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.
The 99-0 countdown central page can be found here.
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2022 rosters.
90: Finn Claypool, DL (Soph.) — Drake
Claypool was a breakout star in 2022, becoming one of the more feared defensive players in the Pioneer Football League and a top young player in the FCS.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pounder racked up 48 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and 11 quarterback hurries. He was productive against Drake’s top opponents, recording a TFL against North Dakota State, a sack against Idaho, and a season-high seven total tackles against PFL champ St. Thomas.
Claypool’s overall defensive grade on PFF of 92.2 was the second-highest among FCS edge defenders, trailing Central Arkansas’ David Walker (92.9).
He has a special gift of getting after the quarterback, and his pass rush grade of 93.3 was No. 1 in the FCS.
Even with more attention on him, Claypool was dominant down the stretch, totaling 8.5 TFLs in the last three games and four sacks.
Claypool was named the Pioneer Football League Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team. He also garnered HERO Sports Freshman All-American honors and finished 13th in voting for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the best FCS freshman.
Claypool’s highly-productive and highly-graded freshman season opens the door for a special career ahead with many more postseason accolades to come.