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.
38: Will Leota, LB (So.) — Utah Tech
In its first full season as an FCS member, Utah Tech (then called Dixie State) went 1-10 against arguably the toughest schedule in the subdivision. It played the likes of Sac State, Weber State, UC Davis, South Dakota State, Montana, Stephen F. Austin, Delaware, Sam Houston, and Missouri State. The lone win came against non-D1 Fort Lewis.
The Trailblazers have a more manageable schedule in 2022 as members of the WAC but still play Sac State, Weber State, and Northern Iowa in the non-conference.
A bright spot last season was the play of Will Leota. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder emerged as a young playmaker for the Trailblazers and a top defensive player in the WAC. Leota played with great range and instincts, and he is someone the defense can build around as it looks to improve.
Leota started in seven of 10 games as a true freshman last fall. He finished third on the team with 53 tackles and also recorded 4.5 TFLs, one sack, one interception, and two quarterback hurries. Leota was one of two Trailblazers to be named on the All-WAC team, getting a nod on the Second Team along with redshirt freshman safety Tyrell Grayson.
Leota and Grayson were recently named to the preseason All-WAC team. As it continues to make the D1 transition, Utah Tech will take some more lumps but hopes for a more competitive season in 2022.