BOCA RATON — When Lane Kiffin took the FAU job in December, the fifth head coach in program history was faced with questions regarding depth at several key position.
After a historic year from two key players, Kiffin didn’t have to worry about his new backfield.
Kiffin and new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles inherit an offense that features Devin Singletary and Buddy Howell, potentially the best one-two punch in Conference USA backfields – and, arguably, the deepest position group on the current roster.
Singletary was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team after rushing for 874 yards on 7.7 yards per carry in his final six games. The American Heritage-Delray graduate also set the two highest rushing single-game rushing totals in program history, putting up 257 yards against Rice and 235 vs. Old Dominion.
Howell set the school’s rushing touchdown record last year with 13 and has grown into one of the team’s more vocal leaders. Battling minor injuries in the spring, Howell comes into camp healthy ready to contribute in his final year with the Owls.
Redshirt sophomore Kerrith Whyte returns as the third option after dazzling in spring camp.
OWLACCESS.COM PRE-CAMP DEPTH CHART
Devin Singletary, 5-9, 200, So. Contributing the third-best rushing season in FAU history with 1,021 yards and 12 touchdowns as a true freshman, Singletary’s explosiveness will be relied on heavily to help FAU post its first winning season since 2008.
Buddy Howell, 6-1, 215, Sr. A year after setting the program’s single-season rushing touchdown mark, Howell returns as the 1B to Singletary’s 1A. With a strong season, Howell can not only set the school record for most rushing touchdowns (he currently sits 10 behind Alfred Morris), but boost his NFL Draft stock as well. FAU coaches believe Howell is faster than he was a year ago, which could produce more explosive runs.
Kerrith Whyte, 5-10, 200, R-So. Whyte broke through early last season as the backup running back, but finished with 145 yards and a touchdown on 43 attempts. His versatility on offense makes him a dangerous threat at more spots than the backfield. He can catch the ball out of the slot and will be a key contributor on special teams too.
Jay Warren: Rushing for 1,360 yards in his first three seasons, Warren battled injuries and Charlie Partridge’s doghouse as a senior and finished with only 16 yards on seven attempts. Warren’s presence will be missed among the running backs, who cited him as a teacher even though last year’s trials.
Tyrek Tisdale, 6-2, 200, Fr. Originally committed to Florida, then Maryland, Tisdale may end up playing safety, where the Owls are more need of help, but some think he could also become one of the top running backs in Conference USA.
Marcus Clark, 5-8, 190, R-Sr. Clark continues to show that he only needs a few touches to impact a game. He’ll have a difficult time surpassing the backs in front of him, but Clark works well in space – and that’s what Kendal Briles’ offense creates.
Chase Lasater, 6-2, 235, Fr. Though he’ll likely play linebacker, a position of need for FAU, Lasater was also a highly regarded fullback in high school. Remember, FAU turned to DE Trey Hendrickson in the backfield last year in short yardage situations.
PREVIOUS POSITION PRIMERS
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Quarterbacks
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Offensive Line
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Running Backs
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Tight Ends
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Wide Receivers
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Defensive Line
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Linebackers
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Defensive Backs
FAU FOOTBALL CAMP PREVIEW: Special Teams