After engineering the best season ever at FAU, Lane Kiffin went on the recruiting trail and did something FAU fans had never seen before. Recruit nationally. The Owls signed 16 players in their 2018 recruiting class and seven come from different states (Florida, Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi and Texas).
The days of FAU having a class full of kids from South Florida are over. Well, at least for this year. Out of the 16 players signed, 13 are 3-star recruits, giving FAU the highest rating per recruit in Conference USA according to 247 Sports Composite.
The stars of this year’s new crop of Owls come from Junior College. Kiffin signed six players out of the JUCO ranks and several should become immediate contributors. 3-Star receivers Nero Nelson and Desean Holmes signed during the Early Signing Period and have the talent to replace departing wideouts Kamrin Solomon and Kalib Woods.
When analyzing the class it’s obvious that Kiffin’s main focus was to improve the offensive and defensive line. I’d say the mission was accomplished. After bringing in multiple transfers to upgrade the talent on the defensive line in 2017, Kiffin went back to that well again as the Owls signed two 3-star defensive tackles in Marcell Southall and Charles Cameron (Southall is a former Texas Longhorn).
To go along with the JUCO signess, Kiffin also signed 3-star defensive ends Jaylen Joyner and Devin Hayes. Both Joyner and Hayes are from Orlando and signify how Kiffin is trying to elevate FAU’s recruiting reach beyond South Florida.
Along the offensive line Kiffin signed 3-star tackle Doug Johnson and 2-star tackle Marquice Robinson. Both are no smaller than 6’4” 300 pounds, and garnered interest from several SEC schools during the recruiting process.
#FAU #NSD18 analysis:— FAU Owl's Nest (@FAU_Owls_Nest) February 7, 2018
The biggest concern going into Signing Day was the O & D Lines.
FAU c/o 2018 DL avg 247 rating = .8447
FAU c/o 2018 OL avg 247 rating = .8173 (and that's without Tulane transfer Junior Diaz)
Yeah, I'd say those concerns have been taken care of. pic.twitter.com/fBXBUI1RI2
All in all, FAU finished with the 85th ranked class nationally, good enough to finish 7th in Conference USA (UTSA, Southern Miss, WKU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall and FIU finished above the Owls). The Owls could move up the rankings as they are in position to add former Alabama running back BJ Simmons.
While this year’s class is a bit of a disappointment considering the type of season FAU had on the field (and in comparison to FIU’s recruiting class), the Owls were never going to have a chance to sign a boatload of players in 2018 due to the amount of players who are slated to return to next year’s rosters.
With the amount of talent returning next year, combined with the influx of talent from the 2018 class, FAU will be the favorites to win Conference USA for the second season in a row.
If things go according to plan, the 2019 recruiting class should be the one where FAU finishes with one of the best classes in the Group of Five and hover near the top 50. Lane Kiffin is determined to make FAU become a national brand and with this year’s class in the fold, I’d say Kiffin is well on his way to making that become a reality.