Chauncey Caldwell, N.C. Central’s starting quarterback, will miss the rest of the season after suffering a foot injury, coach Granville Eastman confirmed.
Caldwell, who started the Eagles’ past three games, will have surgery on Wednesday, Eastman said.
The 6-3, 230 pound sophomore was hurt at the end of a run during the second quarter of the game against Delaware State on Oct. 27. With less than two minutes left in the half, Caldwell rushed for a gain of 8-yards. It would be his last carry of the season. At the time of the injury the Durham native had 31 yards rushing on eight carries and 39 yards passing. The Eagles trailed 21-7.
Junior Naiil Ramadan finished the game, completing 8 of 29 passes for 88 yards and one interception in the Eagles’ 28-13 loss.
Ramadan has started three games for N.C. Central, all of them this season. Ramadan has passed for 381 yards and four touchdowns this year, and has had 10 touchdown passes and two scores on the ground during his career. He led the Eagles to a 51-14 win over Saint Augustine’s on Sept. 8.
“It’s next man up,” Eastman said. “It has been that all throughout the season, so Naiil will have a great opportunity to show what he can do.”
Redshirt freshman Dominique Shoffner will be Ramadan’s backup. The former Middle Creek High quarterback has appeared in two games this season, completing 10 of 17 passes (58 percent).
The Eagles don’t have a number three quarterback. Sophomore Micah Zanders, who started three games a season ago, left the team to focus on his academics, according to Eastman. If Shoffner and Ramadan both get hurt, Eastman is not sure yet who would take snaps.
The injury comes just as Caldwell appeared to be hitting his stride.
“Everyone could see the game really coming to Chauncey, really opening up,” Eastman said. “He was starting to see the picture clearly.”
This season, Caldwell had 916 yards passing and eight touchdowns, and one interception. He was second on the team in rushing with 324 yards on the ground and three scores. Eastman spoke to Caldwell over the weekend said the always-upbeat team leader is in good spirits.
“I’m really impressed with how he’s always fired up with positives,” Eastman said. “I really wanted him to know how I felt about him and what he had done for this team. I’m sure he’ll be around for his teammates.”
After starting eight games last season as a true freshman, Caldwell struggled in this season’s opener against Prairie View A&M and lost his starting spot to Ramadan for the next three games. Caldwell won the job back for the Oct. 6 game against Howard and had his best college performance. In a five-point win over the Bison, Caldwell racked up 464 yards of total offense and four touchdowns and was named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week.
After that win Caldwell credited the success to a good week of preparation, but it was clear he was starting to find his groove in the offense. On Oct. 20, the Eagles played at Norfolk State, where Caldwell threw a 93-yard touchdown pass to Sherman McLeod. It was the second longest play in school history.
NCCU returns home this Saturday to face Edward Waters.