When with the Seattle Seahawks, running back Marshawn Lynch brought to sports the term “Beast Mode,” using it to describe a state of play in which his inner beast takes over performance, leading to super-human feats on the field. To help get FAU fans through the summer doldrums while also offering a trip down memory lane, we’ve undertaken our Number of the Beast series aimed at determining the best football player to wear each number for FAU. The Beast at some numbers is easy to define. Taming the Beasts at others is more difficult than FAU fans might think. Here are numbers 41-50.
41. Josh Ballesteros, DL, 2012-15. Not much to choose from here. Ballesteros recorded six tackles in his career – one of which was a sack. Ballesteros ended his career wearing No. 42. Tight end Michael Harrop, mostly a special teams performer, was a close second.
42. Damian Parms, S, 2011-14. Parms recorded most of his 186 tackles wearing No. 17, but he started his career with 42 on his back. He’s credited with 84 tackles in 2014, his senior season, and accumulated 11 tackles for loss in his career. Parms parlayed a strong senior season into an NFL camp invite with Atlanta and later with Buffalo.
43. Robert Relf, LB, 2013-15. Injuries shorted what was a promising career for Relf. He recorded 65 of his 70 tackles in 2014. Injured in the first game of 2015, Relf never made it back to the field. Running back Travis Jones, who made most of his contributions on special teams, and linebacker Julian Myers were in the running.
44. Todd Poitier, LB, 2000-02. Poitier recorded 118 tackles for the early Owls, five of which were for a loss. His 65 tackles in 2002 trailed only Chris Laskowski. He also scored the first touchdown in program history, falling on a blocked punt in the end zone against Slippery Rock. Ted Czepiga likely would have caught and passed Poitier’s tackle totals if not for a string of ACL injuries.
45. Cerge Sincere, LB, 2003-07. With 272 tackles, Sincere isn’t the leading tackler to wear this number. That would be Andrae Kirk (344), a second-team All-Conference USA pick in 2013 and a first team selection in 2014. Michael Lockley, with his five blocked kicks, may be the best athlete ever to play for FAU – and he was the first former FAU defensive player to make an NFL roster. But Sincere’s 7.5 sacks are more then both of them combined, and only Trey Hendrickson managed to force as many fumbles, eight, as Sincere did. A walk-on who became a defensive leader, Sincere is the call here. At least for today. Tomorrow it might be Kirk. Or Lockley. Really, it’s that close.
46. Chris Laskowski, LB, 2000-04. Laskowski is an all-time FAU great, but this one was tougher than expected. Fullback Willie Rose was an indispensable part of FAU’s two bowl-winning teams. Along with scoring 14 touchdowns, Rose is the only FAU ever to tally more than 900 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards – statistics would have been better had Rose not experienced a series of concussions – numbers good enough to land him in Tennessee Titans’ camp. But Laskowski was the heart and soul of the early FAU defenses, including the 2003 squad that reached the FCS semifinals while Laskowski played with a broken hand. Laskowksi’s 295 career tackles are the fourth most in program history, as are his 30 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles. Laskowski joined the Indianapolis Colts, but never made a regular-season roster. The choice here is Laskowski, a former team MVP, by the slimmest of margins.
47. Ed Bradwell, LB, 2005-09. Bradwell recorded 91 of his 150 tackles in 2009. He had five tackles for loss that season and 2.5 career sacks, while earning two bowl rings. Jerrad Ward had a chance to surpass Bradwell, but Ward will not play his senior season after having his scholarship pulled.
48. Trevon Coley, DT, 2012-15. A four-year starter on the defensive line, Coley recorded 39 of his 195 tackles while wearing No. 48 before switching to No. 11. Named team MVP in 2015 when he was an All-Conference USA performer, Coley is credited with 8.5 tackles for loss that season. Currently a member of the Cleveland Browns, Coley gets the nod over Yourhighness Morgan who, along with having the best name in FAU history, also may have been the hardest hitter before concussions cut short his career.
49. Andre Clark, LB, 2004-08. A key member of both bowl winning teams, Clark’s 251 career tackles was only recently bumped from the top five in FAU history. He recorded 17.5 tackles for loss, with 4.5 being sacks. Against Michigan St. in 2008, Clark recorded 16 tackles – the third most tackles in a game in program history.
50. Tyrone Higgins, LB, 2000-04. Higgins delivered in the postseason by notching 10 tackles, five for loss, against Colgate in the 2003 semifinal game. In his career, 22 of Higgins’ 181 tackles went for loss. FAU named Higgins its Special Teams Player of the Year in 2003. Higgins gets the nod over the player who took over his number, linebacker George Allen.
FAU Number of the Beast: 1-10
FAU Number of the Beast: 11-20
FAU Number of the Beast: 21-30
FAU Number of the Beast: 31-40
FAU Number of the Beast: 41-50
FAU Number of the Beast: 51-60
FAU Number of the Beast: 61-70
FAU Number of the Beast: 71-80
FAU Number of the Beast: 81-90
FAU Number of the Beast: 91-99