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FAU Football Spring Preview: Linebackers



Returning:
Adarius Glanton (75 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 sack)  - Senior
Andrae Kirk (70 tackles, 4 TFL) - Junior
Randell Johnson (21 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 2 sacks)  - RS Senior
Freedom Whitfield (12 tackles 1 INT) - Sophomore
Paul Cecere (2 tackles) - RS Freshman
Toney Moore - RS Senior
Michael Copeland - RS Junior
Josh Ballesteros - Sophomore
Javaris Giles - Junior
Blake Nehls - RS Junior

Newcomers:
None.

On the Way:
Andrew Curtis
Robert Relf

-Stats are from last season.

Overview: The Owls return a trio of linebackers with experience despite the departure of four-year starter David Hinds. Adarius Glanton, Andrae Kirk and Randell Johnson have all started games for the Owls and made an impact at one point in their careers. Glanton and Johnson both have the potential to play football at the next level, while Kirk might be the most productive player in the group. Glanton signed with the team last spring out of junior college and registered four games with double-digit tackles. Kirk had his second consecutive season with over 70 tackles, and finished the year with a season-best 11 tackle performance against Louisiana-Lafayette. Johnson (pictured above) missed a chunk of games last year because of injuries, but has registered 153 tackles in 19 starts over his career. Outside of the trio, FAU has depth in sophomores Freedom Whitfield and Josh Ballesteros along with redshirt junior Michael Copeland, who missed all of last year with an injury. Toney Moore and Jarvis Giles, a converted running back, round out the projected rotation of linebackers.

Player on the Spot: - Randell Johnson - Johnson was the teamís second leading tackler in 2011, but missed a majority of last season with an injury. With Hinds no longer part of the team, the Owls need someone to assume the role as the leader of the defense. Johnson should have an opportunity to take that type of command starting in spring camp.

Remember the Name: - Freedom Whitfield - As a true freshman, Whitfield found himself taking snaps with the first team defense near the later part of the season. He recorded 12 tackles on the year and had an interception against Western Kentucky. Whitfield is the type of player who can lineup at defensive end or linebacker and should excel as a standup pass rusher down the line.

Key Stat: - 48 - FAUís linebackers have combined to start 48 games throughout their careers, making this position one of the most experienced on the team. The veterans will be heavily relied upon because of the unproven defensive line.

Forecast: The Owls often used two or three different linebacker packages last season, meaning there are plenty of bodies to fill the middle of the defense. Glanton, Kirk and Johnson should all start the opening game in the fall, with the others becoming key components of the rotation. Look for FAU to shuffle through linebackers in the spring and find playmakers.

Up Next: Defensive Backs

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