Five names to know in each FCS conference – Part II

NCAA Football

(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.

NORTHEAST

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.

—=

OHIO VALLEY

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.

—=

PATRIOT LEAGUE

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).

—=

PIONEER LEAGUE

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.

—=

SOUTHERN

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.

—=

SOUTHLAND

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).

—=

SWAC

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.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Community Calendar