The countdown to the 2018 college football season is on. Four FCS teams are in action Aug. 25 as Duquesne takes on UMass, Prairie View faces Rice and North Carolina A&T and Jacksonville State square off in ESPN’s FCS Kickoff.
HERO Sports is going to count down each day by highlighting the best player in FCS football who wears the jersey number of the number of days to kickoff. You can find the running list of top players here.
*Note: Jersey numbers are from the 2017 season.
52: Mike Ames, senior offensive lineman – Saint Francis
A stingy defense may have been the calling card of the Red Flash in 2017, but today, we're focused on one of the key offensive cogs from the previous two seasons. Rising senior Mike Ames, a two-year starter whose high level of play dates back to the 2016 championship season, is among the best linemen in the NEC.
Ames earned 10 starts at guard in the 2016 season, helping bulldoze space for an offense that averaged just a hair under 350 yards per game. Saint Francis split the NEC championship with Duquesne that season and represented the conference in the FCS playoffs.
Last season, Ames posted a second season with double-digit starts, this time starting every contest for the Red Flash at center. Receding offensive numbers didn't stop the NEC from recognizing Ames — as well as left tackle Mederick Flavius — on the NEC's Second Team.
Both Ames and Flavius will return to the trenches for Saint Francis this year, as the Red Flash will attempt to run its way back into the upper echelon of the conference.
FCS Kickoff Countdown: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
CFB Countdown: The Best Player in FBS Football, 1-99