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: Kalib Woods (SR), 68 Catches for 934 yards with 1 touchdown. Henry Bussey III (SR), 24 Catches for 269 yards with 2 touchdowns. Nate Terry (SR), 17 Catches for 242 yards with 2 touchdowns. Tavaris Harrison (SO), 18 Catches for 304 yards with 1 touchdown.
Incoming recruits: DeAndre McNeal (3 Star JUCO) & Jordan Merrell (3 Star)
What we know: Wide receiver was a huge question mark entering 2016 and at the end of the season we came away with only one answer: Kalib Woods is pretty good. Everyone else ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Woods led the team with 101 targets. Second was Bussey with 43. Quarterback play wasn’t the best in 2016 but the receivers minus Woods being unable to get open also contributed to the Owls’ woeful passing attack.
If there was a position group that Charlie Partridge failed to leave loaded with talent for Lane Kiffin wide receiver would be it. The position group doesn’t have too many touted recruits as sophomores Tavarris Harrison and John Mitchell are the only former three stars. Both played sparingly last year.
Last season opponents keyed in on Woods and locked down everyone else. Finding that reliable second option is going to be an interesting storyline during spring.
Nate Terry has flashed potential (2 career game-winning touchdown receptions) but has yet to put it together for even a full game. Senior Kamrin Solomon failed to play significant snaps last year and Henry Bussey was mainly used on screens.
Minus Woods, no one can be sure to see the field under a new coaching staff. Hopefully the addition of DeAndre McNeal from the JUCO ranks gives FAU an immediate contributor. Jordan Merrell is a speed demon and could potentially see the field immediately as well.
It wouldn’t surprise me if we heard a bunch of new names making waves at this position in April.
Final thought: Was the passing attack disappointing because of Jason Driskel or the play of the receivers? Out of the names I rattled off no one gives me confidence even with De’Andre Johnson potentially being named the starter.
Position grade: C-. Too many unproven commodities right now. I would like for Nate Terry to be the second option but because of his lack of speed I’m not sure how he will fit on offense. Maybe McNeal is the guy who rises to the occasion but right now the position group is Kalib Woods and everyone else.