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.
99: Ahmad Gooden, senior defensive lineman – Samford
Not often will you find a defensive lineman being one of the top tacklers on his team, let alone the conference. But Gooden put up those kind of monster numbers in 2017, finishing second for the Bulldogs and sixth in the Southern Conference in total tackles with 101. The 6-foot-1, 240-pounder was consistently making plays in the backfield, ranking second in the conference with 15.5 tackles for loss and finishing tied for fourth with 5.5 sacks.
Gooden was at his best in Samford's regular season finale in a 26-20 win against No. 24 Furman, which helped the Bulldogs get into the playoffs at 8-3. Gooden had 17 total tackles, 11 of them solo along with 1.5 tackles for loss.
Gooden's play led him to being named the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year along with taking seventh in the Buck Buchanan Award voting for best FCS defensive player. He was named to HERO Sports' FCS All-American Third Team.
FCS Kickoff Countdown: The Best Player in FCS Who Wears Each Number, 1-99
CFB Countdown: The Best Player in FBS Football, 1-99