HERO Sports is counting down the days until the kickoff of the 2018 college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, by featuring the best player in the FBS at each jersey number, from 99-1. Each day, from May 18 through Aug. 24, we'll publish one article showcasing the best player whose jersey number matches the number of days remaining.
No. 89 Christian Rector
USC – DE
Christian Rector wasn't a household name entering USC's Week 3 game vs. Texas last season. The three-star recruit from South Pasadena redshirted in 2015, played sparingly in 2016 and had two tackles as a backup in their first two games of 2017.
Then he did this:
And saved the game with this:
"I think I've proven that I can play and produce," Rector said a few weeks after his breakout performance vs. Texas. "So it's really up to the coaches."
From the Texas game in Week 3 through the Notre Dame game in Week 8, the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder racked up 30 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks for a banged-up line. Then he got banged up, breaking his hand in the loss to Notre Dame. He returned after missing one game but was limited and only had one sack the remainder of the season (below).
Now, the redshirt sophomore is healthy and in a position to boost his draft stock by regaining his pre-injury form.