Welcome to the 2022 FCS Jersey Countdown. Leading up to 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.
22: Isaiah Ifanse, RB (Sr.) — Montana State
Ifanse is the No. 1 returning FCS running back, although he is questionable to play in the season-opener after offseason knee surgery. Recovering from the surgery coupled with his high workload last season may result in him not putting up massive, top-of-the-rankings-board numbers in 2022. But he will still be a top weapon in the FCS even if he’s carrying the ball 15 times a game rather than 25 times a game.
Last season, Ifanse recorded an FCS-high 280 rushes in 14 games for 1,623 yards (No. 2 in the FCS) and 10 TDs as the Bobcats made a run to the national title game. The 1,623 yards set a single-season MSU record. The 5-foot-10, 202-pounder earned multiple All-American honors and First Team All-Big Sky accolades while finishing seventh in voting for the Walter Payton Award.
You can go back further to see how much Ifanse has produced for the MSU offense throughout his career.
Arriving in Bozeman as a three-star recruit and the 2017 Washington Gatorade Player of the Year, Ifanse rushed for 1,025 yards and seven TDs on 196 carries in 2018. He was named an All-Conference Honorable Mention and a HERO Sports Freshman All-American. The following season, Ifanse ran for 813 yards on 113 carries with six touchdowns in 11 games, missing four contests due to injuries. He earned HERO Sports Sophomore All-American accolades. MSU did not play in 2020-21 due to COVID. Then last fall was a historic one for the Bobcats, reaching Frisco behind the legs of Ifanse, the emergence of freshman QB Tommy Mellott in the playoffs, and a terrific defense.
MSU has some holes to fill defensively and needs an inexperienced offensive line to mature quickly to keep the rushing attack strong, but we feel they can answer those questions as we preseason ranked the Bobcats No. 3.
Ifanse enters his senior season with 3,461 career rushing yards, which is second in school history behind Ryan Johnson’s 3,646.