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.
70: Vitas Hyrnkiewicz, senior offensive lineman – Youngstown State
Tevin McCaster is certainly a known commodity, but Youngstown's outstanding offensive line might have been the real star of the show in 2017. Outgoing senior Justin Spencer was recognized as one of the five best linemen in the MVFC, and two more Penguins were recognized on the second-team: left guard Gavin Wiggins and center Vitas Hyrnkiewicz.
Hyrnkiewicz, who played at 300 pounds last season, ignited the offense for a Penguins team that ranked 15th in the FCS in rushing yards per game. Their 5.00 yards per carry ranked third in the conference, behind North Dakota State (5.93 ypc) and South Dakota State (5.04 ypc).
All five first-team linemen on the 2017 all-conference squad were seniors. Provided he stays healthy, Hyrnkiewicz seems like an no-brainer to slide onto the first-team in 2018. Youngstown's run game should keep humming.
FCS Kickoff Countdown: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
CFB Countdown: The Best Player in FBS Football, 1-99