DURHAM, NC – After a historic 2016 season that included a third straight conference championship and a trip to the Celebration Bowl, postseason accolades continue to pour in for members of the North Carolina Central University football team.
Sheridan Broadcasting Network (SBN) and Black College Sports Page (BCSP) have announced their annual HBCU football honors, and a host of NCCU Eagles are represented.
NCCU center Carl Jones and defensive back Mike Jones were selected as SBN Black College All-Americans.
Both Carl and Mike Jones were also First-Team honorees on the list of BCSP 2016 “Baad Team” of Black College All-Americans, along with defensive lineman Frederick Henry-Ajudua. Senior offensive lineman Tarrance Wells received Second-Team recognition, while Mike Jones was also named to the Third Team as a kickoff returner.
NCCU head coach Jerry Mack was tagged 2016 BCSP Coach of the Year, adding to the awards he captured from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the American Football Coaches Association.
Carl Jones, a redshirt senior center from Nashville, Tennessee, was also voted to the AFCA All-America Second Team and BOXTOROW All-America Team as a repeat selection to All-MEAC First Team as the conference’s top center. Entering the Celebration Bowl, the team captain recorded a team-best grade of 91 percent on blocking assignments with a team-high 65 pancake blocks, while only allowing one sack in 707 plays.
Mike Jones, a redshirt junior from Baltimore, Maryland, was voted to the All-MEAC First Team as both a defensive back and a return specialist. As a cornerback, he tallied 34 tackles and five passes defended with two interceptions and three pass break-ups. As a return specialist, he topped the MEAC with an average of 22.0 yards per punt return and was one of only four returners in FCS with two punt return touchdowns.
Henry-Ajudua, a senior out of Durham, North Carolina, ranked second in the MEAC with 8.5 sacks to go along with 13.5 tackles for a loss among his total of 39 takedowns during his All-MEAC First Team campaign.
Wells, a senior from Oxon Hill, Maryland, was named to the All-MEAC First Team after grading out at 84 percent on blocking assignments from his guard position and ranked second on the team with 43 pancake blocks.
The 2016 Eagles collected the most wins in the program’s Division I era with a 9-3 overall record and an unbeaten 8-0 mark in league play. NCCU defeated nationally-ranked North Carolina A&T 42-21 on Nov. 19 to capture the MEAC championship and earn the league’s bid to the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. After sharing the league crown in 2014 and 2015, the Eagles are the conference’s first outright champion since 2012.
The Eagles received their first national ranking as a Division I-FCS program on Nov. 7, when the FCS Coaches Poll announced NCCU at No. 25. By the end of the regular season, the Eagles jumped to No. 18 and finished at No. 19 in the final poll.
NCCU broke the school’s single-season record with 4,614 yards of total offense, averaging 384.5 total yards per game. The Eagles were also the second-highest scoring team in school history with 347 points. The Eagles made more history this season by becoming the first NCCU football team to win a third consecutive conference championship.