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MEAC/SWAC Challenge Could Provide a First Look at ASU QB Dematrius Davis and Howard RB Eden James

Alabama State made a bit of a splash this off-season with the addition of Former 4-Star Auburn QB Dematrius Davis. The 5'10, 202lb quarterback is heralded as a dynamic playmaker and led his high school team to the state semifinals in 2020 with 3,553 yards passing, 38 TDs, and 875 yards rushing as a senior. There was a time when an addition like Davis could almost guarantee a SWAC team, at least, a trip to the SWAC Championship, but things have changed over the course of the last two seasons. With the addition of Coach Deion Sanders to Jackson State, along with the increase usage of the college football transfer portal, it is no longer uncommon to hear of a former 3- or 4-Star athlete leaving a Powerhouse Football School and heading to a POWERFUL HBCU Football Program. However, because of the importance of the quarterback position in football, it is always a headline when a big-time quarterback changes programs. If Davis is kicking off the HBCU College Football season for Alabama State, that instantly turns the game into MUST-SEE TV or "I have to be there" event.

Alabama State QB Dematrius Davis could add a level of excitement to the MEAC/SWAC Cricket Kick-Off Challenge Game

Howard also made some headlines this off-season with the addition of six 3-star prospects headlined by running back Eden James of Treasure Coast High School. If the name sounds familiar, it should, as he is the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame Running Back Edgerrin James. Eden James made a name for himself at Treasure Coast with tremendous production highlighted by a 267-yard rushing and 2 Touchdown Day in a 29-21 victory over nationally ranked American Heritage of Florida. James decision to sign with Howard did not quite make the some news as when former highly touted basketball recruit Makur Maker decided to attend the University, but it is quite a boon for the football program, especially if he lives up to the family name.

Eden James, son of Edgerrin James signs with Howard University to play RB and headlines a stellar 2022 Football Recruiting Class.

Howard University has also produced some NFL talent as of late as former Bison Jequez Ezzard was signed to a NFL rookie free agent contract by the Washington Commanders. Former Bison , turned Cincinnati Bearcat, Bryan Cook was drafted in the second round at pick 62 by the Kansas City Chiefs. This talent-rich Howard team should give the Hornets all they can handle in this kick-off contest. The MEAC is 11-4 all-time in the event and tend to dominate the matchup in a very similar fashion to the way they dominate the Celebration Bowl.

The 2022 Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kick-Off game will again open the college football season in “Week 0,” on Saturday, August 27, and will be televised live on ESPN at 7:00 p.m., allowing for a significant showcase for both HBCU programs and conferences. This year’s matchup features the Alabama State University Hornets verses Howard University Bison, and should be one to remember. For tickets, game, and ancillary event information visit

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, also operates the season ending Cricket Celebration Bowl that will be televised live on ABC for the seventh consecutive time, kicking off at noon ET, on Saturday, Dec. 17, from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Cricket Celebration Bowl, which showcases the heritage, legacy, pageantry and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), features the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The MEAC leads the series 5-1. This year’s game will be the second for Cricket Wireless as title sponsor.

The Celebration Bowl is one of 17 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events. Tickets for the game, a full ancillary event schedule and discounted rates at downtown Atlanta hotels will be available this summer. To stay up to date on Celebration Bowl announcements, sign up for updates on and follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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