Coming off a 3-8 season in 2021, Howard retooled its roster by assembling the best recruiting class in school history led by three-star running back Eden James, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Edgerrin James. There is still much work to be done for a group that might be a season or two away from contending.
5. Morgan State
After losing head coach Tyrone Wheatley to the NFL, the program was able to grab arguably the best current coach in Black College Football in Damon Wilson from Bowie State. The Bears might not contend for the MEAC crown right away but with Wilson aboard, better days are likely ahead in Baltimore.
As quiet kept, the Hornets, at one point in 2021, were real challengers in the MEAC. A 5-6 finish wasn’t exactly indicative of how Delaware State played, losing three conference games by six points or less. Can DSU continue its momentum after losing All-MEAC running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson to the transfer portal?
3. North Carolina Central
North Carolina Central had an opportunity to win the MEAC before an October 27-24 loss to eventual conference champion South Carolina State did them in. The Eagles, however, will return All-MEAC quarterback Davius Richards along with running back Latrell Collier. On defense, NCCU returns eight of 11 starters from a season ago, including interior lineman Tre Turner. If the Eagles are to win the conference, it will have to navigate a schedule that includes road games at South Carolina State, Norfolk State and Delaware State.
2. Norfolk State
For most of the 2021 season, the Spartans looked to be the team to beat in the MEAC, jumping out to a 6-2 start before stumbling down the stretch losing three straight to end the season. Norfolk State lost senior quarterback Juwan Carter and has yet to name a replacement heading into fall camp. Though HBCU Sports All-MEAC First Team running back J.J. Davis is back, the offense will need to find a new identity to compete in what will be a crowded MEAC race.
1. South Carolina State
The Bulldogs were the other Division I HBCU football team to go unbeaten in conference play in 2021.
The Black College national champions will likely be favorites once again to win the MEAC after returning nearly its entire offense, including quarterback Corey Fields Jr. and dynamic wide receiver Shaquan Davis. While the defense did lose NFL draft pick Decobie Durant, depth still remains in Jeblonski Green, B.J. Davis and Octaveon Minter. More importantly, SCSU returns longtime head coach Buddy Pough, who will look to lead the program to yet another championship.