BOCA RATON – FAU will be without its leading tackler for spring football practice.
Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair underwent shoulder surgery to repair an injury that bothered him much of the season. Al-Shaair said he will be ready to go for fall camp.
In 2016, his sophomore season, Al-Shaair led the Owls with 113 tackles, good enough for fourth in Conference USA. His 12 tackles for loss were second only to Trey Hendrickson among the Owls.
As a true freshman in 2015 Al-Shaair recorded 94 tackles, earning All-Freshman honors from USA Today. Prior to the 2016 season Conference USA coaches made him a Preseason All-Conference USA choice.
Missing spring drills could prove more important than usual this year. The coaching change brought with it a new defensive coordinator, Chris Kiffin, and a new position coach, Keynodo Hudson.
Al-Shaair said the Owls plan to stick with a base 4-3 scheme and that, from what he’s seen, the scheme won’t be radically different from what they’ve run in the past.
FAU returns five linebackers who recorded at least 15 tackles last season.