New FAU head coach Lane Kiffin signed the best recruiting class in Conference USA, bringing in a conference-high 17 three-star prospects. We will take a look at the new roster and do a position-by-position breakdown of what the roster looks like going into Spring camp.
Returning contributors: Devin Singletary (SO), 151 Rushes for 1016 yards with 12 touchdowns and 0 fumbles. Gregory Howell Jr. (SR) 168 Rushes for 833 yards with 13 touchdowns and 3 fumbles. Kerrith Whyte Jr. (SO), 43 Rushes for 145 yards with 1 touchdown and 0 fumbles.
Incoming recruits: None
What we know: Alfred Morris. Jonathan Wallace. Jay Warren. Greg Howell. Devin Singletary. Those are the names of the guys who have played running back for FAU since 2011. All have been at the very least solid, meaning the Owls have quietly built a nice reputation of having a reliable rushing attack over the past few years however this year looks to be their best yet.
After not earning any significant playing time in the early part of the season Devin Singletary bursted onto the scene last year near the halfway mark.
In a lot of ways it reminded me of Howell’s freshman year when he immediately emerged as a playmaker after he was slated to redshirt.
The offense really leaned on Singletary and Howell to move the ball and even when defenses knew they were coming they still couldn’t stop them. Howell averaged 5.0 yards per carry while Singletary averaged 6.7 yards per carry in 2016.
FAU ranked 29th in the country in Rushing IsoPP, an advanced stat that measures how often a team breaks explosive rushing plays. With an offensive line that was pretty makeshift for the majority of the season, I’d say that’s pretty incredible.
Given how capable Singletary is of breaking one for a big gain at any moment we could see the offense use him as a receiver. Last year he displayed soft hands out of the backfield as he grabbed 26 receptions for 163 yards.
With Singletary’s speed to go with Howell’s balanced approach to run in between the tackles, Lane Kiffin and Kendall Briles should have no worries in regards to the rushing attack.
If Howell can stay injury free in his final season in Boca and keep from putting the ball on the ground we could see him and Singletary receive national accolades this season.
Final thought: The combination of Buddy and Singletary in the backfield gives FAU not only one of the best rushing attacks in Conference USA, but one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
Position grade: A. The depth at the position is incredible. Both Buddy and Singletary have the potential to be All-Conference running backs. I didn’t even mention Kerrith Whyte Jr. who looked quite capable when his name was called last year and completely forgot about Georgia transfer A.J. Turman.