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.
Akem is ready to remind the FCS he’s one of the best WRs in the country. It was back in 2018 when he splashed onto the national scene, earning HERO Sports Sophomore All-American honors as he hauled in 59 catches for 879 yards and 13 TDs. His 2019 season was cut short by a few games with an injury, but he still caught another 59 passes for 848 yards and five TDs to be named to the All-Big Sky Second Team. Akem appears to be back to 100 percent as Montana played two games in the spring. He had six catches for 88 yards and two TDs. Montana All-American WR Samori Toure transferred to Nebraska, so expect Akem to get plenty of targets this fall and produce at a high level.
4. Avante Cox, Southern Illinois
Cox is a big-time playmaker and added some offensive explosion for SIU when he transferred from Wyoming in 2019. A Second Team All-MVFC selection, he recorded 47 catches for 617 yards and five TDs. Cox took his game to another level in 2020-21, catching 66 passes for 838 yards and five scores. He also rushed for 238 yards and one touchdown, averaging 9.5 yards per carry. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder was named to four All-American First Teams.
3. Tyler Hudson, Central Arkansas
Hudson and Lujuan Winningham (No. 13 above) are the best WR combo in the FCS. A three-star recruit, Hudson immediately made an impact with 55 catches for 975 yards and 12 TDs in 2019 to earn HERO Sports Freshman All-American honors. He can stretch the field as well as anyone in the country at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. Named to multiple 2020-21 All-American teams, Hudson played in 10 games during the fall and had 50 receptions for 845 yards and seven TDs.
2. Jakob Herres, VMI
Herres is a massive target that catches anything in his vicinity at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds. His breakout season came in 2019 as a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American, hauling in 72 receptions for 1,091 yards and eight TDs. Herres was a multi-time All-American selection in the spring, dominating again with 80 catches in eight games for 978 yards and eight TDs. In three seasons, he has 179 catches, 2,506 receiving yards, and 21 TDs.
1. Jequez Ezzard, Sam Houston
Ezzard is a human highlight reel and absolutely electric with the ball in his hands. Nearly impossible to bring down 1-on-1, he is a nightmare to defend. After a couple of All-American seasons at Howard, Ezzard transferred to SHSU. In his debut season, he helped the Bearkats go undefeated and win the national championship with his dazzling play. A HERO Sports All-American selection, Ezzard caught 38 passes for 861 yards and nine TDs, rushed for one TD, and averaged 17.4 yards per punt return with two more scores. He averaged a ridiculous 22.7 yards per catch.
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.