FAU Football: Previewing the Safeties

There are ten safeties battling it out for the starting position.


Erika Fletcher

Former Owl safety Teja Young (#4) celebrates a pass deflection with fellow safety Dwight Toombs II (#31) during the Owls season finale loss to Western Kentucky last year.

Thomas Mendez, Contributing Writer

The Owls are less than three months away from their season opener. The UP will get some insight on each position on the roster. Today, we will focus primarily on the safeties

Safeties are the last line of defense and primarily cover the middle of the field. They are also expected to be powerful and reliable tacklers. 

To play this position you must be extremely vigilant, trying to understand where the QB is going with the ball, while also being reliable tacklers that won’t miss an open field tackle when it matters.

There are 10 safeties for the 2023 season. We’ll take a look at what the starting lineup might look like for the year and what decisions new head coach Tom Herman might make going into his first year at FAU. 

The biggest hole to fill is clearly the loss of now former All-Conference USA selection and team Co-captain Teja Young, who has committed to the University of Mississippi. 

The team now looks towards Armani-Eli Adams, who started last year and is playing for the Owls for his senior year. Adams led the team in tackles in four games and had 10+ tackle games multiple times last season. He was named First Team All-Conference USA in his junior year and he looks to use his experience and new found leadership to be the head of the FAU secondary. He has a chance to be named captain for the squad, and like stated before he will more than likely fill up a leadership role on the team entering his final year.

Starting opposite of Adams, the Owls will look towards junior Dwight Toombs. Toombs filled more of a special teams role whilst also being part of the defense in his freshman year, but had a breakout season last fall which earned him third team All-Conference USA. He finished the year with 37 solo tackles and four turnovers, which were both career highs for the player. He will most likely be starting in place of Teja Young at free safety.

The Owls have even more depth at safety next season with former four-star and UCLA athlete Josh Moore returning for his sophomore year, as well as picking up promising incoming freshmen Antonio Smith and Fabian Scott, who are both from South Florida and will look to make their names known in Paradise. 

While not playing during his time at UCLA before transferring, Moore offered help for the Owls defensively with a total of six tackles in eight games.

Redshirt sophomore Ja’Marquis Johnson and redshirt senior Kaelen Skipper both saw the field for the Owls last season, but haven’t put up anything statistical.

Much like Moore, redshirt junior Carter Odell has provided assistance for the Owls secondary with eight tackles in 12 games.

A dark horse for the Owls secondary is redshirt sophomore Amari Wansley. Wansley was impactful for the Owls last season, racking up 24 tackles and a tackle for a one-yard loss.

Joining the Owls last season during the summer, redshirt freshman Michael Cates is looking to get an opportunity with FAU in the fall.

Coach Herman has a lot of decisions to make when it comes to the depth chart, but for now it seems like Armani-Eli Adams and Dwight Toombs II will lead the charge for the Owls Safety squad going into the 2023 Season.

Thomas Mendez is a Contributing Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM via Instagram @tmendezz.b.