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.
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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.
82: Neil O'Connor, Senior Wide Receiver- New Hampshire
In recent memory, New Hampshire has never been shy about throwing the ball around. That's why a proven guy like Neil O'Connor is such a boon to the Wildcats' offense — his ability to make both routine and exceptional plays is what makes UNH yet another near-lock for the playoffs, even in the summer.
O'Connor's exploits as New Hampshire's go-to guy are well documented. He piled up 1,396 receiving yards on 97 catches in 2017 (58 catches for 834 yards in '16). Lesser known is O'Connor's quarterbacking ability; he moved under center during his senior year of high school, and is occasionally featured in UNH trick play packages thanks to his ability to throw the ball accurately. Last season, he completed four of five attempts for 104 yards and a touchdown. He also threw for a 2-point conversion.
O'Connor, a redshirt senior who was showered with All-American praise in 2017, could spend his final season in Durham trying to break R.J. Harris' school record for single-season catches, which was set at an even 100 back in 2014. O'Connor came within three of catches of matching the record last season, so the idea that he could break it is not radical in the least.
FCS Kickoff Countdown: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
CFB Countdown: The Best Player in FBS Football, 1-99