We ranked the Top 5 FAU tackles yesterday. Now we’re moving inside, considering the guards and centers.
Following FAU football’s best season in program history, and with about a month to kill before the start of fall camp, this seems like a good time to reflect on past football seasons and players. Ultimately those thoughts led to a fun question: Who are the five best FAU players at each position in program history?
While considering the best of the best at FAU, players were judged on their performance (statistics), what they meant to their team and sheer physical talent. As part of our research for this list we consulted with former players, former coaches and media members who’ve covered the Owls. Reaching the NFL is an indicator of talent, but players who played professionally weren’t necessarily placed above some who didn’t.
With that in mind, let’s get to the list.
Top 5 FAU Interior Linemen
5. Nick Paris (2004-08): As a center, Paris captained an offensive line that led FAU to its first two bowl victories. Paris protected Rusty Smith those years, and that 2007 offensive line only surrendered 15 sacks on the season. He earned second-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2008. Paris gets the nod here over guards Kevin Miller and Jarrid Smith. Antonyo Woods’ versatility – he was an All-Conference USA selection at center last year – nearly landed him here, too.
4. Mustafa Johnson (2012-13): The junior college transfer brought stability to an offensive line that desperately needed it, becoming one of the Owls’ team captains. A true center, Johnson received a late start on his college football career, but the California native made the most of his opportunity in Florida. Intelligent and strong, Johnson held the offensive line together and was a major reason the Owls rallied to bowl eligibility in 2013.
3. Mike Marsaille (2011-15): The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Marsaille was the biggest cog in the offensive lines of the Charlie Partridge era. Marsaille deserved at least second-team All-Conference USA recognition in 2015, but the Owls’ 3-9 record likely prevented that honor. Still, the Owls recognized Marsaille’s importance, naming him their Offensive MVP that year. If FAU needed two yards, they ran behind “Big Mike.” Marsaille played in the Tropic Bowl all-star game following his senior season
2. Dave Matlock (2005-09): “Tough” doesn’t begin to describe this four-year starter who played in 50 consecutive games for FAU despite battling a torn meniscus and other injuries. Primarily a guard who did play some center, Matlock earned FAU’s “Team Above Self” in 2009 award for playing through all those injuries. Arguably the best player on an offensive line that allowed only 31 sacks over a two-year period, Matlock earned second-team All-Sun Belt recognition in 2009.
1. Dillon DeBoer (2012-16): A versatile, intelligent lineman who played center, guard and tackle in his career, DeBoer is at the top of this list for his play at center. He remained the lone constant that year in an offensive line that started eight different combinations in the first nine weeks of the season. The 2016 FAU Offensive MVP, DeBoer signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, but an injury sidelined him for the season. Most recently, the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers brought DeBoer to their preseason camp.
FAU Football Top 5 Position Countdown
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Interior Linemen
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Middle Linebackers
- Outside Linebackers
- Special Teams