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.
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2020 fall-2021 spring rosters
77: Liam Fornadel, OL (Sr.) — James Madison
Two days after JMU’s left tackle Raymond Gillespie gets recognized at No. 79, right tackle Liam Fornadel gets the honor for No. 77.
It’s no wonder starting quarterback Cole Johnson decided to return for a sixth season.
Fornadel was viewed as a 2021 NFL Draft prospect. But then things went a little haywire. The 2020 FCS season got postponed to the spring of 2021, which led to some pro prospects opting out, some deciding to play spring games while still being draft-eligible, and others deciding to use their free year of eligibility to play in the spring and return in the fall.
Fornadel played in the first two games before a shoulder injury sidelined him. He is expected to be a part of the 2021 JMU team and be ready to go when games begin.
It’s a huge deal for the Dukes to get Fornadel back. He’s had a spectacular career since stepping foot on campus.
A three-star recruit out of New Jersey, Fornadel chose JMU over offers from Buffalo, Charlotte, Colorado State, UConn, FAU, Monmouth, Old Dominion, Rutgers, and San Diego State. As a true freshman in 2017, he played in all 15 games and made two starts at right guard as he was named the JMU Rookie of the Year.
In 2018, Fornadel started all 13 games at right tackle and earned All-CAA Second Team and HERO Sports Sophomore All-American honors. Starting another 16 games at right tackle the next season, Fornadel was named to HERO Sports’ and three other All-American First Teams along with an All-CAA First Team selection.
He earned several preseason All-American honors heading into the 2020-21 season before sitting out with the shoulder injury two games in.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder will be a premier offensive lineman this fall, and pro ball is in his future.