BOCA RATON – Late in Friday’s practice nickelback Quran Hafiz leaped into the air, deflecting a Jason Driskel pass. Safety James Pierre raced to the ball, plucked it out of the air, and raced untouched to the end zone.
In a camp filled with plenty of new feet and faces, Pierre seem to be quickly gaining traction.
A 2015 Class 8A second team All-State selection who at one point was committed to Miami and UNC while playing high school ball at Deerfield, Pierre signed with Syracuse out of high school but was ruled academically ineligible.
Now he’s at FAU, where coach Lane Kiffin says he’s eligible to play this season.
“We’re happy to have him,” Kiffin said.
Pierre saw action with the second team on Friday.
HARD KNOCKS at the OX: Friday’s FAU Practice Report
Making Plays: FAU’s defensive line enjoyed a strong end of practice. Haiden Nagle and Hunter Snyder were among those who registered sacks in the full scrimmage portion of the day. …Not to be left out, the linebackers spent a fair share of time in the backfield, too, with Azeez Al-Shaair and Hosea Barnwell registering sacks. …Tight end John Raine has enjoyed a couple of nice days, including a spinning catch on Friday on a pass thrown behind him. …Shelton Lewis recorded his second interception in as many days and also made a acrobatic leaping pass break-up.
Tracking the Depth Chart: De’Andre Johnson quarterbacked the first team on Friday, and while he struggled against a strong pass rush in the full-team portion of the scrimmage he still dew praise from Kiffin. “I thought he did a really good job and I think his confidence has grown,” Kiffin said. “I think we’re seeing a different guy than we did in the spring.” …FAU practiced kickoff returns for the first time this camp, with incumbent Kerrith Whyte, Henry Bussey and newcomer Willie Wright all receiving the opportunity to return kicks.
Newcomer Watch: Defensive end Tim Bonner drew some praise from starting left tackle Reggie Bain. “Tim Bonner’s looking real fast,” Bain said. “He’s got some get-off.”
By the Numbers: Kiffin expects FAU’s roster to continue to evolve over the next week, adding some transfers. “I think we’ll be different a weeks for now than the way we were yesterday,” he said.
Instant Message: “I thought guys were calmer today, came out and did a better dob. Defense got after the ball better. Struggled a little bit at the end but we did do better today.” – Lane Kiffin