North Carolina Central made history last season with the first Celebration Bowl win in school history as the Eagles defeated Jackson State, 41-34, on Dec. 17. Last year’s team became only the third team in North Carolina Central history to reach double-digit wins. It was the fourth HBCU National Championship in school history (1954, 2005, 2006).
Quarterback Davius Richard was an integral part of the national championship run in the 2022 season. Richard won the 2022 MEAC Offensive Player of the Year and earned first-team All-MEAC honors as a junior last season. He was named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week seven times throughout the 2022 season.
Richard returns for his senior season in 2023, and he will lead the quest to win back-to-back conference championships since the Eagles won three in a row from 2014-2016 under head coach Jerry Mack.
Richard will have the opportunity to make history at North Carolina Central next season. He has the chance to pave a path that can unlock opportunities for generations of players who suit up for the Eagles and look to earn their way to the next level inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
RELATED: 2023 NC Central Football Schedule
The first season in program history for the Eagles was in 1922. Over the 100 seasons of North Carolina Central football … No quarterback from NC Central has heard their name called in the NFL Draft.
That can all change in Detroit, Michigan in 2024 as one of the most storied quarterbacks to wear the maroon and grey will enter the 2024 NFL Draft. As he prepares to enter his senior season, Richard is firmly cemented in school history as one of the best players to come through Durham, North Carolina.
He ranks No. 2 in both career passing yards (6,814) and career total offense (8,210) over his first three seasons. He only needs 2,457 total yards to surpass Earl Harvey for the all-time career record for total offense. Richard is only five rushing touchdowns from being the all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns in school history. He is also currently on pace to surpass Malcolm Bell for the career record in completion percentage (58%).
When looking at the most important factors for evaluating FCS prospects and their potential NFL Draft stock … Richard checks a lot more boxes than many would speculate entering the season. He put together one of the most complete seasons in the country last year but did not receive the media attention he deserved.
Richard had multiple signature performances last season that deserved national recognition. He opened the season with a four-touchdown performance against North Carolina A&T to give the Eagles their first win in the Aggie-Eagle Classic since 2016.
He then led the Eagles to a top-25 road upset against No. 25 New Hampshire in Week 3. Richard had 334 yards of total offense and three touchdowns as the Eagles shocked the Wildcats.
It seemed as if Richard was the best-kept secret in the country entering a Celebration Bowl matchup against No. 5 Jackson State. Richard showed the world his potential as he exploded for 272 total yards and three touchdowns on ABC as the whole country tuned in to see if Deion Sanders would leave Jackson State with a national championship. He stole the show and put the country on notice that “Davius Richard” is a name to remember in the college football world.
Development is a key word that gets consistently mentioned when discussing quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. Franchises want a prospect that has shown the ability to develop over multiple seasons and is coachable within their system.
Richard has taken a massive step forward each year at North Carolina Central. His development in the passing game is one of the most impressive aspects of his trajectory for the Eagles. Richard increased his passing production from 2,020 passing yards as a freshman to 2,661 last season as Richard led the conference in passing yards. His completion percentage has increased by over six percent each year (52% to 58% to 64%), while Richard had a massive jump in passing touchdowns from 2021 to 2022 (15 to 25).
Last season was Richard’s breakout season for the Eagles. He posted career-high numbers in passing yards (2,661), completion percentage (64%), passing touchdowns (25), rushing yards (788), rushing touchdowns (15), and yards per carry (6.1). Richard was named a Walter Payton Award finalist and will most likely enter next season as a preseason FCS All-American.
The 2023 season could be a legendary year for the senior from Belle Glade, Florida. His work on and off the field is something that NFL franchises are consistently looking for in quarterbacks in the NFL Draft. Richard was named the FCS ADA Scholar-Athlete of the Year on March 20. He is somebody who general managers and coaches will want inside a locker room due to his leadership.
Richard’s journey from being a third-string quarterback at Glades Central High School to one of the best quarterbacks in the country at the FCS level is something that fans, analysts, and NFL GMs should take note of.
Whether it was having to convince his high school head coach to put the ball in his hands, to earning the starting quarterback role at North Carolina Central as a true freshman, to being doubted by the world entering the Celebration Bowl … The 6-foot-3, 215-pound signal caller was made for the moment. All he needs is a shot to prove the world wrong, and that opportunity should come in Detroit, Michigan at the 2024 NFL Draft as Richard will become the first North Carolina Central quarterback to be drafted to the NFL.