Welcome to the 2022 FCS Jersey Countdown. Leading up to the start of weekly college football odds and Week 0 games on Aug. 27, HERO Sports will 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 last season’s rosters.
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2021 rosters.
39: Adam Zavalney, TE (Jr.) — North Dakota
Zavalney has become a reliable pass-catcher from his TE position to complement play-making WRs Garett Maag and Bo Belquist, who are also returning in 2022.
His redshirt freshman season in the 2021 spring saw Zavalney catch seven passes for 99 yards in seven games, but three of those catches went for touchdowns to tie for the team lead. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound North Dakota native played a bigger role in the offense last season. He recorded 20 receptions for 303 yards and four scores. Only three FCS tight ends had more than Zavalney’s 15.15 yards per reception.
Zavalney’s best game was against FBS Utah State with five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. He recorded at least one catch in 10 of UND’s 11 games.
The Fighting Hawks finished 5-6 last season and 3-5 in the MVFC. All five conference defeats were one-possession losses against playoff teams. The 2022 schedule will be daunting again (at Nebraska to start, three of the first four FCS opponents made the 2021 playoffs, and the fourth is a tough road trip to Northern Arizona), but an experienced team looks to turn last year’s close losses into wins and return to the playoffs. Zavalney is now a veteran on the squad, and he’ll be a big part of UND’s offensive success as HERO Sports’ No. 21 returning FCS tight end.