Five names to know in each FCS conference - Part I

By CRAIG HALEY

Stats Perform FCS Senior Editor

(Stats Perform) - Fingers are being crossed everywhere that there will be a full college football season this year.

If - when, is more like it, right? - there is a 2020 campaign, the FCS level will feature many outstanding people.

To whet the appetite, we're listing five names to know from each conference (with a collective group sometimes counted singularly). There are 13 conferences and a set of independents in the FCS, so this is the first half of a two-part story.

You'll want to know these names:

BIG SKY

Beau Baldwin, Cal Poly coach - The former national championship-winning coach at Eastern Washington seeks to make a splash in his return to the conference.

Eric Barriere, Eastern Washington quarterback - The Eagles missing the FCS playoffs always stands out. Their senior quarterback seeks to get the 2018 national runners-up back in the field of 24.

Jay Hill, Weber State coach - Having taken the Wildcats to new heights, it may be hard for the three-time defending champions to keep Hill from moving on to an FBS program.

Colter Nuanez, Skyline Sports - When Nuanez speaks and writes Big Sky, people listen.

Kevin Thomson, Sacramento State quarterback - The Hornets' disappointing playoff performance motivates their dual-threat signal caller.

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BIG SOUTH

Bryson Armstrong, Kennesaw State linebacker - As a senior, the 2019 Big South defensive player of the year seeks to become its fifth four-time all-conference first-teamer.

Charleston Southern defensive line - The Bucs return three-quarters of last year's All-Big South first-team D-line in Nick Salley, Anton Williams and Shaundre Mims.

Izaiah Gathings, Gardner-Webb wide receiver - The 6-foot-4 matchup problem dominated in conference games while becoming a future NFL prospect.

Kyle Kallander, commissioner - Entering his 25th year as the commish, Kallander has reshaped the conference in an impressive way, most recently attracting HBCU power North Carolina A&T for 2021.

Mike Minter, Campbell coach - With their facilities, fan base and recruiting, the Camels are the epitome of "small school" excellence, but in their third season in the Big South, Minter seeks to raise their stature on the scholarship level.

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CAA FOOTBALL

Joe Fagnano, Maine quarterback - Overshadowed by Albany's record-setting Jeff Undercuffler last year, Fagnano had 16 TD passes with just two interceptions over six starts as a true freshman.

James Madison running backs - There's absurd depth with Percy Agyei-Obese, Jawon Hamilton, Solomon Vanhorse and Latrele Palmer.

Sean McDonnell, New Hampshire coach - After being on medical leave last season, the two-time Stats Perform Eddie Robinson Award recipient returns to the sideline for his 21st season.

Shane Simpson, Towson running back - Second in the FCS in all-purpose yards per game two years ago, Simpson returns from a knee injury with a sixth season of eligibility.

Daniel Smith, Villanova quarterback - The second-year Campbell grad transfer has all of his top offensive weapons back after posting an FCS-high 48 total touchdowns.

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FCS INDEPENDENT

Colby Campbell, Presbyterian linebacker - The standout senior is coming off a Blue Hose single-season record 150 tackles.

Jovan Grant, Merrimack safety - Back from injury, Grant must provide a banner final season because the Warriors' schedule is tougher in their second FCS season.

Paul Peterson, Dixie State coach - As the Trailblazers pointed toward joining the FCS, Peterson went 8-3 in his first season last year - the program's most successful in 14 seasons on the Division II level.

Todd Whitten, Tarleton coach - Under Whitten, the new FCS program went 23-2 over its final two seasons in Division II.

Kody Wilstead, Dixie State quarterback - It's hard to miss the 6-foot-7 Wilstead, who averaged over 300 passing yards with 31 touchdown passes a year ago.

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IVY LEAGUE

Harvard running backs - Aaron Shampklin, Devin Darrington and 2019 Ivy rookie of the year Aidan Borguet are capable of taking turns at No. 1.

Griffin O'Connor, Yale quarterback - O'Connor threw for 1,229 yards in only three games while earning 2018 Ivy rookie of the year, but last year waited again behind Kurt Rawlings, the offensive player of the year.

E.J. Perry, Brown quarterback - The nephew of Brown coach James Perry set the Ivy single-season record with 3,678 yards of total offense while accounting for 30 touchdowns in 10 games.

Bob Surace, Princeton coach - Who knew a former center could be a mad scientist on offense, churning out one pro quarterback after another.

Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth coach - Always at the front of player safety, Teevens also is at the front of winning games, leading his teams to either an 8-2 or 9-1 record in five of the last six seasons.

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MEAC

Juwan Carter, Norfolk State quarterback - After throwing 14 interceptions to 13 touchdowns in 2018, Carter improved as a junior with 23 TD tosses against only eight picks.

Chris Faddoul, Florida A&M punter - No FCS punter had a higher average over the last two seasons than Faddoul (46.4).

Tiffany Greene and Jay Walker, ESPN broadcasting duo - The MEAC grads form quite the combo with Greene (Florida A&M) the first black woman working as a college football play-by-play announcer and Walker (Howard) basically Mr. HBCU, providing excellent, historical knowledge.

Jah-Maine Martin, North Carolina A&T running back - The FCS leader in yards per carry (7.7 off 1,446 yards) benefits from the return of four starters on the offensive line.

Larry Scott, Howard coach - After the Bison had a season of unrest among players and coaches, the one-time Miami Hurricanes interim head coach (a 4-2 record in 2015) provides a fresh start.

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MISSOURI VALLEY

Mark Farley, Northern Iowa coach - UNI is talented enough to beat any opponent on the schedule, including Iowa, Weber State and North Dakota State, and that's just the September portion of Farley's 20th season.

Cade Johnson, South Dakota State wide receiver - The NFL prospect is on pace to finish second on the Jackrabbits' all-time list for receptions, receiving yards and TD catches to former teammate Jake Wieneke.

Mike Kern, MVFC communications - In addition to coordinating media relations as longtime commissioner Patty Viverito's right-hand man, Kern is the FCS managing director, administering the FCSInsider website and serving as a liaison to the NCAA.

Trey Lance, North Dakota State quarterback - How long can the first freshman recipient of the Stats Perform Walter Payton Award go without throwing an interception? He's been scintillating.

Kyle Moats, Missouri State athletic director - Moats made a splash by hiring Bobby Petrino to be the struggling Bears' new coach and will become the 2020 FCS playoff selection committee chair on Sept. 1.

Updated June 9, 2020

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