When FAU shocked the college football world by hiring Lane Kiffin as their head coach many believed that it was only matter of time before the Owls started to reach their potential and compete for conference championships.
After Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class it’s safe to say that FAU is well on their way to proving pundits right. According to 247 Sports composite rankings FAU finished with the best recruiting class in Conference USA, good enough to finish 71st nationally.
Florida Atlantic 2017 Recruiting Class
|QB||De'Andre Johnson||6-0||177||Scooba, MS (JUCO)||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||12/14/2016|
|WR||Jordan Merrell||5-11||178||Fort Lauderdale, FL||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||8/9/2016|
|DE||Ernest Bagner||6-5||235||Riverside, CA (JUCO)||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||1/17/2017|
|OG||Robert Hawkins||6-3||265||Fort Lauderdale, FL||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||1/24/2017|
|DT||Chase Hopper||6-3||265||Alpharetta, GA||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||10/17/2016|
|DT||Tim Bonner||6-4||220||Scooba, MS (JUCO)||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||1/15/2017|
|OT||BJ Etienne||6-3||285||Fort Lauderdale, FL||2 ⭐️⭐️||6/27/2016|
|CB||Diashun Moss||5-10||166||Fort Lauderdale, FL||2 ⭐️⭐️||1/15/2017|
|CB||Roney Washington||6-1||188||San Pablo, CA (JUCO)||N/A||1/22/2017|
|WR||Willie Wright||5-8||155||Jacksonville, FL||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
|WR||DeAndre McNeal||6-1||236||Fullerton, CA (JUCO)||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
|TE||Logan Peterson||6-3||230||Aledo, TX||2 ⭐️⭐️||1/30/2017|
|ILB||Akileis Leroy||6-1||235||Leesburg, GA||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||1/29/2017|
|ATH||Denzel Houston||5-10||185||Daytona Beach, FL||3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️||1/31/2017|
|CB||Qu'ran Hafiz||6-1||180||Jacksonville, FL||3⭐️⭐️⭐️||1/9/2017|
|FB||Chase Lasater||6-2||238||Jacksonville, FL||3⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
|CB||Jovonn Burriss||6-2||185||Germantown, MD||3⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
|OLB||Carson Lydon||6-2||243||Los Angeles, CA||N/A||2/1/2017|
|OT||Joey Palmer||6-5||305||Thornville, OH (JUCO)||3⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
|CB||Zyon Gilbert||6-1||173||Montgomery, AL||3⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
|RB||Tyrek Tisdale||6-1||199||New Berlin, NY||N/A||2/1/2017|
|OLB||Isaac Readon||5-11||196||Miami, FL||3⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
|ATH||D'Anfernee McGriff||6-1||215||Iowa (JUCO)||N/A||2/1/2017|
|S||Ahman Ross||5-11||195||Jacksonville, FL||3⭐️⭐️⭐️||2/1/2017|
The class features 15 three-stars, the second most three-star players in C-USA and is filled with several players who are expected to see the field in 2017.
The day started with a bang for the FAU Owls as Lane Kiffin was able to secure highly coveted JUCO wide receiver DeAndre McNeal and took one away from UCLA in the process.
With the addition of McNeal FAU signed eight JUCO players this year, showing a shift in recruiting philosophy under Kiffin as Partridge signed only two JUCO players during his time in Boca Raton.
Though McNeal made headlines today, the most touted incoming JUCO had already signed before today in former Florida State quarterback De'Andre Johnson.
Given how inconsistent the quarterbacks performed last year Johnson will enter spring practice as the favorite to be next year’s starting quarterback as his ability to pass the ball and expand the play with his mobility is a perfect fit for Kendall Briles’ spread offense. Johnson is the best incoming player in this year’s class according to 247Sports and is already enrolled as he is on campus.
Kiffin also addressed needs on the defensive side of the ball with immediate help in JUCO defensive end Ernest Bagner. Bagner held offers from Illinois, Kansas, and Iowa State among others and should be an immediate contributor.
Continuing Charlie Partridge’s success recruiting the prestigious St. Thomas Aquinas high school, Kiffn landed two commits from St. Thomas in offensive linemen BJ. Etienne and wide receiver Jordan Merrell.
Merrell is the best incoming freshman at wide receiver for FAU in this year’s 2017 class. Merrell had been committed to FAU since last August and held offers from Michigan, Illinois, Louisville and other P5 schools.
The coaching staff’s best work might have been what they were able to do in Jacksonville. Three star safety Ahmon Ross was a former Miami commit and the Owls had to hold off USF to land him. Three star cornerback Quran Hafiz was another steal for FAU as held multiple P5 offers. Hafiz will be an early enrollee.
I mentioned before how the criteria for guaranteed success for G5 schools in Florida is landing multiple players ranked 50-150 in Florida. Hafiz (124) and Ross (82) was able to give FAU two players that fit that criteria for the class of 2017.
Although Lane Kiffin’s resume as a head coach isn’t necessarily the best, no one can argue his recruiting chops and this class is another example of Kiffin’s ability to get it done in February and apparently FAU is still trying add more players for this class 2017.
Kiffin says FAU is still trying to add one or two more players to the 2017 class.— FAU OwlAccess (@FAUOWLACCESS) February 1, 2017
The goal for any G5 school should be to finish in the top 50 nationally in recruiting. Given FAU’s location that should be attainable and as long as Kiffin is the head coach the Owls should be well within reach of accomplishing that feat in the coming years.
After all, with a short amount of time Lane Kiffin has delivered FAU’s best recruiting class ever.