BOCA RATON — There is a laundry list of college football teams with siblings playing with one another. Add Floridspan Atlspanntic to the list as wide receiver LaJohntay Wester and linebacker Jaylen Wester have been making names for themselves this season.
With the annual Shula Bowl against Florida International on Saturday, the Wester brothers hope to make a huge impact as FAU is vying for bowl eligibility.
It was always the plan for the Palmetto natives to be on the same team together. The sophomore offensive playmaker said that this dream started earlier than some may think.
“We’ve been dreaming about this ever since we came out of our mom,” LaJohntay said. “The mission is not complete yet because hopefully we will be able to play on the same NFL team.”
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The Palmetto natives were first put on notice last season. LaJohntay became a favorite target of quarterback N’Kosi Perry. He led the team with 702 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Through nine games, he has 572 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. At the end of September, he was tied for first in the nation in touchdown receptions.
Perry said he and LaJohntay have been working together to form a connection and with the results so far, it’s paid off.
“LaJohntay has been playing some of the best ball he’s played in his life,” Perry said. “Every single day he comes to practice ready to work and that’s why I think he goes out there on Saturdays and makes it look easy.”
FAU coach Willie Taggart agreed with his starting quarterback that LaJohntay practices the way he plays.
“He’s shown that the spotlight is not too big for him,” Taggart said. ““LaJohntay is a big-time player for us. We know that, our opponents know that, we just have to continue to find different ways to be able to get him the ball so he can do the things that he does well for us.”
While the older Wester has been cementing his legacy at FAU since last season, younger brother Jaylen has been producing as a freshman.
With leading tackler Eddie Williams out for the season due to an injury suffered against UTEP, Owls fans have seen a dose of the next man up in Jaylen. In his two games as a starter, he led the team with 20 total tackles and also recorded a sack.
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Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said there have been massive improvements made.
“He’s more disciplined. Everybody knows Jaylen can play, it’s just whether or not, being a young guy, can you play within the scheme,” Orlando said. “There were some times in the games beforehand, he wasn’t doing that. He’s aggressive, he’s got great instincts and I thought he did a really good job of that and it rewarded him with a whole bunch of plays.”
Nicknamed “Pup” because of his youth, his light-heartedness and fun nature have been well documented as of late.
After the win over Alabama-Birmingham, FAU safety Michal Antoine Jr., said that Jaylen would rile up the team in the mornings when everybody would be tired.
Jaylen said that he takes pride in playing that role.
“When you love something that you do every day, you just come out joyful. But some people don’t get to do some of the things they love, so I just cherish those moments,” he said. “You never know what other people are going through, so when you come out with a joyful spirit, you can be making somebody else’s day.”
LaJohntay has been used to this type of behavior since they were kids.
“Jaylen has been like that ever since he was a baby. Always dancing,” LaJohntay said. “He always just brings good vibes and energy around everywhere he’s at.”
Even though both players are on different sides of the ball, LaJohntay said their aim is to dominate each phase of the game.
“That’s always the goal between us, to dominate the opponent,” LaJohntay said. “That is just how we were brought up as kids. I mean, we’re both really competitive people in all aspects.”
FAU (4-5, 3-2 CUSA) at FIU (4-4, 2-2 CUSA)