Last year, the first with an early signing period for football, FAU signed five players, adding an additional 12 on the traditional February signing day, with a least three more expected to join that signing class as they fulfill academic requirements.
Waiting until February to sign most of its class yielded a group considered by most recruiting analysts to be among the best in Conference USA despite the fact that it was tied for the second smallest class in the conference.
“If we signed a class at that time, a lot of the guys we signed wouldn’t have been in it,” said Kiffin, referring to the early signing period.
Not all C-USA teams mimicked Kiffin’s approach. FIU signed 21 players during the early period. Texas-San Antonio signed 19. Charlotte signed 18.
Marshall and Rice joined FAU in only signing five players during the early period – the only C-USA schools which signed players early that didn’t reach double digits. UTEP, which hired new coach Dana Dimel two weeks prior to early signing day, elected not to sign anyone early.
Kiffin doesn’t expect FAU to announce a large December signing group this year either.
“We take the wait-and-see approach more to see what guys fall through the cracks when other people fill up, and who they drop, as opposed to some other people from our conference who almost signed their whole class,” Kiffin said. “I think it’s just a different philosophy.”
FAU’s 2019 signing class received a significant boost last week with commitments from running back James Meeks, athlete Antavious Lane and quarterback Gio Richardson – all of whom play for West Palm Beach-Oxbridge Academy.
Kiffin expects that FAU football’s 2019 recruiting class will once again contain a mix of junior college and high school players.
“We really just look for the best players,” Kiffin said. “I think as time goes we’ll see more high school. I think we were heavy, initially, with college transfers and junior college to try to create competition and change the roster.”
While the Owls only have three publicly known commitments, Kiffin likes the way FAU has positioned itself recruiting-wise for the coming months.
“I think we’re ahead of where we were a year ago just because we’ve been here longer,” Kiffin said.