The Top 25s are coming in hot as the 2021 FCS season is less than two months away.
The rankings give fans an idea of what teams they should keep an eye on. But let’s put a player-focus spin on Top 25 szn. In this summer series, we’ll rank the Top 25 returning players at every position.
Whitehead had a breakout season in 2019 when the hard-hitting safety led Delaware with 103 tackles while adding one interception and six passes defended. He was named to the All-CAA Third Team and a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American. In eight games during the spring, Whitehead totaled 31 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, three passes defended, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. The All-Conference First Team selection was also named to three different All-American First Teams.
4. Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston
McCollum is a 6-foot-4 cornerback that excites NFL scouts. The former three-star recruit is a four-year starter for SHSU and is a two-time First Team All-Southland Conference selection, a 2019 All-Conference Second Team selection, a 2018 HERO Sports Sophomore All-American, and a 2021 spring HERO Sports and AFCA All-American. McCollum has 155 career tackles, eight TFLs, 10 interceptions, 46 passes defended, and six forced fumbles.
3. Kordell Jackson, Austin Peay
Jackson is a playmaker at his nickelback position. He’s been a part of the starting lineup since his freshman season in 2017. After two solid seasons as a freshman and sophomore with a combined three interceptions and 15 passes defended, Jackson emerged as an elite DB in the FCS in 2019. He recorded 47 tackles, eight TFLs, two sacks, 10 passes defended, and seven interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. Jackson was named to six different All-American First Teams. He was a consensus All-American again in 2020-21, totaling 55 tackles in nine games with 10.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, one interception, and six passes defended.
2. Markquese Bell, Florida A&M
One of the top overall NFL Draft prospects in the FCS, Bell is a 6-foot-3 safety with great range on the field, making his presence felt against the run and the pass. He arrived at FAMU in 2019 from Coffeyville Community College. 247Sports ranked Bell a three-star junior college prospect and the No. 2 JuCo safety in the class of 2019. In his debut season at FAMU, Bell tallied 61 tackles and five interceptions to earn All-MEAC First Team honors and BOXTOROW All-American and HERO Sports Sophomore All-American accolades. The Rattlers did not play any games in 2020-21 due to COVID.
1. Anthony Adams, Portland State
Draft analysts believe Adams can go as high as the fourth round in the 2022 NFL Draft. A two-star recruit out of high school, he has shown off his ball-hawking abilities from the safety position. Adams’ freshman season in 2018 saw him record 48 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, one interception, and eight passes defended. He led the FCS in passes defended in 2019 with 24 while recording 56 tackles and five interceptions. Adams was named to the All-Big Sky First Team along with six All-American honors. Portland State played only one game in 2020-21 due to COVID, and Adams had nine tackles and a TFL against Montana.
Sam’s coverage of the FCS began in 2012 as the sports editor and eventual editor-in-chief of NDSU’s The Spectrum. After graduating in 2015, he spent three years in the newspaper and magazine industry while starting his work for HERO Sports in the fall of 2016 as a freelancer. In May 2018, he joined the website full time as the Senior FCS Analyst.