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.
15: Marte Mapu, DB (Sr.) — Sacramento State
Mapu is wearing No. 5 this season
Mapu is an electric player on Sac State’s defense. His versatility allows him to make plays all over the field as a strong safety/outside linebacker/nickelback hybrid. He has the size of an outside linebacker at 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds. But he has the athleticism of a defensive back, something NFL scouts have taken notice of.
It took Mapu some time to develop into a standout player. He redshirted in 2017, then played in five games in 2018 while missing half the season due to injury. In 2019, he appeared in 11 games and started two at strong safety, finishing with 18 tackles, one TFL, and one interception.
Sac State did not play in 2020-21 due to COVID. Last fall, the Hornets returned to the field for another successful season. Mapu was a breakout player for the defense, starting all 12 games. He finished second on the team with 65 tackles while recording 5.5 TFLs, three quarterback hurries, a team-high four interceptions, and another team-high 10 pass breakups. Mapu earned All-Big Sky honors at the outside linebacker position.
In the last two fall seasons under Troy Taylor, Sac State has turned its program around and gone a combined 18-7 overall and 15-1 in Big Sky play. However, the Hornets are 0-2 in the playoffs as the No. 4 seed both seasons. The talent is there to get over that hump in 2022, though, with returners like Mapu, RB Cameron Skattebo, TE Marshel Martin, QB Jake Dunniway, WR Pierre Williams, and OL Brandon Weldon. Sac State is ranked No. 7 in the Stats Perform FCS Preseason Top 25 media poll.