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OwlBytes: 2024 FAU Spring Practice March 19th - Defensive Line and Edges & Notes

The Owls began their second week of Spring Practice on a cool Tuesday afternoon, and the defensive line had a productive session by utilizing their movement and strength to get through the drills defensive line coach Roosevelt Maggitt Jr. put out for them.

Below is a quick glance at the makeup of the position for the Spring.

Key Returners: Latrell Jean (R-Sr. 6-3, 280), Chris Jones (Sr. 6-4, 255), Decarius Hawthorne (Sr. 6-2, 295), Jaden Wheeler (Sr. 6-3, 287), Jacob Merrifield (R-Jr. 6-3, 290), Jude Okolo (R-Sr. 6-4, 290), Marlon Bradley (R-Sr. 6-4, 240), Richard Thomas Jr. (Soph. 6-2, 245), Kiemar Brown-Richardson (Sr. 6-5, 265), Malcolm Lamar Sr. (Gr. 6-5, 313), Alexander Kocher (R-Soph. 6-5, 245)

Key Losses: Evan Anderson, Marlon Krakue

Newcomers: Kyler Laing (Transfer/Buffalo), Prince Boyd (Transfer/Purdue), August Salvati (Transfer/Kilgore College), Gavench Marcelin (Recruit/Belen Jesuit High), Loren Ward (Recruit/Cocoa High), Thomas Sledge (Walk-On/Cardinal Newman), Gabriel Birnbaum (Walk-On/Monarch)

With day four of spring practice now over, here is the fourth of our parliament Owl position previews, beginning with three names from the defensive line, and some notes from today's media availability.

Holding The Line

  • Expected to Lead Kyler Laing: Among the many additions the Owls made in retooling the defensive line, Laing (pictured below) presents himself as a potential starter. A player who is known for his pass rushing ability, Laing made 28 tackles (19 solo) including 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in 23 games with Buffalo. With defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni knowing his capabilities since 2018, there is a chance that he may play a key role in the defense, whether it be in the defensive line or as an edge defender. Coming after him would be Latrell Jean (pictured top). With Evan Anderson pursuing NFL aspirations, Jean has the opportunity to step up as a leader and prove that he can be the bell cow up front. Described as the "spirit" of the defense by defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni, Jean made 24 tackles (eight solo), four TFL, a sack, and an interception which he returned for a touchdown against UTSA last October. If there is a time where he can show that he deserves to be a starter, that time would be now during spring camp.

  • Keep An Eye On Chisom Ifeanyi: Labeled as a defensive "monster" by Roc Bellantoni, Ifeanyi (pictured below) has a chance to be a starter but first has to prove that he can stay healthy and avoid injuries. In 10 contests at Shippensburg last year, he made 16 tackles (11 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, three pass deflections, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and an interception in what can be described as a comeback year after being out throughout the 2022 campaign. If he can do the aforementioned regarding his health, his rise in FAU's depth chart wouldn't be out of the ordinary. Prince James-Boyd would also be another player in competition to likely be a starter. Having transferred from Purdue, he made a total of 19 tackles (nine solo) including 2.5 for a loss of yardage and a fumble recovery in 20 games. His ability to make plays during fumbles and close-game situations could grant him the chance to be one of the main linemen in the Owls' defense.

  • Dark Horse Candidate Gavench Marcelin: When he joins the team over the summer, Gavench Marcelin provides plenty of potential with his defensive talent coming out of Belen Jesuit High School. In his junior year, he recorded 99 tackles, 32 TFL, 48 quarterback hurries, and 18 sacks. It remains to be seen how he'll compete with a talented and experienced group of defensive linemen for the Owls, but it is possible for him to have a fighting chance during fall camp.

OwlBytes for March 19th

  • Getting Back Up To Speed Seeing his 2023 season get cut short due to injury, Zuberi Mobley has been focused on returning to form to help benefit the running back that have seen Larry McCammon and Kobe Lewis make their departures. In three games last year, he gained up to 62 yards on 22 rushes as the third option behind McCammon and Lewis. His last full season was in 2022, where he ran for 534 yards and three touchdowns on 101 carries.

  • From Buffalo to Paradise After spending five years in the Empire State with the Buffalo Bulls, defensive lineman Kyler Laing decided to take his talents to the Sunshine State, where he believes he can benefit the Owls' defense with the skillset he has. Fortunately for Laing, he was already familiar with Florida having grown up in the state capital of Tallahassee as coaches and teammates helped him adapt to his surroundings almost immediately.

Video Play

Head coach Tom Herman, running back Zuberi Mobley, and defensive lineman Kyler Laing headline Video Play.

After taking a break Wednesday, the team will be back on the field for Thursday's practice.

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