The Good and The Questions After FAU Football's 2019 Early Signing Period
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It is hard to judge a recruiting class when it is less than half full and there was a coaching change just days before the early signing period, but here is an honest assessment and break down of what was both good, and what questions FAU has moving forward, before National Signing Day later in February of 2020.
New head football coach Willie Taggart said he would use "honesty and the truth," when asked at his opening press conference about how he would keep the current FAU commits on board with such little time and still much uncertainty about FAU's assistant coaching staff moving forward.
That said, Coach Taggart has proven to be effective thus far. Out of the Owls' 13 verbal commits heading into the morning of the first day of the early signing period, nine went on to make it official. This group also includes linebacker Joe Lewis, who committed to FAU's 2019 class, but was unable to enroll due to an off the field injury and is deemed a grey shirt addition.
Part of the final group of additions include two big-time junior colleges prospects in defensive lineman Alvin Dempsey and offensive lineman Sebastion Dolcine, who flipped to FAU just days before signing day. Both will add immediate depth to their respective position groups, which are losing important starters when the 2019 season concludes after the Boca Raton Bowl.
FAU signed a total of four offensive and defensive linemen. Remaining offensive lineman Malik Jones is still expected to sign with FAU in February on National Signing Day. It is vital for Group of 5 schools to lockdown players in the trenches early, as they are much harder positions to recruit, and Power 5 schools are always reaching into G5 classes to flip and fill out their classes when the pool shrinks.
Taggart and his staff were also able to add Cincinnati wide receiver transfer Yanez Rodgers via the transfer portal, which will go a long way towards inserting depth into arguably one of FAU's biggest needs this off season.
Though only two of FAU's previous commits found other homes in the early period, they were two of the more notable names in quarterback Anthony Romph and running back Frank Gore Jr.
Romph, who was pledged since June, visited the weekend of December 13th, but it became clear that both sides were moving away from each other with the future status of current offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. remaining unsettled.
"Yeah, we are going to take a quarterback this cycle,'' Taggart said when asked about the position's plans this year.
This will be a tough task moving forward though, as over 75 percent of the top 100 ranked pro and dual-threat quarterbacks according to 247Sports signed with other schools Wednesday.
Frank Gore Jr. was also committed to the Owls since the summer, but an imbalance of scholarships at the running back position possibly forced FAU to focus on more important needs.
"You've got to fill those needs, I know we have some we really need to address", said Taggart who is pictured above left along side voice of the Owls Ken LaVicka. "You can not go on a guy sometimes."
FAU added two wide receivers yesterday, but there is still a huge need for help both there and at tight end. Some close to the program estimate that another five to six players between those two positions need to be added through the high school ranks or the transfer portal.
Coach Taggart will have nearly a month to complete his staff, evaluate players, and put together his own recruiting board before the current dead period ends on January 17th.
Given where they stand currently, and where they need to go, one might expect the Owls to add another 15-17 more prospects before National Signing Day, on February 5th, 2020.