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.
7: Ty Okada, DB (Sr.) — Montana State
Okada was a key presence for a strong defense that helped lead Montana State to last season’s national title game. He’s going to be looked at to lead the unit even more in 2022 after the graduation of multiple star players.
It wasn’t the easiest path for Okada to be a contributor on the defense. He redshirted in 2017, then played on special teams in 2018. Okada missed the first eight games due to injury in 2019 before finishing with 15 tackles in seven contests as the Bobcats reached the semifinals.
MSU then went nearly two years without playing a game, opting out of the COVID-impacted 2020 fall/2021 spring season. Finally returning to the field last fall under first-year head coach Brent Vigen, MSU took a giant step forward as a program. And Okada was fantastic to help vault the Bobcats into a title contender.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder showed his versatility as a defender, playing a safety/nickel spot for the Bobcats. Okada totaled 78 tackles, six TFLs, one forced fumble, two interceptions, and six pass breakups. He earned All-Big Sky Conference Second Team honors.
MSU finished 12-3 overall and 7-1 in the Big Sky. The Bobcats went on a memorable playoff run and reached its first national championship game since 1984, losing 38-10 to North Dakota State. They expect to make a deep push again as the preseason No. 4 team in the Stats Perform Top 25 media poll.