Welcome to the 2023 FCS Jersey Countdown. Leading up to Week 0 games on Aug. 26, HERO Sports will name the best returning FCS player by jersey number, 99-0.
Because team rosters are updated at different times across the country and to keep things consistent, jersey numbers are based on last season’s rosters.
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2022 rosters.
40: Macklin Ayers, LB (Sr.) — Dartmouth
Ayers was a breakout player for Dartmouth’s 2022 strong defense. He finished second on the team with 80 total tackles, and he did it in just eight games.
He has good size at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. Ayers turned into a tackling machine last fall, averaging 10 tackles per game, which led the Ivy League and ranked No. 13 in the FCS.
Per PFF, Ayers missed only 8.8% of his tackle opportunities. He earned Phil Steele Second Team All-Conference accolades for his play.
Ayers also earned team honors, sharing the Stubbie Pearson Award with Jace Henry. This is presented to an underclassman on the football team whose character, leadership on campus, high academic standing, and performance on the playing field most resembles that of Charles “Stubbie” Pearson ’42.
Dartmouth looks to bounce back after an uncharacteristic season, finishing 3-7 after 9-1 records in the 2021, 2019, and 2018 seasons. The defense was a positive, though, as the Big Green finished 13th in FCS scoring defense, allowing 20.5 points per game.
Ayers will be a leader on and off the field for the 2023 squad, being named a captain along with Nick Howard, Quinten Arello, and Tevita Moimoi.
Sammy McCorkle will serve as the interim head coach for the 2023 season while Buddy Teevens recovers from injuries he suffered in a bicycle accident in March.