After North Carolina Central went on to capture the Celebration Bowl and HBCU national titles last December, it was easy to overlook something important that occurred in the MEAC a couple weeks earlier:

Howard earned a share of the conference championship with the Eagles.

Not surprisingly, NCCU was a prohibitive favorite when the MEAC preseason poll was announced at the conference’s media day on Friday, but Howard was a strong second and had the most selections on the preseason team.

There’s plenty of reason to believe the Bison will build on last year’s success, when in coach Larry Scott’s second full season, they went 5-6 overall, but 4-1 in the MEAC to earn their second all-time title, and the first since 1993.

Howard lost 50-21 to North Carolina Central in the head-to-head matchup, so the Eagles (10-2, 4-1) advanced to the Celebration Bowl, where they upset SWAC champion Jackson State to cement their top spot among HBCUs.

This season, Howard will host NCCU on Nov. 11. NCCU is the only FCS team to be returning both of its conference’s offensive and defensive players of the year, quarterback Davius Richard and cornerback Khalil Baker, respectively. Howard, though, joined the Eagles with having seven first-team selections on the MEAC preseason team, and their 14 overall picks (out of 51) were ahead of NCCU (13), South Carolina State (eight), Morgan State and Delaware State (six each), and Norfolk State (four).

“You have to tip your hat to (NCCU), give them props – it’s competitive,” Howard coach Larry Scott said during the ESPN+ broadcast of media day. “We’ve got that (date) circled. We’ve got a long ways to go before we get to that game, but, hopefully, we can put ourselves in position to make what that game should be and will be.”


To underscore how Howard is thinking big this season, the Bison feature one of the larger prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class, 6-foot-8, 362-pound offensive tackle Anim Dankwah from Ghana. With offensive lineman Darius Fox and defensive linemen Darrian Brokenburr and Jevin Jackson also on the MEAC preseason first team and Deshawn Ingrahm being named the second-team center, the Bison will be a particularly physical team.

That is big news for quarterback Quinton Williams (1,884 passing yards, 20 total touchdowns) and a host of returning offensive weapons, including running back Jarrett Hunter (867 scrimmage yards, 7 TDs). The Bison’s 28.3 points per game last season marked their third-highest average since 2000.

Notably, NCCU coach Trei Oliver stirred the waters with Howard. When asked on stage about the MEAC co-championship rings worn by Bison players Hunter and Kenny Gallop Jr., Oliver joked, “What rings? Those were class rings?”

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason Poll

  1. North Carolina Central (2022: 10-2, 4-1 MEAC), 124 points (9 first-place votes)
  2. Howard (5-6, 4-1), 98 (1)
  3. South Carolina Central (3-8, 1-4), 74
  4. Morgan State (4-7, 2-3), 68 (1)
  5. Norfolk State (2-9, 2-3), 40
  6. Delaware State (5-6, 2-3), 28 (1)

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

Davius Richard, QB, North Carolina Central

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Khalil Baker, CB, North Carolina Central