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SZN Opener is back with new episodes dropping every week. On Season 2 of this dynamic podcast series, host and noted sports analyst Monica McNutt showcases Black college athletes and explores their triumphs, challenges and aspirations along their sports journeys.

In Episode 3, NCCU quarterback Davius Richard reflects on giving back to his community and beating Jackson State at last year’s Celebration Bowl.

Richard grew up playing football in his hometown of Belle Glade, Florida, known as “Muck City,” an area that is famous for producing NFL talent. At North Carolina Central University, Richard has made his mark at the storied HBCU with his outstanding contributions on the field, in the classroom and in his community.

Richard made headlines in his junior season when NCCU beat Jackson State at the Celebration Bowl in 2022, where he was named Offensive MVP. Also in his junior season, Richard led NCCU to its first MEAC title since 2016 and was voted MEAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second year running.

This year, the senior quarterback was honored as one of 16 finalists for the 2023 William V. Campbell Trophy, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award.

Winning The Celebration Bowl Against Jackson State

Among the noteworthy moments of Richard’s time at NCCU was leading the Eagles to victory against Jackson State in the 2022 Celebration Bowl. It was Coach Deion Sanders’ final game at Jackson State before going to Colorado.

With Jackson State being favored in the media as the projected winner, the Eagles were the clear underdog going into that game.

“When the media was coming out with predictions, they always favored Jackson State,” says Richard. “We just knew going into that week, that it was going to be one of those games where we were going to have to put our heads down and let our work speak for itself.”

The Eagles came out victorious in the end, beating Jackson State 41-34.

“Knowing the obstacles and the struggles that we’d been through that season … then coming to that game already doubted by the outsiders, it was amazing to know that we came out victorious,” Richard says. “We upset everybody that was against us and were able to put on for our university.”

Giving Back To His Community

Richard is using his experience on the field to give back to his community.

“Where I’m from, it’s easy for a child to go down the wrong path,” he says. “Just knowing that I went through the same thing and I had an opportunity to make it out … it was like, what can I do or what did I feel like I needed when I was younger to help me stay away from that?”

As a member of the NCCU Football Leadership Council, Richard hosted youth football clinics for young people in the community to develop their skills on the field with the support of his teammates.

“We wanted to have a football camp to give a chance for anybody in high school and under to come and learn from a D1 player,” he says. “So we came together and decided to do it.”

The Next Chapter

As his senior season at NCCU comes to a close, Richard is focused on his next goal: playing in the NFL.

“The next step is to get to the NFL. In a perfect world, I’ll be able to play in the NFL for a long time and make an impact there. And use that next step to help—whether with the school, my community and my family—to be a blessing to somebody else other than myself,” he says.

Catch the full conversation with Davius Richard above. Listen to Episode 3 of SZN Opener Season 2 on the Urban One podcasts platform or your favorite streaming app.