Photo Credit: FAU Athletics

The Florida Atlantic defense will be without star linebacker Akileis Leroy for the 2020 season.

According to The Owl’s Nest, Leroy will not be eligible for this semester. Leroy, however, could return in the spring. The senior linebacker did not play in last season’s Boca Raton Bowl after being ruled academically ineligible. 

Leroy was one of FAU’s most impactful defensive players in 2019. Leroy recorded 101 tackles (15.5 tackles for loss) and 7.5 sacks while commanding the middle of the field for the Owls. The second-team all-conference nominee also recorded three interceptions and forced five fumbles.

In 39 career games, Leroy has totaled 146 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. Leroy spent most of his early FAU career on special teams. In 2018, Leroy took over for linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who suffered a torn ACL. 

An alumnus of Lee County High School (Leesburg, Ga.), Leroy was a consensus 3-star recruit in the 2017 recruiting class. As a high school senior, Leroy totaled 92 tackles and seven sacks. 

What It Means

Although Leroy will likely not play in 2020, the senior linebacker will hold a redshirt year, allowing him to return for one final season in 2021. Should Leroy take the redshirt year and return, he’ll be one of the most talented linebackers on the roster in 2021.

In 2020, FAU does not have a like-for-like replacement for Leroy. Senior linebacker Caliph Brice is FAU’s most experienced linebacker after he played in all 13 games in 2019. Brice finished with 28 total tackles and recorded an interception. The Owl’s Nest also reported that Brice is seeing more playing time in the middle and may push his way into the first team.

Redshirt junior Chase Lasater began his FAU career at fullback before moving to linebacker, where he could make a major impact in 2020. In 2018, Lasater played in five games for FAU, recording just two tackles. Lasater did not see playing time in 2019. Formerly a Michigan commit, Lasater has plenty of talent to take over the inside linebacker spot for the Owls.