With less than a month until National Signing Day we are officially in the final stretch of recruiting season for the 2017 class. Unlike the past few years under Charlie Partridge in which the Owls were making waves on the recruiting trail, this year we find ourselves in a different position as things have been pretty quiet under Lane Kiffin.
FAU currently has 10 commitments and the ninth best recruiting class in Conference USA. As it stands the Owls have a lot of ground to makeup if the 2017 class is going to rank near the top of C-USA.
Here are three positions FAU should target before National Signing Day.
Key Contributors Returning: Kalib Woods (SR), Henry Bussey III (SR), Nate Terry (SR), Kamrin Solomon (SR), Tavaris Harrison (FR)
Due to how inconsistent the receiving position was last year we could see a ton of new faces reach the field under the new coaching staff.
The players above received the most targets last year but only one emerged as a playmaker. Kalib Woods led the team in receptions (68), yards (934), and targets (101).
The wide receiver position has been inconsistent for several years now and in 2017 that still appears to be the case as there isn’t a receiver on the roster who tallied more than 25 receptions last year aside from Woods.
The official roster shows that FAU currently has 14 players listed as a wide receiver. With what is expected to be a spread offense that will employ as many as four wide receivers on a regular basis I would like to see at least two receivers added to this class given that the Owls will lose at least four receivers next year.
Currently FAU has two receivers committed. St. Thomas Aquinas product Jordan Merrell has been a hard commit to FAU since August and given how inconsistent this position has been lately I can easily see him earning playing time thanks to his speed.
The other receiver committed is Jacob White. White and Merrell are both similar in size as both are listed at 5’11 and neither weigh more than 200 pounds. They both present speed on the perimeter. White is probably in line for a redshirt whereas Merrell could see early playing time.
Key Contributors Returning: Haiden Nagel (SR), Steven Leggett (JR), Hunter Snyder (JR), Nick Internicola (SR)
Last year FAU added five defensive linemen to the team. They need to add more. The run defense was one of the worst in country last year but that was primarily the cause of youth and a lack of bodies. Probably talent too.
Kevin McCray was one of the jewels of last year’s recruiting class but didn’t make a big impact. It’s hard to make a huge impact on the defensive line as a true freshman and last year it would have been great if he was able to redshirt but given the lack of bodies he couldn’t.
Kiffin should be wise to add some some interior linemen to this class to build depth so FAU won’t be in that position again.
FAU has two three star defensive linemen in this class as Chase Hopper and Jalon Sheffield are projected to play defensive tackle for FAU. Given how abysmal the rushing defense has been over the last few years it is important these players hold firm to their commitment to FAU.
Key Contributor Returning: Greg Howell (SR), Devin Singletary (SO), Kerrith Whyte, Jr. (SO)
Alright this is a bit of a stretch as getting a running back this year isn’t a need but rather a want.
FAU has an embarrassment of riches right now as Devin Singletary had an amazing freshman season, Greg Howell had a great junior year, and Kerrith Whyte showed flashes that he’s just as capable.
But FAU doesn’t have any running backs in this class so far and I don’t like it. Since Alfred Morris in 2011 FAU has had good running backs year in and year out.
It’s been the most successful position over the last five years for FAU (fumbles aside) and one I think Kiffin should use to his advantage on the recruiting trail.
Every running back FAU has pursued this class has gone elsewhere and while that is probably a product of a loaded backfield Kiffin should try his best to sign a running back this class anyway.
Howell will be gone after next year and if Singletary continues to be amazing we probably only have him for two more years, which would force Kiffin’s hand to absolutely take a running back in next year’s class.
Out of all of FAU’s position needs this is the one I’m least concerned about as the running back position is in great hands right now but it wouldn’t hurt to add one more running back.