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.
85: Isaiah Gerena, TE (Jr.) — Northern Arizona
Note: Jersey numbers are based on 2022 rosters. Gerena is wearing No. 88 this season
Gerena was a great transfer portal get for NAU last offseason. He arrived from Morgan State, where Gerena earned 2021 All-MEAC Second Team honors.
Already loaded with talented WRs, the Lumberjacks landed a tight end who is a threat as a pass-catcher and an extension of the offensive line in the running game.
In his debut season at NAU, Gerena caught 27 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder had the fifth most catches and was the top tight end on a team that finished No. 19 in FCS passing offense (266.4 yards per game).
“He’s an explosive player — he can both run and block — so being able to have him in the passing game’s really going to help us,” last year’s starting QB RJ Martinez said. “We’re normally in 11 personnel anyway, so having him as a viable option to throw the ball to on third down or whatever we need to will really help our offense.”
Martinez transferred to Baylor this offseason, leaving the starting QB job open. NAU brought in Cal transfer Kai Millner and Montana transfer Daniel Britt to build the competition for that spot.
With Gerena returning alongside last year’s Top 3 WRs (Coleman Owen, Hendrix Johnson, and Jamal Glaspie), the Lumberjacks have no shortage of weapons for the new signal-caller.