May 26, 2017
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Three players represented Florida Atlantic University football's defensive side of the ball on 2017 Athlon Sports & Life Preseason All-Conference Teams, and the names will come as no surprise.
Junior safety Jalen Young was honored on the first team. Junior linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair was named to the second team, and senior cornerback Raekwon Williams was a member of third team.
Young, a Belle Glade, Fla. native, has been recognized at season's end as an all-conference selection by Conference USA (C-USA) coaches and media the last two seasons. As a true freshman, he saw action in every game and tallied 69 tackles, two for a loss, and recorded three interceptions. He followed that up with 100 tackles in 2016, 1.5 tackles for a loss and two interceptions. He led the Owls for much of the season in tackles. He finished the year ranked No. 7 nationally with 67 solo tackles and No. 33 in total tackles with 100. Young is the second FAU player from Seminole Ridge High School honored on the 2017 Athlon Sports & Life Preseason team as senior offensive lineman Antonyo Woods received similar accolades.
Al-Shaair followed up Freshman All-American honors in 2015 by leading the 2016 squad with a team-leading 113 tackles, including 12 for a loss of 37 yards. Al-Shaair, from Tampa's Hillsborough High School, was honored as the 2016 Team Defensive MVP. He was No. 24 nationally in total tackles. He, like Young, has been recognized by C-USA coaches and media members as a postseason all-conference player each of his first two seasons with the Owls. He also was selected as a preseason second team member by Athlon Sports & Life.
Senior corner Williams is the final defensive honoree with a third-team spot. Williams has played in every game, 36, since donning an FAU uniform. The Jacksonville, Fla native tallied 26 tackles as a true freshman and nine as a sophomore while doubling his passes defended total to four. After being mentored by three former FAU players and current NFL roster members (Keith Reaser, D'Joun Smith and Cre'von Leblanc), Williams recorded 48 tackles, nine passes defended and his first collegiate interception in 2017, all while becoming the mentor to a young defensive back contingent.
The Owls will kick off their 2017 season and home slate, under the direction of Head Coach Lane Kiffin, on Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. versus Navy, a game that will air on ESPNU and be carried on ESPN West Palm 106.3 FM. For season tickets call 1-866-FAU-OWLS.
Athlon Sports & Life Special Team selections will be highlighted on Saturday.