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.
30: Jah-Maine Martin, RB (Sr.) — North Carolina A&T
Martin was a two-star high school recruit who began his college career at Coastal Carolina. He transferred to NC A&T after a couple of years, and in his debut season in 2018, Martin made an instant impact.
Splitting carries with Marquell Cartwright, Martin rushed for 656 yards and seven touchdowns on just 98 carries, earning All-MEAC Third Team honors.
As the feature back in 2019, Martin established himself as one of the best running backs in the FCS. His combination of size (5-foot-10, 220 pounds), cutting ability, and open-field speed was a nightmare for defenses to stop.
Martin ran for 1,446 yards and 23 touchdowns on 187 attempts. His 7.7 yards per carry led the FCS. He was named to the All-MEAC First Team and earned multiple All-American honors — HERO Sports First Team, AP Second Team, Stats Perform Second Team.
Martin garnered several 2020 Preseason All-American First Team honors until the season was postponed to the spring, and NC A&T elected not to play. A 2021 NFL Draft prospect, Martin announced he would return and play one more season for the Aggies.
NC A&T makes its debut in the Big South Conference this fall. Instead of aiming for another Celebration Bowl win, the Aggies now look to make an impact in the FCS national title picture.
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.