategies. But in the end, I was glad to get the win.”

The tournament was one of many things the HBCU contestants got to experience over the weekend. The NFL allowed contestants to delve into the professional side of football, where students got to meet with EA Sports executives who’ve worked behind the scenes with the Madden franchise and shadow NFL executives throughout the week.

Now that Neclos Jr. is set to graduate, he can no longer compete in the Madden NFL HBCU Tournament. However, the senior has set even higher goals and hopes to take his gaming to yet another level.

“I want to continue to grow my platform, especially his Twitch account, so more of the world can see my talent,” Neclos Jr. said. “Next up, I’d love to win a Madden Championship Series belt, but I know it’ll take some hard work and dedication. But I’m prepared for it.”

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