11th: North Carolina
204th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: After a great run at North Carolina Central, ending with a bit of a tough-luck 7-4 record, head coach Jerry Mack, Jr. left the Eagles to take over the offensive coordinator role at Rice, leaving interim coach Granville Eastman as the head coach.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: WR Jacen Murphy fulfilled the tremendous promise he flashed at East Carolina and Copiah Lincoln CC, with 60 receptions, 742 yards receiving, and 5 TDs.
Key Player: As a freshman, QB Chauncey Caldwell rapidly ascended to a starting role and excelled, passing for 1,411 yards, rushing for 495 more, and scoring 15 touchdowns, while only throwing 3 interceptions. The question is will he continue his development with a new go-to receiver.
Fearless Prediction: The key for NCCU is whether there is a seamless transition between Mack and Eastman, especially considering the presence of Caldwell on this offense. If the transition goes well, Caldwell continues to grow, and the Eagles perform well with the winnable games on their early-season schedule (before a daunting test against the elephant in their backyard, Duke), the Eagles should be able to make a run at the MEAC title later in the year.