We knocked it out of the park this season when it came to the first-year FCS National Awards on Campus.

Thirteen different colleges across the FCS Nation received a special visit from two-time Super Bowl champion Gary Reasons as he was joined by a member of our presenting partners FedEx Ground to make an in-person presentation to one of the five FedEx Ground national player or team of the week awards recipients. Nine of the 13 schools went on to play in the postseason.

Going coast-to-coast and to every U.S. time zone, Gary and our “FCS Delivered” production team brought you the best of the FCS. Here’s a look back to all the adventures we had in 2023.

Week 1: Morgan State Bears

FedEx Ground FCS National Team of the Week

The Morgan State Bears earned a nationally ranked upset and their first season-opening win since 2012 with a 17-10 triumph at No.18 Richmond. Jabriel Johnson’s 10-yard touchdown run with 6:27 left broke a 10-10 tie, and it was set up one play earlier by defensive end Noah Washington’s fumble recovery following linebacker Erick Hunter’s strip sack of Richmond’s Kyle Wickersham. The MEAC squad, which finished 4-7 in coach Damon Wilson’s first season last year, limited Richmond to 264 yards of offense, forced four turnovers and had five sacks.

Week 2: Ricardo Chavez, Idaho

FedEx Ground National Special Teams Player of the Week

Ricardo Chavez, who kicks right-footed and punts left-footed, and both feet put a stamp on Idaho’s 33-6 win at Nevada, the Vandals’ first over an FBS opponent since returning to the Big Sky Conference in 2018. He was 4 of 4 on field goals (long of 43 yards) and 3 of 3 on PATs for 15 points, the Week 2 high among FCS kickers. He punted twice, and the kicks went for 60 and 70 yards.

Week 3: Nic Baker, Southern Illinois

FedEx Ground FCS National Offensive Player of the Week

Nic Baker was in command of the second half of the 91st War of the Wheel rivalry game, passing for 404 of his 458 yards to rally his Missouri Valley squad to a 26-25 win at then-No. 13 Southeast Missouri. He was 37-for-51 overall with three touchdowns, including the game-winner on a nine-yard, fourth-down connection to Izaiah Hartrup with 11 seconds remaining. Baker, who had two interceptions in the first half, has three career games above 450 passing yards and 11 with three or more TD passes.  

Week 4: ShunDerrick Powell, Central Arkansas

FedEx Ground FCS National Offensive Player of the Week

ShunDerrick Powell, a North Alabama transfer, rushed for a career-high 256 yards as UCA topped Abilene Christian 52-17 in a United Athletic Conference opener, marking his second straight game above 200 and sixth in the last two seasons. His 95-yard touchdown run was the FCS season’s longest play from scrimmage, and he added three receptions for 25 yards, including a 14-yard TD. His 281 all-purpose yards came one week after he gained 347 against No. 2 North Dakota State.

Week 5: South Dakota Coyotes

FedEx Ground FCS National Team of the Week

South Dakota never trailed in their Missouri Valley Football Conference upset at then-No.2 North Dakota State, with Aidan Bouman’s 50- and 52-yard touchdown passes to Carter Bell fueling a 21-3 halftime lead. Linebacker Brock Mogensen had a game-high 13 tackles, and safety Dennis Shorter added 11 stops plus a midfield interception and one to deny a two-point conversion. Incredibly, the Coyotes have defeated a nationally ranked opponent in every season since 2013.

Week 6: Dylan Kelly, UAlbany

FedEx Ground FCS National Defensive Player of the Week

Dylan Kelly racked up an FCS season-high 23 tackles, including nine solos, as UAlbany posted a 24-17 victory at Towson in CAA Football. His final tackle helped drop a rusher for a two-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the UA 1 with 55 seconds left. Also in the Great Danes’ third straight win, Kelly forced a fumble and recovered it, and had a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.

Week 7: Clayton Crile, Chattanooga

FedEx Ground FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week

Clayton Crile was 5-for-5 while notching a school record for field goals and averaged 48.8 yards on five punts in Chattanooga’s 22-10 win at Mercer in the Southern Conference. He converted his only extra point attempt, giving him 16 points, and three of his punts went inside the Mercer 20, including 57- and 55-yarders. The grad transfer from Catawba also kicked off seven times.

Week 8: Richard Torres, UIW

FedEx Ground FCS National Freshman Player of the Week

With UIW’s starting quarterback sidelined by injury and its No. 2 signal caller struggling against winless McNeese, Richard Torres came off the bench after halftime to rally the Cardinals (6-1) to a 35-24 win in the Southland. While reversing a 24-7 deficit in the final 19 minutes, 10 seconds, Torres passed for three touchdowns and rushed for one. The Nebraska transfer, who went back to his hometown at UIW, completed 11 of 18 passes for 161 yards.

Week 9: Mike DiLiello, Austin Peay

FedEx Ground FCS National Offensive Player of the Week

Mike DiLiello tied the Governors’ single-game record with six touchdown passes – each to a different receiver – while directing a 49-39 win over North Alabama in the United Athletic Conference. He completed 20 of 25 passes for 353 yards (one was an 87-yard TD) and a 277.8 pass efficiency rating (sixth-best in the FCS this season). In a six-game winning streak, DiLiello has 23 combined passing and rushing touchdowns.

Week 10: Keenan Leachman, Alcorn State

FedEx Ground FCS National Defensive Player of the Week

A grad transfer from Northwestern State, Keenan Leachman scored on two of his three takeaways and the other one set up the Braves offense for a score as they beat Southern 44-21 in a SWAC West Division first-place showdown. Leachman turned a strip sack into a 27-yard fumble return for a touchdown and scored on an 88-yard pick-six. He added another interception and was in on three tackles, including two solos.

Week 11: Howard Bison

FedEx Ground FCS National Team of the Week

Howard routed North Carolina Central to end a 10-game losing streak in the series and prevent the Eagles from clinching the MEAC’s Celebration Bowl bid. Quarterback Quinton Williams accounted for 292 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, and defensive Darrian Brokenburr had a team-high seven tackles, including two sacks. After changing the postseason scenario, coach Larry Scott’s squad can secure the school’s first Celebration Bowl appearance with a win over Morgan State.

Week 12: Drake Bulldogs

FedEx Ground FCS National Team of the Week

Drake (8-3, 8-0) completed a perfect run through the Pioneer Football League to secure its first FCS playoff bid. Dorian Boyland’s go-ahead, two-yard touchdown run with 2:43 left was the difference for the Bulldogs’ first outright league title since 2004. Incredibly, coach Todd Stepsis’ team has gone directly from a 10-game losing streak in the PFL (over the 2021 and ’22 seasons) to an 11-game league winning streak (including eight wins by seven points or less).

Tommy Mellott, Montana State

2023 FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award

Since arriving at Montana State for the fall 2020 semester, Tommy Mellott has volunteered over 200 hours of community service, with emphasis on teen mental health.

He’s partnered with the foundation I Love This Life, a suicide awareness and prevention non-profit, and used his NIL – name, image and likeness deals on commercial and sports apparel – to put his face toward causes. He’s part of a Hope and Love (HOLO) brand awareness campaign for a crisis hotline that encourages others to seek support. Additionally, he has volunteered for over two years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, participating with youth camps and speaking engagements in Butte and Montana State’s Bozeman community. 

Mellott carries a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in financial engineering and is on pace to graduate next December. On the field, the 6-foot, 192-pound quarterback became MSU’s starter at, of all times, the start of the 2021 FCS playoffs, but he accounted for 11 touchdowns via pass, run and reception in three wins and helped the Bobcats advance to the national championship game and a runner-up finish.

The two-time team captain was a Stats Perform All-American and a Walter Payton Award finalist during MSU’s 2022 Big Sky Conference championship season, and he’s totaled over 5,700 yards of total offense with 53 total touchdowns in 33 career games. The Bobcats are 32-9 over his three seasons.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Mellott says he wants to influence younger people to aspire to be greater than they’ve even imagined for themselves.