(Stats Perform) – Fingers are being crossed everywhere that there will be a full college football season this year.
If – when, is more like it, right? – there is a 2020 campaign, the FCS level will feature many outstanding people.
But to whet the appetite for a 2020 campaign, we’re listing five to know from each conference (with a collective group sometimes counted singularly). There are 13 conferences plus a set of independents in the FCS, and this is the second of a two-part story.
The first part can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/ycvebx3p.
Jason Brown, Saint Francis quarterback – In the NEC’s 25th season of football, its top passer must overcome the loss of 90-catch wide receiver Ra’Shaun Henry to a grad transfer.
Aniello Buzzacco, Robert Morris linebacker – The NEC’s 2019 tackle leader could do it again because his 131 stops were 50 more than the conference’s next-highest returnee.
Tre Jones, Central Connecticut State linebacker – The NEC graduated outstanding defensive players, but CCSU’s big outside ‘backer (6-3, 255) is out of the shadows and perhaps the conference’s most feared defender.
Tom Masella, Wagner coach – The 60-year-old Masella is back coaching at his alma mater for a third time, and now with his fourth different head coaching job.
Sacred Heart running backs – Jordan Meachum rushed for 1,400 yards in 2018, but after suffering a season-ending injury in last year’s opener, Julius Chestnut took over No. 1 to rush for nearly 1,500 yards. They’re together again.
John Bachus III, UT Martin quarterback – In a conference of strong signal callers, the 2019 OVC freshman of the year is coming on strong.
Zerrick Cooper, Jacksonville State quarterback – The former Clemson backup has passed for over 3,400 yards in back-to-back seasons.
Dean Hood, Murray State coach – The Racers’ new leader knows the OVC well, having led Eastern Kentucky to a 55-38 record, two conference titles and three playoff appearances between 2008-15.
Kordell Jackson, Austin Peay nickelback – The defensive catalyst on the OVC co-champ had nine takeaways and three defensive touchdowns.
Walt Wells, Eastern Kentucky coach – Wells was on the EKU staff for legendary coach Roy Kidd’s final six seasons from 1997-2002.
Grant Breneman, Colgate quarterback – The Raiders had a surprisingly poor season last year and needs their standout senior to get back to his 2017 and ’18 form.
Jacob Dobbs, Holy Cross linebacker – All Dobbs did as a freshman was lead the league champion in tackles (93), tackles for loss (12), sacks (six) and takeaways (six).
Fordham linebackers – The Rams’ pair of first-team all-league standouts, Glenn Cunningham and Ryan Greenhagen, get into opposing backfields.
Malik Hamm, Lafayette defensive end – The matchup nightmare went from 2018 Patriot League rookie of the year to 2019 defensive player of the year.
Simeon Page, Bucknell outside linebacker – Entering his senior season, Page is No. 1 among active Patriot players in sacks (22½) and third in tackles for loss (34½).
Jake Chisholm, Dayton all-purpose back – Chisholm led the FCS a year ago with over 200 all-purpose yards per game.
Wesley Dugger, Davidson running back – Last year’s No. 2 rushing attack in the FCS features a senior who seeks a fourth straight 1,000-yard season.
Dalton Kincaid, San Diego tight end – After Stetson’s Donald Parham (2018) and Dayton’s Adam Trautman (2019) were unanimous first-team All-America tight ends, Kincaid may be next.
Patty Viverito, commissioner – The PFL is fortunate to have a talented commissioner who also has been in charge of the mighty Missouri Valley Football Conference for 36 years.
Will Warner, Drake safety – Warner seeks to build on his 15 career interceptions – the most among active FCS players.
Josh Conklin, Wofford coach – The Terriers seek a fourth straight SoCon title, but Conklin’s lineup has the fewest returning starters in the conference.
Drew Cronic, Mercer coach – After replacing his former mentor Bobby Lamb, the Bears’ offensive-minded coach will try to lead their first winning conference record.
Brandon Rainey, The Citadel – The Bulldogs are set to contend for the SoCon title behind their gritty offensive leader.
SoCon running backs – Last year’s five 1,000-yard rushers in the SoCon are back: The Citadel’s Alex Ramsey (grad transfer from VMI), Furman’s Devin Wynn, ETSU’s Quay Holmes, Chattanooga’s Ailym Ford and Mercer’s Tyray Devezin.
Reece Udinski, VMI quarterback – Although many of his chief weapons are gone, the two-time 3,000-yard passer set the FCS record with 368 straight pass attempts without an interception last season.
Tom Burnett, commissioner – One of the FCS’ more influential commissioners, Burnett guides the host conference for the national championship week in Frisco, Texas.
Clayton Carlin, Sam Houston State defensive coordinator – The fact Sam Houston led the FCS in three defensive categories last season shows how it’s not just an offensive program.
Jon Copeland, UIW quarterback – The Cardinals’ second-half collapse last season should motivate Copeland, who has passed for 6,325 yards and 44 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Julien Gums, Nicholls running back – As a sophomore, the Southland rushing leader set program records for rushing yards (1,232) and rushing touchdowns (16).
Breylin Smith, Central Arkansas quarterback – The redshirt junior is second in Southland history in career completion percentage (65.0) behind his coach, former UCA QB Nathan Brown (67.6).
Aqeel Glass, Alabama A&M quarterback – The Aggies’ offensive leader had six games over 300 passing yards and five with four touchdown passes last season.
Keonte Hampton, Jackson State linebacker – The SWAC defensive player of the year as a sophomore led the conference with 69 solo tackles.
Fred McNair, Alcorn State coach – The original “Air” McNair and fifth-year head coach seems to push all the right buttons for a program that has been to six straight SWAC championship games, winning four of them.
Ladarius Skelton, Southern quarterback – The rising senior tends to get hot at the right time of the season, but he still has to get over the Alcorn State hurdle.
SWAC Championship Game – It’s always worth noting this is the only FCS conference with a championship game, now in its 22nd year.