It’s pretty obvious that FAU blew out all expectations on National Signing day.
Up until Wednesday, and having covered this recruiting class in depth, there is no way anyone could have convinced me that this would be the result.
Regardless, and that being said, here are three key reasons why the Owls just landed their highest-ranked class ever.
Athlete First Mentality
While it is not uncommon to see top high school athletes play multiple positions it was apparent that FAU prioritized players who can do multiple things and play all three phases of the game. Of the 32 signees, seven are listed as athletes meaning they project to play multiple positions in college.
You also notice after highlights of Dwight Toombs, Andrew Plummer, Deante Nelson, and Eyin Cole that they all make plays on both sides of the ball. Running backs Glover Cook lll, Kelvin Dean and Larry McCammon all also show tremendous pass-catching ability thus giving offensive coordinator Charlie Weis a lot of flexibility on where he can them line up. This strategy is great for any FBS team, but especially good for G5 schools. Just find as many athletic playmakers as possible and their ''position'' will work itself out.
Young Elite Emerging Recruiters
From talking with many of the commits, they continually said great things about all staff members, but two names kept popping up over and over again: Clint Trickett and Charlie Weis (photo above).
Trickett, who mostly covers Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida’s Panhandle has done a nice job of creating pipelines in those states. Though South Florida is the most talent-rich area in the country it can be over saturated with coaches from every corner of the country looking for players. Trickett's relationships allow FAU to get top talent in another talent-rich region as opposed to being forced to reach on some local players. The 27-year-old coach was also a hit with the players as many described him as being easy to relate to, another adding they felt "at home'' within the first few minutes of meeting him.
Charlie Weis Jr., who recruits wherever he is needed, is making major impressions on the trail. One signee said ''he made his vision of what he wanted to do with me at my position clearer than any others coaches from other schools’.” Another player described his energy as "ecstatic" adding that Weis made him feel like he was going to be ''taken care of off the playing field.” The relationships these young coaches built made a huge impact on the results we got in this class.
Football in Paradise
Of course, it is cliche and easy to think that FAU's beautiful campus, location and coming facilities make a difference in recruiting, but those things still have to be sold and projected correctly in order for it to work. The past three years FAU has been putting up players up in the Boca Raton Resort. That’s hard for anyone to beat regardless of budget or conference. It becomes harder to sell "Paradise" when they used to be at a hotel a few miles more inland. This played even bigger with prospects coming from out of state as anyone could imagine.
Additionally, The Schmidt Family Complex, which is under construction, has already started making an impact on the program as well. With walls going up and virtual tours being shown to prospects, it has made FAU "feel big time" as one recruit described it.
Looking forward, while further development will likely be needed for this class to pay off on the field, if Coach Lane Kiffin and his staff keep up this type of recruiting, expect a very successful future for the Owls.