BOCA RATON – FAU invited high school coaches from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties to Boca Raton on Tuesday for the press conference introducing new Owls’ coach Lane Kiffin.
The handful that accepted FAU’s invite gained a sneak peak at what their neighborhood college football program has in store for the coming years and also extended a hand for recruiting purposes. It is no secret that South Florida is one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation, and FAU wanted to maintain the relationships within Palm Beach, FAU’s home county, and near-by county relationships that former coach Charlie Partridge worked so hard to build.
The coaches in attendance were impressed by the hire.
“They needed a splash name and they got him.” Loxahatchee-Seminole Ridge coach James Parson said.
Parson hopes that a big-name coach like Kiffin will keep the local talent here.
More than most, Parson understands the importance of a strong relationship with FAU. Current Owls Antonyo Woods, Roman Fernandez, Jalen Young, Kerrith Whyte and Jake Jones all played for Seminole Ridge before heading a few miles south to FAU.
Woods, Fernandez and Young regularly started for the Owls. Whyte earned Conference USA All-Freshman honors as a kick returner.
Parson is looking for Kiffin to not only lead his former players to success on the field, he wants to see them emerge from FAU as responsible young men.
“(I hope) he continues to build my players, or our players, as men of character, which is really important to me in the long run, because not everyone will go on to play pro-football,” Parson said. “But becoming better men, that’s really important to me.”
Spanish River coach Bill Ceasar doesn’t have a player on FAU’s, a situation he’s eager to change.
“We’ve had several kids over the years who had the talent, the skills, the grades, and everything, that should’ve played here, but never got the opportunity,” Ceasar said.
Ceasar says the Sharks currently have a few players with the right mix of academics and talent who are getting recognized by other schools, but have received no offers from Florida Atlantic. They would be interested to play for FAU, but it is a matter of getting the opportunity.
Under Kiffin, Ceasar figures, FAU could become even more of a destination school.
“They’re right here, in our backyard, so just take advantage of it.” Ceasar said.