Are the accolades and criticisms behind hurled at FAU's 2010 class warranted?
Before answering that question remember: Signing Day isn't the end of the recruiting process. FAU really only signed 11 players yesterday - defensive end Cory Henry signed as part of last year's class but didn't enroll until January. The Owls intend to give up to three more scholarships in the coming days.
Judging a class that still could increase by 20 percent is kind of like assessing your Christmas goodie haul before your grandparents arrive for dinner with their gifts - the next box could be the best gift of all.
On Wednesday, FAU coaches were already talking with coaches of players who, for multiple reasons, didn't sign on the first day. Players are sometimes left with nowhere to sign after thinking they are going to a larger school only see the deal fall through in the final hours. Others don't produce qualifying test scores until late in the process. Can FAU get on or two of the good players still out there?
The recruits FAU did sign on Wednesday fill needs. Pensacola's Jerome McClain could be a monster on the defensive line and fellow defensive tackle Willie Huggins is a bowling ball of brut force. In the coming days I expect the Owls to add another D-lineman to fill the spot vacated by Sean Watson and his Signing Day change of heart.
Safeties Cortez Ash and David Lozandier are taller than the Owls' current safeties, have bodies that can add weight, and are fast. Could they play this year? If needed, but two years from now they could be true playmakers.
The Owls needed at least on quarterback and signed two. I'm more impressed with Stephen Curtis every time I see highlights. He has an ability to throw on the run the likes of which no FAU quarterback has possessed. Sumter (S.C.) coach Paul Sorrells said he is the best QB that school has ever seen, which is saying something considering the school produced Penn State two-year starter and NFL backup Wally Richardson. And Nick Bracewell makes good decisions and has a strong enough arm to play at this level. Neither player appears afraid to compete for a starting job.
Yes, FAU lost some players who were supposed to be in this class, but that may actually be addition by subtraction. I talked with Watson many times over the last couple days and it was clear he only committed to FAU to hold a scholarship while shopping for a bigger deal. Watson thought he belonged at a bigger school - and after signing with Baylor it turns out he was right - and never really wanted to come to Boca Raton.
Quarterback Brandon Doughty rescinded his commitment after Curtis accepted FAU's offer, seeming to shy away from a quarterback competition. Is that the leader you want in the huddle?
OK, so FAU's class is ranked at the bottom by national recruiting services. Why wouldn't it be? They don't care enough about FAU to know the players, and don't take into account the program's needs. One of the top headlines on today's FAU Rivals page celebrates senior-to-be Tavious Polo being named a freshman All-American. At least FAU has a team page on Rivals, which is more than can be said for Scout.
Every year FAU has heard from these guys that it has been out-recruited by schools like Florida International, yet the Owls constantly batter the Golden Panthers head to head and in the standings. If a prognosticator kept telling you to bet on the Detroit Lions to win, you'd eventually ignore him, right?
FAU signed some talented players in a small class on Wednesday, barely missing on a couple of homerun types. Those dwelling on the lack of name recognition among recruits might be wise to give the class a couple more days.Pioneer spirit:
Wanted to thank the Darreyl Bethune and all the folks down at North Miami for their hospitality during Lozandier's signing ceremony. The photo at the top shows Lozandier receiving a celebratory fist bump from Pioneer AD Hector Gray. Beautiful new school and great bunch of people. Lozandier followed last season's signees Randell Johnson and Nexon Dorvilus from North Miami to FAU. Lots of budding FAU fans down there among the students and players. FAU fans in Boca Raton are going to love talking to Lozandier.
By the way, FAU administrators also did a nice job handling and dispensing information on what can be a trying day. The ceremony at the end of the day in the Oxley Center was a nice way to bring the class together for the fans who attended. Fans following the action on FAUOwlAccess.com
knew exactly where everything stood with the class. Which brings us to...Owl LinksYour daily guide to what is being written about the Owls
We had some fun at FAUOwlAccess.com, yesterday. Our Twitter updates
were the first place Owl fans - and other members of the media - learned of signings. We immediately transferred the info to our Signing Central page
, which provided biographical information on the players well before it was available anywhere else. Our story recapping the day
was the only one featuring quotes from players telling why they chose - or in the case of Watson didn't choose - FAU. We wrapped it all up with a video highlighting the ceremonies
in North Miami and in the Oxley center.
offered this capsule.
The Miami Herald's take
.Owl Cal What's going on at FAU
Basketball at North Texas, 8 p.m.