Throughout the May-August months, HERO Sports is going to name the best returning FCS player by jersey number, 99-1. Due to rosters being updated at different times for teams across the country and to keep things consistent, jersey numbers are based on the 2019 season.
20: Pierre Strong Jr., RB (Jr.) — South Dakota State
Strong is going to be the best running back in the FCS when games are played this academic year. He may have been the top back last season before being sidelined mid-November with an injury.
Strong’s finish to his redshirt freshman season in 2018 was a sign of things to come in 2019. He rushed for 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns, going over 100 yards in five of the final six games. Strong was named the MVFC Freshman of the Year, earned MVFC All-Newcomer Team honors and was named a HERO Sports Freshman All-American.
Last year, the 5-foot-11 and 210-pounder averaged 7.1 yards per carry, totaling 1,018 yards and scoring eight TDs on the ground. Strong was named on the All-MVFC First Team, a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American and a HERO Sports Second Team All-American.
Strong has all the tools to play at the next level when his career with the Jacks is done. It’s scary to think the 2020 preseason First Team All-American is just a junior.
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.