After showing the recruiting world for four-plus hours why recruits should #CometothefaU before the start of the Early Signing Period, Lane Kiffin and the FAU Owls would sign just five of their six verbal commits in the first ever Early Signing Period.
After signing multiple players from the JUCO ranks in the 2017 class, Lane Kiffin followed that same strategy again as three JUCO players signed with FAU over the three-day period.
Last season Kiffin went to East Mississippi Community College, the school famous for being featured on Last Chance U, to get the bulk of his JUCO players. This time around Kiffin targeted players from EMC’s rival Copiah-Lincoln, as the Owls signed two players from Copiah-Lincoln.
Three-star receiver Nero Nelson is currently the highest rated recruit in the 2018 class and with the departure of Kalib Woods and Kamrin Solomon, he will have an opportunity to become an immediate contributor. Kiffin flipped Nelson from Mississippi State just before the start of the Early Signing Period. Nelson is a burner and reminds me of a bigger Willie Wright as he is listed at 6’0, 180 pounds.
The other Copiah-Lincoln product is three-star defensive tackle Charles Cameron. Cameron was a former Kansas commit and chose FAU over Texas Tech. Cameron has good size at 6’2, 290 pounds and should compete for some playing time with Jeremiah Taleni’s departure.
The best underclassmen signed by the Owls is Devin Hayes out of Jones High School in Orlando. Hayes is a three-star defensive end at 6’6, 250 pounds. The Owls had to hold off North Carolina State, Wake Forrest, and FIU for his services.
Chris Kiffin was able to land another defensive end in three-star Franklin Jackson from West Orange in Winter Garden. Jackson is a bit smaller than Hayes as he’s listed at 6’2, 217 pounds and mainly held offers from Sun Belt schools. FAU didn’t have the best pass rush this season so it’s pleasing to see that need being addressed in this class.
Flying under the radar a bit is the signature of two-star JUCO receiver Desean Holmes. Holmes is a sleeper, as he was a former four-star recruit in the 2015 recruiting class and signed with San Diego State. However, Holmes didn’t stick and left San Diego State abruptly as he never played a down for the Aztecs. Holmes is another shifty receiver in the mold of Willie Wright as he’s listed at 5’10, 175 pounds.
With just five players signed FAU leaves the Early Signing Period with the 12th ranked recruiting class in Conference USA. After the best season in school history I’m sure many FAU fans expected a high profile class.
With a ton of FAU’s roster being underclassmen, that limits Kiffin’s ability to sign a huge class. Rather than looking at the amount of players signed, key in on average rating per recruit.
According to 247 Sports FAU leads C-USA with a 82.49 average rating per recruit (three-star). As long as the Owls remain near the top of C-USA in that category the 2018 class should be considered a success.
While this is a disappointing start, I’m not exactly worried. Kiffin has already shown that he’s a strong closer as evidenced by last year’s class on such a short amount of time. You know, the class that was the best in C-USA.