BOCA RATON – Following FAU football’s best season in program history, and about a month to kill before the start of fall camp, this seems like a good time to reflect on past football seasons and players. Ultimately those thoughts led to a fun question: Who are the five best FAU players at each position in program history?
While considering the best of the best at FAU, players were judged on their performance (statistics), what they meant to their team and sheer physical talent. As part of our research for this list we consulted with former players, former coaches and media members who’ve covered the Owls. Reaching the NFL is an indicator of talent, but players who played professionally weren’t necessarily placed above some who didn’t.
With that in mind, let’s get to the list.
Top 5 FAU Quarterbacks
5. Quez Johnson (2013-15): Having rushed for the sixth most yards in program history may not seem like much until the realization hits that the player in question actually played quarterback, not running back. Johnson rushed for 1,565 yards during his three years behind center, and his 19 rushing TDs are also sixth most in program history. Johnson also threw for 5,673 yards and 38 touchdowns, both third most in program history.
4. Jeff Van Camp (2006-2010): Van Camp spent his first three seasons as Rusty Smith’s back-up, but still might have been the most physically gifted signal caller to take a snap at FAU. Van Camp’s statistics are skewed lower because he played at the beginning of the low point of FAU history, but his 29 passing TDs are fourth in program history. And his career completion percentage of 57.2 is third best. Van Camp also played during a time when FAU’s offense consisted primarily of handing the ball to Alfred Morris. Following his career, the Pittsburgh Steelers invited Van Camp to training camp, an offer he says he told OwlAccess.com he turned down.
3. Jason Driskel (2014-17): As recently as October, Driskel wouldn’t have even made this list, but leading a 1-3 team to 10 consecutive victories, its only Conference USA championship and a Boca Raton Bowl title is hard to overlook. Driskel took over for Johnson behind center in 2016 and ended his career less than 50 passing yards behind Johnson. The 67-percent pass completion rate in 2017 is the best among Owls who attempted more than 40 passes. None of those stats accurately measure Driskel’s intellect, which allowed him to make the right reads and get the Owls out of bad plays.
2. Jared Allen (2001-04): Though Allen didn’t technically start FAU’s first game – that honor went to Garrett Jahn, who won a coin flip – he’s pretty much remembered as being the Owls’ first QB. Allen led FAU to the FCS semifinals in the program’s third season. He ranks second in most FAU career passing categories, including attempts (976), completions (552), yards (7,931) and passing TDs (47). His pass efficiency rating of 134.4 is tops among Owls, as is his 14.4 average yards per completion. Allen signed with Tampa Bay but didn’t make a regular-season roster. He later piloted Amsterdam to NFL Eurpoe’s final World Bowl. Following his professional career Allen returned to FAU as an assistant coach.
1. Rusty Smith (2005-09): Pick an important statistical passing category and Smith leads it. He is FAU’s career leader in touchdowns (76) and yards (10,112), and also produced the two best single-season performances by a quarterback with regard to touchdowns and yards in FAU history. Smith led the Owls to their first two bowl appearances – victories in the New Orleans and Motor City bowls – and became the first FAU player ever drafted when Tennessee selected him in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. As much as Allen meant to the program, Smith stands alone atop the list.
FAU Football Top 5 Position Countdown
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Interior Linemen
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Middle Linebackers
- Outside Linebackers
- Special Teams