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.
32: Jordan Lewis, DL (Jr.) — Southern
Lewis is the reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner after a dominant spring season.
In just five games, he totaled 27 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks. The eye-popping numbers earned him spots on several All-American First Teams. Lewis enters this fall as the SWAC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Lewis’ quickness off of the edge causes nightmares for offenses. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder was also a handful in 2019 as an All-Conference Second Team selection. He tallied 27 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, and six sacks. Against FBS Memphis, Lewis had five tackles, three TFLs, one sack, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery that he returned 74 yards for a touchdown.
That was parlayed into a sensational 2020-21 season where Lewis was voted the best defensive player in the FCS.
“It shows a lot about his character,” said Southern interim head coach Jason Rollins said about Lewis winning the Buck Buchanan Award. “His play-making ability to rush off the line and escape the blocking scheme to get into the backfield and make plays is special. But Jordan’s development has been consistent and thorough since he has been at Southern, we are very excited and happy for him. Not only is Jordan a great football player but he is a great person.”
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.