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FCS Players Make Impact in 2024 Hula Bowl

Several FCS stars put themselves on the map in Orlando on Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Merrimack at Holy Cross Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first of the four major collegiate all-star games is in the books with the Hula Bowl taking place on Saturday afternoon in Orlando. With 17 former FCS standouts participating in the game, there was plenty of highlights to go around from the subdivision. A handful of guys delivered noteworthy performances in front of over 250 scouts from the CFL and NFL.

Perhaps making the biggest name for himself among FCS players was Idaho receiver Hayden Hatten. Hatten, playing for Brian Billick’s Team Kai, scored the day’s first touchdown on a three-yard pass from South Alabama quarterback Carter Bradley. Hatten displayed great hand strength and spatial awareness keeping his feet in bounds on the catch.

Hatten would later pick up a big 27-yard gain in the second half on a drive that would result in another score. Hatten was not the only pass-catcher to make a big play. Early in the fourth quarter, Illinois State tight end Cam Grandey hauled in a first down throw. Grandey would finish his day with two catches.

For Mike Smith’s Team Aina, South Dakota State linebacker Isaiah Stalbird was all over the field. Stalbird, fresh off winning the FCS national championship not even a week ago, registered several tackles. Moving sideline to sideline, Stalbird got in on three consecutive stops in a single drive and recovered a fourth quarter fumble to help his team’s comeback bid.

Also making multiple tackles in the game was Southern Illinois DB P.J. Jules and Southeast Missouri State DB Lawrence Johnson.

Holy Cross wideout Jalen Coker made a few big plays late in the game, too, including an impressive one-handed touchdown grab with 2:26 remaining in the game. Coker would have two catches on the afternoon.

North Carolina Central quarterback Davius Richard saw playing time as well, serving as Team Kai’s signal-caller down the stretch as they closed out a 24-17 win. Furman offensive lineman Jake Johanning blocked for much of the day in front of Richard among a couple of others.