FAU Football: Previewing the Defensive Ends

There are currently five players competing for the starting spot.


Erika Fletcher

Defensive ends Chris Jones (#49) and Jacob Merrifield (#50) among the many defenders tackling UAB’s quarterback last season.

Chris Smith, Contributing Writer

With the Owls season opener less than three months away, the UP will give some insight on each position on the roster. Today, we will focus primarily on the defensive ends.

Defensive ends are the protectors of the outside; they are typically in every defensive formation as they are one of the first lines of defense when defending the run. They are usually the faster, more athletic players in what we call the trenches of football.

This will be the Owls’ first season without last year’s starter Jaylen Joyner, who transferred this offseason. With multiple returning players at the defensive end position, it’s going to be a battle for the starting spots on the defensive front. Senior Marlon Krakue and junior Chris Jones are returning for the Owls and should be expected to fill up those two starting spots.

In 2022, Krakue looked to continue where he left off, recording 17 total tackles with a forced fumble and averaging 1.5 sacks through 11 games last season. With that contribution, he is likely to start for the Owls this season.

Jones returned to the Owls after coming into the season opener after not seeing action due to a camp injury this past season. In 2022, Jones had 12 total tackles and averaged one sack a game throughout his 10 games. He is looking to improve this season.

The remaining players who look to move up the depth chart and potentially start or get more playing time are redshirt sophomore Jacob Merrifield, redshirt freshman Alexander Kocher, and redshirt junior Marlon Bradley.

Merrifield had a productive 2022 season for the Owls with 15 total tackles and a fumble recovery. He even pulled praise from former head coach Willie Taggart in his first start, which got him another start in the next game.

Bradley is coming off a productive 2022 season where he recorded two starts for the Owls. He also recorded 12 total tackles and averaged 0.5 sacks throughout 12 games.

Kocher previously played for Keidran Willis at Pembroke Pine Charter before joining the Owls in 2022. He was named Most Improved Player and got defensive MVP honors.

The Owls’ defensive front is looking healthy and ready to compete for the starting spots ahead of the season opener with familiar faces and one new addition. The Owls should be in good hands this season.

Chris Smith is a Contributing Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM via Twitter @chris_smith_35 or Instagram @Chris_smith_4.