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.
The 99-0 countdown central page can be found here.
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2020 fall-2021 spring rosters.
18: Samuel Akem, WR (Sr.) — Montana
Akem has been a matchup nightmare in the Big Sky since his breakout redshirt sophomore season in 2018. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder is an elite downfield threat and a great target to have in the red zone.
He caught 13 touchdown passes in 2018, ranking No. 1 in the Big Sky and No. 6 in the FCS. Akem totaled 59 receptions for 879 yards, earning HERO Sports Sophomore All-American honors and being named to the All-Big Sky Conference Second Team.
In 2019, Akem had 59 catches for 848 yards and five scores before an injury 10 games into the season sidelined him. Montana went on to make a run to the quarterfinals. The Oklahoma native earned All-Conference Second Team honors again.
The Griz elected to play just two games in the spring of 2021. Akem looked to be healthy and back at an All-American level, hauling in six passes for 88 yards and two TDs.
Akem’s play this fall will be a huge factor in Montana’s quest for an FCS national title. The Griz have a new starting quarterback, and All-American WR Samori Toure transferred to Nebraska.
Montana will look Akem’s way often. We expect him to deliver, ranking Akem the No. 5 returning wide receiver and naming him a Preseason Second Team All-American.