When you take a glance at the North Carolina Central Eagles’ football roster, you’ll notice a few things.
One, it’s full of scholarship players. In fact, the Eagles are the first fully-scholarshipped Division 1 program the Charlotte 49ers have faced so far. (Campbell is in FCS but does not offer scholarships while Chowan is a Division II program).
Two, many of those players played high school ball in the Charlotte area.
Thirteen of the young men that will suit up on Saturday to take on the Niners attended schools within the city limits before settling at Central. Three of them (freshman RB Reginald Baker, redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Daniel Rhodes and freshman D-back Darryl Campbell-Pierce) played for state and national power Independence, while two others (redshirt senior linebackers Allonte Tuppins and Matt Cornelius) were teammates at equally-powerful Butler.
That fact hasn’t been lost on the Charlotte players; many of them have seen some of the Eagles’ players in high school, with some playing on the same team. Redshirt freshman wideout Austin Duke suited up with Baker, Rhodes and Campbell-Pierce with Indy, one of Butler’s most bitter rivals. Reserve freshmen end Karrington King was a year behind Eagles sophomore DB Cam Sullivan on the Harding squad a few years ago. West Mecklenburg alums Corey Nesmith Jr., Prince Mayela and Ardy Holmes also should be familiar to some of the Central players as well, among others.
No doubt some of the Central players’ families and friends are making the short trip over to Jerry Richardson Stadium–which means maybe some of these players will have a little extra push to perform tomorrow.