The University of Maine football team has taken a step to shore up its defense.

Linebacker Brian Lee Jr. has transferred to UMaine from Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. He will be eligible immediately.

Saint Francis, which like UMaine competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, is a member of the Northeast Conference.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Lee, a native of Waldorf, Maryland, was third on the team in tackles with 70 in 2019. He played in all 12 games and was tied for first with five sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. He also had an interception.

“Brian is an excellent addition to our team and will fit right into our championship mentality culture,” UMaine head football coach Nick Charlton said. “He has been an extremely productive player at Saint Francis and will make an impact in our linebacker room.

“We are actively recruiting some great student-athletes to our program to be joining our returning players on campus soon,” he said.

Lee registered 12 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss with three sacks, in a 38-31 overtime loss to a Central Connecticut State team that reached the FCS playoffs.

Saint Francis did not have a 2020 fall season or compete this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee played two seasons for Saint Francis and will be a junior this fall at UMaine. He registered 81 tackles in 23 career games for the Red Flash.

Lee played at Westlake High School in Maryland and made 75 tackles in 11 games his senior year. He also saw duty as a running back.

The Black Bears went 2-2 in their abbreviated spring season. They lost All-Colonial Athletic Association linebacker Deshawn Stevens, who was the team’s leading tackler with 36.

Stevens, who was drafted sixth in the first round of the Canadian Football League draft by the Ottawa Redblacks, is also weighing a possible transfer to another school.

UMaine allowed 33.5 points and 361.5 yards per game this spring, including 212.3 rushing yards per contest.

UMaine opens the season on Thursday, Sept. 2, in Orono against CAA rival Delaware.