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.
99: Nate Lynn, DL (Sr.) — William & Mary
If there were an award for breakout star of the year in the FCS last season, Lynn would have been a top finalist, if not the winner. After two years of backup duty and minimal production in 2019 and the 2021 spring, Lynn burst onto the scene as an elite defensive player in the fall.
It started with seven tackles, one TFL, and one sack against FBS Virginia. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive end went on to finish his season (10 games) with 52 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 12 sacks, five quarterback hurries, and six forced fumbles.
Lynn’s six forced fumbles led the FCS, and his 1.2 sacks per game ranked No. 3 behind FAMU’s Isaiah Land and Jackson State’s James Houston.
Lynn finished ninth in voting for the Buck Buchanan Award honoring the best FCS defensive player. He was named to the All-CAA First Team and earned several All-American honors: Associated Press First Team, Stats Perform First Team, Walter Camp Football Foundation First Team, HERO Sports Second Team, and Phil Steele Second Team.
Whether it’s a speed rush, a power rush, or using his hands for a rip or a spin move, Lynn has the full toolkit to keep offensive tackles on their heels. He’s going to earn plenty of accolades this preseason as one of the best returning defensive players in the FCS. With a full, normal offseason to develop and to continue honing his craft, Lynn may be even more dominant.
William & Mary was just outside of the Top 25 in scoring defense last season, allowing 22.09. And it was just outside of making the postseason bracket, finishing 6-5 overall, 6-4 against the FCS, and 4-4 in the CAA with a 10-point loss to No. 2 James Madison and a three-point loss to Richmond in the final two weeks.
The Tribe has a lot of talent coming back, led by Lynn as a force on the d-line, to contend near the top of the CAA.