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 11-20.
11. Rusty Smith, QB, 2006-09. Four players who have worn this number have gone on to professional careers. David Hinds played three seasons for Ottawa in the CFL. Trevon Coley is currently with the Cleveland Browns. Trey Hendrickson, who barely missed out on being the selection at No. 9 and gets edged out again here, is with the New Orleans Saints. But the choice here is Smith, the first ever FAU player selected in the NFL draft. Smith, the 2007 Sun Belt Player of the Year, threw for 10,112 yards and 76 TDs, both tops in program history, while leading the Owls to their only two bowl wins.
12. Jared Allen, QB, 2001-04. Rusty Smith may be the best player in FAU history. Allen may be the most identifiable player in program history. He’s second on the career passing list with 8,100 yards and the 50 TD passes trail only Smith. Many of the 25 wins Allen led FAU to – the most in program history – came when piloting FAU to the 2003 FCS semifinal game. Following his playing career, Allen returned to FAU to become an assistant coach. Allen beats out fellow QB Jeff Van Camp for this spot.
13. Rickey Bethel, CB, 2004-06. Bethel’s career was brief but impactful. He recorded 32 of his 35 tackles during the 2006 season. He’s making an even larger impact now as a member of the Florida Atlantic University police force. Current quarterback Daniel Parr, a redshirt sophomore, will try to make run at this spot.
14. Trey Hendrickson, DE, 2013-16. So Hendrickson probably should have been the selection at No. 9, but he probably won’t mind sliding down to 14 – the number he wore during his first two seasons as an Owl. Last year’s Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year is also FAU’s all-time sack leader with 29.5 – a total that nearly doubles that of second place Cory Henry. Hendrickson is easily one of the Top 5 players in FAU history, and it’s hard to exclude him from the Top 3. As a senior he needed to switch from No. 9 to No. 11 in order to be on the field as a blocker in goal line situations, but to those who know him well the current New Orleans Saint will always be Big No. 14. Former QB Graham Wilbert is runner up here.
15. Randell Johnson, LB, 2009-13. Big and athletic, Johnson recorded 30.5 tackles for loss during his career – tied for second most among players to wear an FAU uniform. With 10.5 sacks he’s one of only a handful of Owls who’ve reached double digits in that category. Johnson has played for Buffalo and the New York Jets since leaving FAU.
16. Cortez Gent, WR, 2005-09. Rusty Smith’s go-to wideout on FAU’s bowl teams. Gent holds most of the important FAU receiving records. His 162 receptions are the most of ever at FAU, as are his 2,491 receiving yards. He’s the only FAU receiver ever to have two seasons with nine TD receptions, totaling 20 in his career. Gent was a 2007 All-Sun Belt Conference selection. If current quarterback Jason Driskel lands the starting QB job in Kendal Briles offense, he may be able to make a run at this spot.
17. Roosevelt Bynes, WR, 2003-04. Bynes 62-yard catch and run on the final play of 2003’s opening game at MTSU gave FAU it’s first victory over an FBS team. Bynes caught nine TDs that season and his 13 overall TD receptions ties for fourth most in an FAU career. The 18.91 yards averaged by Bynes per catch are the most ever at FAU. Worth noting: Mickey Groody, who leads FAU in career punting yards (9,127) and is second in punting average (42.09 ypp), also wore No. 17.
18. Jalen Young, S, 2015-current. Credited with 100 tackles last season as a sophomore, giving him a two-year total of 169. One of the captains of FAU’s defense, Young has already snagged five interceptions. Young won last year’s Ramon Rickards Bone Award, handed out each season to the FAU player who delivered the biggest hits. Young still has two years of eligibility remaining and gets the edge over Christian Milstead, who achieved a tryout with Green Bay.
19. William Dukes, WR, 2011-14. Dukes’ 1,866 career receiving yards are the fifth most in FAU history. His 125 receptions are sixth best. Dukes averaged 3.14 receptions per game and his 979 receiving yards in 2012 are the fourth most in a single season for an FAU receiver. Chris Bonner received serious consideration in this spot, but this one goes to Duuuuukes!
20. Charles Pierre, RB, 2004-08. Pierre’s name is all over the FAU record book. His 3,069 rushing yards make him the only FAU ball carrier not named Alfred Morris to eclipse the 3,000 yard summit. Pierre’s 23 rushing TDs are the second most in program history and his 74-yard scamper against WKU in 2008 is the longest by a running back in FAU history. The Sun Belt named Pierre a second team all-conference performer in 2008.
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