Day two of Spring Practice came to a close earlier this afternoon with part of the session featuring wide receivers coach David Beaty having the receivers get accustomed to drills while also catching passes from the quarterbacks.
Below is a quick glance at the make up of the unit for the Spring.
Key Returners: Lajohntay Wester (Jr. 5-11, 165 - 62 receptions for 719 yards and eight touchdowns), Jahmal Edrine (R-Soph. 6-3, 210 - 39 catches for 570 yards and six touchdowns), Je'Quan Burton (R-Sr. 5-10, 187 - 33 catches for 517 yards and four touchdowns), Tony Johnson (R-Soph. 5-11, 175 - 23 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns)
Key Losses: None
Newcomers: A.J. Jenkins (3-star recruit/Dillard) and Jabari Smith (3-star recruit/Jones, won't join the team until fall camp)
For the defense, defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni said there is a lot of work to do for the players to correct the mistakes they make throughout spring practice.
"We had a ton of mistakes the first practice, but you go in and you fix them with the players and you see they want to get them right. They just have to understand what that standard is and how they're going to live up to it," said Bellantoni.
With day two of spring practice having concluded, here is the second of our parliament Owl position previews, beginning with three names at the wide receiver position, and some notes from today's media availability.
Executing The Routes
- Expected to Lead Lajohntay Wester: Slot receivers were successful for the Owls last year, and Wester (pictured) is a prominent example. The junior wide receiver has improved his game year after year, catching 62 passes for a career-high eight touchdowns and 719 yards during the 2022 campaign being the top favorite for last year's starting quarterback N'Kosi Perry. Getting better by the day, Wester will want to make sure his fellow receivers follow suit as well. Behind him comes redshirt sophomore Tony Johnson, who appeared in every game last season collecting 23 catches for three touchdowns and 258 yards. Making major strides from the year prior where he made just one appearance, Johnson received All-Freshman honors from C-USA as he could be handed the torch as the team's top receiver when Wester departs.
- Keep An Eye On Jahmal Edrine: Showing flashes of greatness as a possession receiver last year, Edrine could have more passes coming his way once he gets more reps in the offense. Like Johnson, he emerged as a big target last year making 39 receptions for 570 yards and 6 touchdowns after making two appearances in 2021. His best performances were against Ohio last September when he put up 105 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches and against Middle Tennessee finishing with 109 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. It is probable that he will continue to rise as a top receiver within the FAU offense. Je'Quan Burton could be another receiver to keep tabs on. Having been named to the Reese's Senior Bowl Watchlist last season, he gathered 517 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 33 catches. With this solid display, Burton would be competing in the depth chart for more reps as a redshirt senior this year.
- Dark Horse Candidate A'Ceon Cobb: It's quite possible the Owls could have an "Ace" on their team waiting to break out in A'Ceon Cobb. He barely saw the field in 2022, making just one cameo in the 42-9 blowout win against Southeastern Louisiana. The 6'3 redshirt freshman showed his excellent capabilities coming out of Jones High School where he played for former NFL player Elijah Williams. During his sophomore and junior years, Cobb put together 672 yards and seven touchdowns combined while playing a major part in having the team go undefeated for the first time in program history with a 7-0 record throughout his time there. The potential impact he could have this year would prove to be beneficial for the Owls if he makes a solid case throughout spring practice.
OwlBytes for March 16th
- Making The Catches The receiving unit was sharp going through their drills earlier today. In particular, Lajohntay Wester hasn't missed a step with his movement and timing as he continues to build on what was a great campaign for him last year. Tony Johnson, Jahmal Edrine, and Je'Quan Burton also impressed throughout practice making their catches with solid composure, not losing control of the ball upon receiving them and getting through the blocks wide receivers coach David Beaty (pictured) threw at them.
- Return of the Roc Roc Bellantoni finds himself in a familiar situation having been FAU's defensive coordinator from 2014 to 2016, having coached current NFL players Trey Hendrickson and Azeez Al-Shaair. Returning to the position once again to help elevate the Owls' defense to elite status following stints at Buffalo, Washington State, Utah State, and most recently Auburn, he said it was a dream come true to return to FAU. "My family fell in love with this place and leaving the last time wasn't our idea. We loved it and turned down some opportunities to stay here," Bellantoni said. "FAU has always held a special place in my heart and it always will." In a span of a few months since his return to the program last December, his coaching style has already been embraced by players on the team. "He's the real deal. He's a no-nonsense type of guy, he's bought into the culture," outside linebacker Courtney McBride said. "Nothing gets past him. He's a little strict with us, but it's all love by the end of the day."
Defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni and linebackers Courtney McBride and Jarrett Jerrels headline Video Play.
After Thursday's practice, the team will have their required day off on Friday before going full pads for the first time on Saturday to conclude the first week of spring football.