The Southfield (Mich.) product wrote on Twitter: “First I would like to thank the FAU coaching staff for giving me an opportunity to play at the next level, with the decision made from me and my family I will be decommitting from FAU.”
Romphf committed to FAU during the summer, shortly after attending one of coach Lane Kiffin’s high school camps. But Kiffin is now gone, and so is Romphf.
“It’s been kind of interesting what’s going on,” Southfield coach Tim Conley said prior to Romphf’s announcement.
Toledo and Charlotte are among the Group of Five schools making a late push for Romphf. Power Five schools like Purdue and Rutgers also want the 6-foot, 180-pound Romphf, but they want him as an athlete.
New FAU coach Willie Taggart contacted Romphf multiple times, but Conley said Romphf was more interested in the status of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Taggart has yet to announce whether he’ll retain Weis.
“Weis had a big part in recruiting him,” Conley said.
With Romphf’s decision now public, the most intriguing early signing story becomes Miami-Killian running back Frank Gore. The Owls, however, may have to wait an extra day to learn of Gore’s decision.
Reached on Tuesday night, Gore said he doesn’t intend to sign until Thursday, when Killian has its ceremony. FAU, Gore said, is “definitely” still high on his list.
Like Romphf, Gore also was spooked by Kiffin leaving, but having running backs coach Kevin Smith depart with Kiffin to Mississippi left a bigger hole. Gore took an official visit to Southern Miss and visited FAU over the last two weeks. Some Power Five schools also showed late interest in Gore, but they want him to wait to sign until February.
It is possible – even likely – that Gore will sign his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday but keep his choice quiet until Thursday’s ceremony. Whichever school Gore chooses, he plans to enroll in January.
“I really just haven’t sat down to make my decision yet,” Gore insisted.
The two biggest signees on Wednesday – as measured by size and expected impact – come from the JUCO ranks, and they are the first two commits of the Taggart era.
Defensive tackle Alvin Dempsey of East Central (Miss) CC is a run-stuffer with a proven ability to make big plays. He would fill a position of need for the Owls, as would left tackle Sebastien Dolcine out of Copiah-Lincoln. Once a Kentucky Wildcat, Dolcine had been committed to Mississippi St. and even UCF before flipping to Taggart and FAU. Dolcine would be first in line to replace All-Conference USA left tackle Brandon Walton.
Both will enroll in January, as will speedy New Hampstead (Ga.) wide receiver Justin McKithen, who projects as a slot receiver that could potentially make an impact similar to that of Willie Wright in 2017. Starting FAU slot receiver DeAngelo Antoine’s eligibility expires following Saturday’s Boca Raton Bowl. Wright still has one year of eligibility remaining.
Three defensive ends – Center Point’s (Ala.) DeCarius Hawthorne, Sprayberry’s (Ga.) Marlon Krakue and Carrollton’s (Ga.) Travis Lockhart – all expect to become Owls on Wednesday.
Miami-Columbus right tackle Andre Lamas will join Dempsey on the offensive line. Lamas is projected to play center when he joins the Owls.
Immokalee athlete Charles Toombs is the most versatile athlete expected to sign with FAU. (Gore played every offensive position except offensive line for Killian this season, so he’s in the conversation, too.) Though undersized, Toombs played running back, wide receiver, defensive back and even kicked for Immokalee. The Owls want him at defensive back.
Two other commits, Zephyrhills offensive lineman Malik Jones and Lee (Ala.) safety Kendrick Simpkins are committed to FAU but say they will not sign until February’s National Signing Day.
Taggart could also pull some surprise signings, perhaps including a quarterback to replace Romphf.