BOCA RATON – Considering the strength of FAU’s middle linebacker list, one would assume that the list of candidates for the top outside linebackers would also be deep. After all, there are twice as many to outside linebackers to choose from, right?
It didn’t work out that way. Sure, there are some great players at the top of this ranking, but rounding out the Top 5 forced some deep digging. FAU’s tactical move to play more nickel defense in recent years, often in place of the base 4-3, also complicated the choices. For these purposes, nickel backs are considered among the subset of cornerbacks.
Outside linebackers blitz, drop into coverage and pursue the ball on the ground. To accomplish all three tasks, a player has to be strong, fast and intelligent.
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 Outside Linebackers
5. Andre Clark (2004-08): A steady performer for those first two FAU bowl teams, Clark’s 252 tackles rank seventh on FAU’s career list. He recorded 10 tackles against Clemson in 2006 and registered seven tackles in the Owls’ New Orleans Bowl victory. Clark gets the nod despite George Allen taking away some playing time in the latter years. He edges Tyrone Higgins and his 219 tackles in the Owls’ first four years. Current Owl Rashad Smith is well on pace to nab this spot.
4. Chris Laskowski (2001-04): The heart of those early Owls on defense, Laskowski’s 295 tackles remain fourth most in program history. His 31.5 tackles for loss are third most in FAU history. Laskowski participated in the 2004 Hula Bowl and signed as an undrafted free agent with Indianapolis following his career, but spent his career on the practice squad.
3. Adarius Glanton (2012-13): There’s a strong case that Glanton, who recently changed his name to Adarius Taylor, is the best outside linebacker to come through FAU. A JUCO transfer under Carl Pelini, Glanton recorded consecutive 75-tackle seasons during his time at FAU. He intercepted two passes in 2012, returning one for a touchdown. Glanton is about to enter his fifth NFL season, his fourth with Tampa Bay after beginning with Carolina. Glanton’s looking like he’s a better NFL player than he was in college.
2. Randell Johnson (2010-13): From a physical skill standpoint, Johnson stands with Michael Lockley as the most gifted Owls ever to play linebacker at FAU. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 230 pounds, Johnson brought speed and power to the field. Injuries and the adjustment to Carl Pelini’s new system limited Johnson to 185 tackles during his career. His 29.5 tackles for loss do rank fifth in program history. The Buffalo Bills selected Johnson in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Johnson played two seasons with the Bills before moving to the New York Jets.
1. Cerge Sincere (2003-07): A former walk-on who played his way to a scholarship, Sincere led the Owls in tackles in 2006 and was second the following year en route to a total of 276 career tackles – sixth most all-time at FAU. A big hitter, Sincere’s eight forced fumbles ties Trey Hendrickson for most in FAU history. Sincere’s 118 tackles in 2007 propelled him to a first team All-Sun Belt selection and the Hula Bowl collegiate all-star game following that season. Sincere didn’t make it to the NFL like the previous two players on this list did, but his college career was simply better than theirs. That’s how Sincere climbed to the top of this ranking.
FAU Football Top 5 Position Countdown
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Interior Linemen
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Middle Linebackers
- Outside Linebackers
- Special Teams