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The Green Bay Packers weren’t fortunate enough to make it to the Super Bowl.
But Eric Minor of Suffolk made the Packers winners on Saturday when he used them to win the Inaugural Madden 21 x HBCU Tournament final.
Minor, a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy graduate, is a junior at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
In November, he survived a single-elimination tournament to reach the finals. He joined 15 other players from the four HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) athletic conferences — the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Claflin is a member of the CIAA.
Saturday, he competed in the final two rounds of competition — virtually because of COVID — that were broadcast on the EA Madden NFL Twitch channel.
And he won it all — including $5,000 — to become the tournament’s first champion.
“It feels pretty good to be the first winner,” he said. “Now, I’m going to try winning more.”
Minor is a computer science major with a minor in cybersecurity. He started playing Madden when he was 14 and played in several small tournaments.
A couple of years ago, he decided to take his skills to the next level.
He entered two big tournaments, including one in 2019 when he tested his skills in the Level Next College Tournament in San Francisco. There, he went against other players from schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-12, Southeastern Conference, Big Ten and other major conferences.
Minor, 20, said he enjoys it but wants people to understand the game isn’t as easy as some might think.
“Even though you’re just playing a game, there’s still a lot of thinking, effort and practice time that you got to put into it,” he said. “You can’t just get on the game and instantly be a great player.”
He plays two to three hours a day during the week. On weekends, he can play anywhere from seven to eight hours.
“A lot of people want to be good at the game, just like you,” he said. “It’s like with sports: If you want to be good, you have to put a lot of time into it. You got to practice and play the best, to beat the best.”
He credits his friends — Caden Anselm, Erek Smith, Chris Murphy and Derek White — for pushing him. He also thanked his parents, Marice and Eric, for their support.
Minor played baseball for Nansemond-Suffolk, but also enjoyed football. He didn’t play but knows the game.
What he loves more than winning is seeing his opponents get frustrated.
“I love knowing they can’t score on me,” he said. “I just like getting on their nerves and getting them rattled.”
Minor said he’s an Atlanta Falcons fan but doesn’t play with them because “the Packers and the Bucs are rated the top teams in the system.”
He hopes this first title will lead to many more.
“It feels pretty good because I worked hard,” he said. “I got that one. Now I want to try to build off this and keep it pushing.”
- Eric Minor
- Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
- Claflin University
- Inaugural Madden 21 HBCU Tournament
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