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.
43: Braden Gilby, LB (Sr.) — Furman
Gilby enters his sixth year at Furman and his fifth season as a starter.
The 6-foot-2, 237-pound linebacker has 263 career tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, six passes defended, and six forced fumbles.
A 2019 SoCon All-Freshman Team selection, Gilby tallied 70 stops. He added 36 tackles in seven games during the 2020-21 season. In 2021, Gilby totaled 59 stops. And last season, he racked up 94 tackles, 15 TFLs, and four sacks.
He had a 2022 PFF defensive grade of 78.1, which was inside the Top 45 among FCS linebackers. Gilby’s run defense grade was 82.1 (inside the Top 35 among FCS linebackers). He missed only 9.5% of his tackle opportunities, per PFF.
Gilby was voted Second Team All-SoCon by the media.
After finishing 10-3 overall, Furman returns 18 offensive and defensive starters with 10 back on defense. The Paladins owned the No. 10 FCS scoring defense, allowing 20.2 points per game.
Gilby will be a leader on that unit and is ranked No. 23 on HERO Sports’ best returning FCS linebackers.
Furman is tied at No. 5 in our FCS Preseason Top 25.