The unique 2021 FCS spring season is right around the corner. The first game is scheduled for Feb. 13 (McNeese State at Tarleton State), and 22 games are scheduled the following week.
As of this writing, only a limited number of teams have opted out of the spring. With each passing day, it gets more likely this unprecedented season is going to happen. So it’s time to start looking at the top returning players.
This series will look at the top returning player at each position in every conference.
*Not included in these rankings:
Conferences that have opted out as of the publish date
Players on teams that have opted out as of the publish date
Players who are in the transfer portal as of the publish date
A 2018 HERO Sports Freshman All-American and 2019 Sophomore All-American, King is a playmaker from his cornerback position. In 2019 as an All-Conference First Team selection, he finished second on the team with 77 tackles and added 5.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, three interceptions, and five pass breakups.
Cody Cline, Charleston Southern
Cline emerged as a key piece to CSU’s 2019 defense from his free safety position. The HERO Sports Freshman All-American and Big South Defensive Freshman of the Year finished with 73 tackles, one interception, and five pass breakups.
Kedrick Whitehead, Delaware
Whitehead led Delaware with 102 tackles in 2019. The safety earned All-CAA Third Team honors and was named a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American. He enters the spring season as a First Team All-American.
Brooks has tremendous range on the field from his strong safety spot at 6-foot-2. In his first season with LIU in 2019 after transferring from Stony Brook, he totaled 82 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, one interception, and four pass breakups.
Kordell Jackson, Austin Peay
Jackson is a spring preseason First Team All-American for HERO Sports. The cornerback/nickelback was named to six different All-American teams in 2019. He finished with 40 tackles, seven TFLs, two sacks, seven interceptions, two pick-sixes, and one fumble return for a touchdown
Gavin Pringle, Bucknell
The cornerback had a fantastic debut season in 2019, being named a HERO Sports Freshman All-American and to the All-Conference Second Team. With solid length at 5-foot-11, he recorded 11 pass breakups, one interception, and 57 tackles.
Cassius Johnson, San Diego
An All-Conference Second Team selection in 2019, Johnson was a tough guy to pass on as he totaled 10 pass breakups and three interceptions. He also added 48 tackles.
Tyree Robinson, ETSU
A four-time All-American in 2018, Robinson’s 2019 season was cut short by four games due to an injury. He still finished the season with 50 tackles and eight pass breakups.
Ferlando Jordan, Southeastern Louisiana
Jordan is a HERO Sports First Team All-American heading into the spring season. The two-year starter at cornerback was electric in 2019, intercepting five passes and returning them for 255 yards and three TDs.
Shawn Steele, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Steele earned All-SWAC Second Team honors in 2019. He was dominant when the ball was in the air, totaling 18 passes defended and picking off three passes.
Sam’s coverage of the FCS began in 2012 as the sports editor and eventual editor-in-chief of NDSU’s The Spectrum. After graduating in 2015, he spent three years in the newspaper and magazine industry while starting his work for HERO Sports in the fall of 2016 as a freelancer. In May 2018, he joined the website full time as the Senior FCS Analyst.