Welcome to the 2021 FCS Jersey Countdown.
Leading up to Week 0 games on Aug. 28, HERO Sports is going to name the best returning FCS player by jersey number, 99-0. Due to rosters being updated at different times for teams across the country and to keep things consistent, jersey numbers are based on the 2020 fall-2021 spring season.
The 99-0 countdown central page can be found here.
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2020 fall-2021 spring rosters.
11: Avante Cox, WR (Jr.) — Southern Illinois
A two-star recruit out of Rochester, Illinois, Cox began his college career at FBS Wyoming. He saw limited game action (10 games) in two years, then transferred to SIU before the 2019 season.
Cox made a splash right away, earning All-MVFC Second Team honors as he led the Salukis with 47 catches for 617 yards and five touchdowns. The explosive athlete was also utilized in the run game, and Cox carried the ball 21 times for 212 yards and three TDs, averaging 10.1 yards a rush.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder cranked it up a notch in 2020-21. In 10 games, he had 66 catches for 838 yards and five TDs. Once again, SIU found ways to get the ball in his hands, and Cox averaged 9.5 yards a rush, carrying the ball 25 times for 238 yards and one score.
He earned First Team All-Conference honors and was named a First Team All-American by Stats Perform, Athlon Sports, and the AFCA.
Cox’s best performances came in the biggest games.
He had seven catches for 138 yards in a decisive win against No. 1 North Dakota State. In a thrilling 55-48 win against No. 15 Southeastern Louisiana University that ultimately got the Salukis into the playoffs, Cox recorded eight receptions for 127 yards and one score. And in a 34-31 win at Weber State in the first round of the postseason, he had six catches for 120 yards and a TD.
SIU and Cox have big expectations heading into this season. We ranked the Salukis No. 5 in our preseason Top 25 and named Cox a Second Team All-American.
We also ranked Cox the fourth-best returning wide receiver in the FCS.