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Four JUCOs Sign With FAU Football



Owls address needs; Johnson, Lyons, Whitehead, Butcher all sign

It wasn’t February 13th, but Wednesday sure had the allure of a memorable day for recruiting.  

Florida Atlantic signed four junior college players to the 2013 recruiting class, bringing in new talent to replenish areas of need across the roster.

QB Jaquez Johnson, OT Braden Lyons, WR Lucky Whitehead and DT Derek Butcher (pictured) all signed and faxed in letters of intent to play for FAU on the first day that junior college players could solidify their intentions.

The activity started early in the afternoon when Johnson signed his paperwork in front of family and friends at Starkville High School.

“I just got done signing. It was a lot of fun, the news was there,” Johnson said.  

With quarterback a major concern for the Owls heading into next season, Johnson is expected to come in and compete for the starting position after receiving NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention honors at East Mississippi Community College.

“I’m ready to come in and work hard. Nobody guaranteed me the job; I’m just ready to work for it. I haven’t made it yet, I got to keep working,” Johnson said.

The signal caller is rated as a three-star prospect by 247 Sports, and highlights a group of talented signees.

City College of San Francisco OT Braden Lyons faxed over his paperwork later in the afternoon – marking the end of a long process. The lineman had originally given a verbal commitment to UTSA, but changed his mind at the late in the process after taking an official visit to Boca Raton.

“I'm ecstatic to be an Owl,” Lyons said.

He hopes to contribute immediately for an offensive line unit that lost three starters to graduation.

North Dakota College of Science DT Derek Butcher signed a letter of intent at his home in Minnesota, and much like with Johnson and Lyons, his goal is to see the field next season. He will add much needed depth and size to the defensive front.

"I'm thrilled to have made my D-1 dream true and I can't wait to get started," Butcher said.

Head coach Carl Pelini and his staff got the biggest news of the day when Dean College WR Rodney 'Lucky' Whitehead announced at his ceremony that he was signing with FAU over an offer from Connecticut.  The wide receiver had taken trips to both schools, but in the end it was the Owls that landed his elusive speed.

All four players that signed with FAU are expected to report to campus on January 5th and be eligible to compete in the 2013 season.

The signees:

QB Jaquez ‘Quez’ Johnson (6’2”, 230) – East Mississippi Community College – Johnson started his football career at Starkville High School, where his senior season came to an abrupt halt after he needed surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. Memphis and UAB had been recruiting him as a passer, while ULM wanted him as a linebacker. Johnson instead elected to enroll at East Mississippi Community College where he threw for 2,805 yards this season and accounted for 39 total touchdowns. Highlights.

OT Braden Lyons (6’5”, 290) – City College of San Francisco – Lyons signed with the Owls over offers from UTSA and Old Dominion. The lineman originally graduated from Sonoma High School in northern California, before spending two seasons at Division II Humboldt State.  This past year he played for City College of San Francisco, where the team finished with a 10-2 record. Highlights.

DT Derek Butcher (6’5”, 295) – North Dakota State College of Science – Hailing from Delano High School in Minnesota, Butcher played at North Dakota State College of Science this pasts season and recorded 71 tackles. He had two games this year in which he tallied a season-high 16 tackles, and is viewed as a high-motor player. He chose the Owls over offers from Gardner Webb, Florida A&M, SE Louisiana and a walk-on opportunity at Minnesota. Highlights.

WR Rodney 'Lucky' Whitehead (5’9”, 165) – Dean College – The shifty and quick Whitehead thrived at Dean College as a pass catcher and punt returner. He was named to the NJCAA All-American First Team after totaling 896 yards and eight total touchdowns this past season. Whitehead was a dual-quarterback at Osbourn High School in Virginia before heading to junior college and receiving offers from UConn, Bowling Green, Charlotte, Old Dominion and FAU. Highlights.

2013 Commit Listing

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