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.
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2020 fall-2021 spring rosters.
2: Felix Harper, QB (Sr.) — Alcorn State
A two-star recruit out of Georgia, Harper originally committed to Army before de-committing and choosing Alcorn State. He sat and developed for a few seasons and was the No. 2 QB in 2018 as a redshirt sophomore behind the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Noah Johnson. Alcorn State won the SWAC championship that season, then lost 24-22 to North Carolina A&T in the Celebration Bowl.
The Braves had expectations to repeat as conference champs in 2019. The team faced some adversity when Johnson got hurt three games into the season. But when Harper stepped in and took the field as QB1, any worries were put to rest.
Harper replaced the reigning SWAC Offensive Player of the Year and went on to win the award himself. He went 204-of-338 passing for 2,954 yards, 33 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Harper also rushed 64 times for 169 yards and six scores.
He ranked fourth in the FCS in passing TDs (33), fifth in points responsible for (19.7 PPG), seventh in passing efficiency (160.7), eighth in yards per completion (14.5), and ninth in yards per pass attempt (8.7). Along with being named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year, Harper was one of four finalists for the HBCU Player of the Year award.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder led Alcorn State to another SWAC championship. In a rematch with NC A&T in the Celebration Bowl, the Braves lost again in a 64-44 affair. Harper was electric in front of the 32,968 fans in attendance and the 1.8 million television viewers on ABC. He threw for 341 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception and rushed for two TDs.
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.