BOCA RATON – FAU hasn’t been in camp long enough to don full pads, yet its defense already appears to have been dealt a major blow.
An knee injury is expected to end the season of junior defensive tackle Ray Ellis before it even started, coach Charlie Partridge said following Monday’s practice.
The injury occurred during Saturday’s practice, sources tell OwlAccess.com.
Ellis has yet to use his redshirt season so he should still be eligible to compete in 2017 and 2018.
Entering camp Ellis figured to be a starter at a position of need for the Owls. Brandin Bryant and Trevon Coley both graduated following the 2015 season and are currently in NFL training camps.
Ellis began the spring in a three-way battle for the two starting defensive tackle spots and emerged ahead of redshirt senior Shalom Ogbonda and sophomore Steven Leggett.
Over the past two seasons Ellis started seven games, recording 38 tackles.
Without Ellis, Ogbonda becomes the only defensive tackle on FAU’s roster with starting experience. He started four games last season, making 21 tackles and sharing a sack.
Leggett played in eight games as a true freshman. One of his 10 tackles was a sack.
The loss of Ellis may open a spot for one, or both, of FAU’s true freshmen defensive tackles to play this year.
Kevin McCrary out of Daytona-Mainland is likely the most physically ready to play. The Owls also signed Fort Pierce Central’s Will Davis.
Redshirt-senior Denzel Whitfield entered camp at No. 4 on FAU’s defensive tackle depth chart. The Owls also have Josh Kendall at defensive tackle.
FAU coach Charlie Partridge will be available to the media following Monday’s practice for the first time since camp opened on Thursday. OwlAccess.com will update this story when more details become available.