BOCA RATON – Andrew Soroh began the season as a player without a position. By the time season ended, he seemingly played every position.
Soroh moved from safety to linebacker during spring practices, switching from a position where he began his junior season as a starter to one where captain Azeez Al-Shaair and Rashad Smith blocked his path to consistent playing time.
When he did take the field early in the season, FAU asked Soroh to play straight-up linebacker, to drop into coverage and even to line up at defensive end and rush the passer.
The veteran’s versatility became even more vital when Al-Shaair suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through the season, catapulting Soroh from a bit player to a starting linebacker.
The converted safety held up his end of the bargain.
Forty-five of Soroh’s 56 tackles came in the season’s second half. He finished the year tied for third among the Owls in tackles. His 5.5 tackles for loss tied for third most among the Owls, with 1.5 of those being sacks.
In his first game replacing Al-Shaair, Soroh responded with a team-high 13 tackles. Against Western Kentucky Soroh tied for the team high will nine tackles.
When discussing FAU’s defensive leaders, the names Al-Shaair, Smith and Jalen Young roll off the tongue. Even before Al-Shaair’s injury Soroh already belonged on that short list. Following the injury, Soroh’s play on the field cemented his spot as one of the Owls’ essential cogs.
Ernest Bagner, who led the Owls with 5.0 sacks on the season, received consideration for this award, as did defensive tackle Ray Ellis, whose late-season surge prompted the Owls to petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.