One of the biggest questions facing the Seawolves defense as they entered training camp this year was who would be giving them quality reps at the linebacker position. The team’s two starting linebackers from last season, Jawara Dudley and Grant Nakwaasah, have both moved on, leaving a pair of big holes to fill at the position.
Just a little over two weeks before the team’s first game, Stony Brook may have found an answer to that problem. On Aug. 13 it was officially announced that former University of Oregon linebacker Rahim Cassell will be joining the Seawolves for the 2014 season.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 225 pound junior accepted a grant-in-aid offer to join the team, and will have two years of eligibility remaining. After redshirting back in 2011, Cassell played two seasons as a backup linebacker for the Ducks.
“We’re excited that Rahim has chosen to continue his education at Stony Brook,” Head Coach Chuck Priore said in a statement. “Obviously, Rahim has a lot of ability as evident by his success in the Pac-12. We look forward to his contributions as a person and a player to the team.”
Last season Cassell appeared in 13 games for Oregon. He recorded 32 tackles, 13 of which were unassisted. He had a career-high six tackles in a contest against Stanford, and also forced a fumble in a game against Oregon State. The junior from Lakewood, California brings plenty of potential talent to the Seawolves linebacker spot. Coming out of high school he was a consensus three star recruit, and was ranked as the No. 30 outside linebacker by ESPN. Getting a player who has experience playing in a conference as strong as the PAC-12 should be a major boost for the Seawolves.
The Seawolves are looking for two of their reserve linebackers from last year, junior Jeremy Leggiero and sophomore Julian Quintin, to make big leaps in 2014. But, Leggiero and Quintin both have had a limited amount of playing experience at the collegiate level, and asking both of them to fill two starting roles may have been difficult. The addition Cassell should give Stony Brook more depth at the position, and give Leggiero and Quintin more time to develop into quality starters.
Cassell became available to Stony Brook after the University of Oregon announced last month that he would no longer be a part of their football program. His exit from the team came just a few months after Cassell was charged with driving while under the influence. He was arrested for the DUI charge back on May 4, and has a court case scheduled for Oct. 29 according to a report from Newsday’s Greg Logan.
While Cassell’s recent legal troubles may have been a concern to Priore and the Seawolves organization, they were clearly not enough to deter SBU from bringing aboard a PAC-12 conference level talent to their program. It is unknown if his addition will cause problems for Stony Brook off the field, but the team has seemingly found an answer to their linebacker situation on it.