The NCAA allows schools to place 25 newcomers on scholarship per year, and FAU’s 2020 Signing Class will approach that total.
FAU has already announced half the class. Ten players signed during December’s early signing period. The Owls also announced four transfers, and sources within FAU say that Clemson wide receiver TJ Chase will be part of this class.
That leaves the Owls with only 10 more scholarships to award. FAU enters Wednesday with eight known commits, one of whom will grayshirt.
What can FAU fans expect on National Signing Day? Glad you asked.
Six FAU Signing Day Expectations
1. Little Drama: Taggart’s battle for players hasn’t played out openly on the internet. As a result, some of the battles they lose won’t be known publicly. One player we’ll be watching is Jireh Prep DB Jahad Carter. He visited FAU two weekends ago, then spent last weekend at Syracuse. He’s believed to be leaning toward the Orange, but his destination won’t be known publicly until Wednesday’s 9:30 a.m. Signing ceremony. Tampa-Chamberlain WR Kaleb Long, who visited during the same weekend as Carter, is not expected to sign anywhere on Wednesday as he has not yet qualified academically. FAU asked Monroe WR Za’tariuos Anderson (Ga.) to sign and grayshirt, but Anderson says he won’t sign on Wednesday, electing to see if other opportunities open. A late qualifier, Anderson has an offer from West Georgia but at one point had some Power 5 interest. Unlike Anderson, fellow Georgian Jaden Wheeler, a defensive tackle, is expected to sign and grayshirt.
2. Not Much South Florida Presence: Too much is often made of FAU having to recruit Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Lane Kiffin grabbed many of his best players from Florida’s panhandle, Georgia and Alabama. But in his introductory press conference Taggart specifically stated a goal of owning those three counties. Entering Wednesday FAU only has two South Florida high schoolers as part of its class, Miami-Columbus offensive lineman Andre Lamas and Miami-Edison DB Trevor Reaves. And Lamas originally committed under Kiffin. Hired in December, the accelerated recruiting period prompted Taggart to stick with some of the players he saw while at Florida St. The South Florida focus, if it materializes, will have to wait until the 2021 class.
3. The Transfer Game: A zest for transfers also likely contributed to the limited number of South Florida High School signees. Five FBS players – four of them from Power 5 programs – will count against the 25-scholarship max. Three of them, Duke’s Aaron Young, FSU’s De’Marcus Adams and Clemson’s Chase will play wide receiver, as will Cincinnati transfer Yanez Rogers. The other known transfer is FSU DT Malcolm Lamar. Taggart will comment on four of those players for the first time on Wednesday. NCAA rules may preclude him from speaking about Chase, who is not yet enrolled. FAU also added three junior college players.
4. Filling Positions of Need: At least two and potentially all four wide receiver transfers will be eligible to play in 2020. All the clamoring about FAU desperately needing defensive tackles was overblown and uninformed considering that the Jim Leavitt-coordinated defense will switch from a base 4-3 to a base 3-4, eliminating the need for so many DTs. FAU signed JUCO transfer Alvin Dempsey during the early signing period and will add Orlando-Jones DT Evan Anderson on Wednesday. Those worried about FAU’s DT depth consistently forgot that Jaylen Joyner enjoyed a strong fall camp there and should be ready to assume a larger role in 2020. The loss of starting corners James Pierre (declared early for the NFL Draft) and Chris Tooley (graduation) hurts, but FAU signed Immokalee DB Chris Toombs in December, and on Wednesday night Wakulla athlete Jaylon Worsham, the Florida Class 5A Player of the Year, committed to FAU as a blueshirt. He likely won’t be announced as a signee on Wednesday, but because he never made an official visit to FAU he’s been told he’ll be put on scholarship for the fall. Worsham’s expected to begin his career as a DB. FAU may also fill a void from within. There are rumblings that corner Meiko Dotson, who tied for lead nationally in interceptions with nine then announced his entrance into the transfer portal, has decided to remain at FAU.
5. Signing Day Surprises: Unlike last season when players seemed to emerge from nowhere to say they’re singing with Kiffin and FAU, Wednesday doesn’t figure to offer many surprises. The Owls still don’t have a tight end in this class, so that might be coming. There will be a warm moment when Tallahassee-University QB Willie Taggart Jr. signs to play for his dad. Bigger surprises might come later. FAU isn’t expected to use all of his allotted scholarships, allowing Taggart to add a transfer or two in the coming months.
6. FAU Will Announce a Class: This seems fundamental, but the Owls never actually did announce their 2019 signing class. Not on Signing Day. Not ever. Taggart will meet with the media on Wednesday evening and we’re told that he’ll formally announce the class.