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FAU Football Recruiting: Charlie Partridge has made FAU a force on the trail but can it continue?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When Florida Atlantic named Charlie Partridge their fourth head coach in school history the narrative was that the south Florida native, who was known for his prowess on the recruitng trail under Brett Bielema at Wisconsin and Arkansas, would help FAU shed its underachieving label by convincing local talent to stay home and play in Boca Raton.

Unlike his predecessor Carl Pelini who failed to consistently build relationships with high school coaches, Partridge immediately began to endear himself to high school coaches by inviting several to his introductory press conference.

During his press conference Partridge said,  "I look forward to this opportunity and to working with the high school coaches and the community leaders as we build FAU football." Partridge wanted to make it known that things would be different under his watch and that FAU would be a major player on the trail in the Sunshine State

It wasn't long before FAU fans was able to see that Partridge's tenacity on the trail wasn't folk-tale.

It was real.

Two weeks on the job and Partridge got four-star running back Jordan Scarlett to commit to FAU for the class of 2015.

With only two months to work with before National Signing Day, Partridge was able to land the nations No. 1 kicker according to 247Sports in Landon Scheer out of Orlando.

Despite coming late to the process he also convinced Coconut Creek product Greg Howell to sign with FAU despite having an offer from Big Ten school Minnesota.

With little time, Partridge's 2014 racked in a pretty successful class as it was highlighted by Mainland product Trey Rodriguez. For the first time since Howard Schnellenberger roamed the sidelines a ton of momentum surrounded FAU football.

That momentum turned into a tidal wave after Dwyer's Daniel Parr, fresh off of leading Dwyer to a Class 7A title, announced he was coming to play quarterback for FAU in May.

With the quarterback of the future in Parr and the best recruit in school history in Jordan Scarlett there to join him in the backfield, Partridge was making good on his promises to turn FAU football around.

But after FAU went a disappointing 3-9 in Partridge's debut season which included a blowout loss to rival FIU, the stellar #FAUFab15 class Partridge was set to bring in began to crack as Jordan Scarlett would eventually de-commit and flip to Florida on National Signing Day.

Despite losing what would have been the best recruit in the class, Partridge was still able to bring in the best class in school history and according to 247Sports the second best class in Conference USA.

Daniel Parr remained on board despite being pursued by Miami, standout out defensive back Jalen Young would sign despite having serval P5 offers and FIU commit Ocie Rose would flip last minute and sign with FAU.

Not even a poor first year could stop Partridge from doing damage on the recruiting trail. With the program carrying momentum from signing the best class in school history, expectations of a bowl game began to surface.

But for the second straight season FAU would deliver a disappointing 3-9 season.

In the big 2015 football guide, Bill Conley noted that as long as Partridge recruits well he will be here to stay but eventually recruiting gets difficult if there's no results.

Last week FAU lost a recruit to Syracuse despite their being a snowstorm in upstate New York. I think its safe to say its starting to get difficult. For the first time Partridge is losing in February.

247Sports has FAU's class of 17 commits ranked sixth in Conference USA and 90th nationally. As of now FAU has seven three-stars committed after having 13 in last year's class.

Partridge's first class, the one he had two months to work with in 2014, had seven-three stars and finished eighth in C-USA and 94th nationally.

Recruiting is beginning to regress.

It could be argued that because the coaching staff is no longer able to sell early playing time as they've done with previous classes and perhaps that has made recruits look elsewhere. Maybe the amount of signees over the past two years has taken its toll and this year the plan is to have a small class. Maybe Partridge has decided to stop going after big-name recruits. Maybe.

But what's definite is that the two losing seasons under Partridge are now making it difficult it for Partridge and his staff to win big in February.

The talent is now here, but FAU is still underachieving.

At his introductory press conference Partridge said, "We're coming." With National Signing Day still a week away Partridge could still bring in a class that finishes near the top of the conference despite the lack of results on the field.

But this year its time for Charlie Partridge and FAU football to arrive and have a winning season or fear going back to losing in October and February.