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.
25: Michael Tutsie, DB (Sr.) — North Dakota State
After showing flashes of play-making ability and snagging two interceptions as a backup in 2018, Tutsie started all 16 games at strong safety in 2019 and made his name known nationally.
A HERO Sports Sophomore All-American and All-MVFC honorable mention selection, Tutsie finished second on the team with 105 tackles and second in the FCS with seven interceptions. He had interceptions in each of the first three playoff games as NDSU completed a 16-0 season with another national title.
Tutsie entered 2020 with HERO Sports Preseason Second Team All-American honors before the season got postponed to the spring.
In 10 games (one in the fall and nine in the spring), Tutsie totaled 50 tackles and two tackles for loss and was named to the All-Conference Second Team.
The 5-foot-11, 192-pounder makes plays all over the field defending the run and pass. He’ll be looked at as a leader on the defense, and it will be key he plays at an All-American level for the Bison to reclaim their status as the top FCS team.
NDSU allowed 19.0 points per game in 2020-21, which ranked No. 20 in the FCS. The 2019 Bison allowed 12.3 PPG, ranking No. 1 in the subdivision. In 2019, the Bison were tied for first with a +17 turnover margin (23 gained, 6 lost). Last season, they were No. 84 at -9 (7 gained, 16 lost).
Look for Tutsie to get his hands on more passes this fall. He was voted to the All-MVFC Preseason First Team, and we named him the No. 12 returning defensive back.