The Preseason BOXTOROW HBCU FCS Coaches Poll has the defending 2022 HBCU Football Champions, North Carolina Central, at No. 1. All but two coaches did not vote for the Eagles at the top spot in the poll. NCCU head coach Trei Oliver has what most HBCU teams desire in 2023 — a championship quarterback.
Eagles starting quarterback Davius Richard hopes to lead to return to the 2023 Celebration for a chance to repeat as national champions. The senior signal-caller was named the 2022 BOXTOROW Impact Player of the Year and this summer was listed among Reese's Senior Bowl players to watch. Richard completed 199-of-311 passes for 2,661 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in his 2022 campaign. He was 15-of-20 for 175 yards and a touchdown in the win against Jackson State at the 2022 Celebration Bowl.
Florida A&M is No. 2 in the poll, followed by Jackson State, North Carolina A&T, and Southern to round out the top-five teams. FAMU Rattlers' head coach Willie Simmons will enter his sixth season in Tallahassee sporting a (33-12, 25-5) record. Simmons told HBCU Legends at Bubba McDowell's Mega Camp, "We've had three really good years now with nine wins. I just want them to take that next step." 2023 looks to be the year Coach Simmons and the Rattlers can catapult to the top of the SWAC East Division following the departure of Jackson State's head coach Deion Sanders. The Rattlers have quarterback Jeremy Moussa returning for his senior season. However, Florida A&M will have to contend with JSU and Alabama State and Alabama A&M for an opportunity to play for the 2023 SWAC Championship.