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.
With all due respect to my guy Harry O’Kelly, Grambling defensive lineman La’Allan Clark will be the best overall player to wear No. 98 this upcoming season. The rising senior was the beneficiary of an off-year in 2016, as Clark didn’t play during the 2016 season after transferring to the Tigers from nearby Northwestern State. When he was finally ready to go in 2017, Clark blew up offensive lines, burnishing his reputation as something of a sack master. By the end of the season, Clark earned a first-team All-SWAC nod, posting at least a share of a TFL in 11 of his 12 games last season.
Thanks to Clark and the rest of a very strong defensive line, the Tigers led the SWAC in both TFLs and Sacks in 2017. They also ranked second in TFLs and third in Sacks across all of FCS football. Perhaps more important than all the stats, though, was Grambling’s second straight berth in the Celebration Bowl.
Last October, Clark balled out in Grambling’s regular season game against eventual SWAC East champion Alcorn State, posting 2.5 sacks and forcing a fumble. We expect more games like this in 2018. Watch for a season of double-digit sacks and a bid for SWAC Defensive Player of the Year from Clark this fall.
FCS Kickoff Countdown: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
CFB Countdown: The Best Player in FBS Football, 1-99