It’s a big group of specialists to consider – encompassing kickers, punters, kick returners, punt returners, long snappers, and more. Basically, anyone who played on special teams qualifies.
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 Special Team Performers
5. Lucky Whitehead (2013-14): Whitehead was destined to appear in these lists at some point, and what better spot than the one that ultimately earned him an NFL career. An explosive punt returner who put a charge into FAU fans every time he touched the ball, Whitehead averaged 15.60 yards per punt return – the most in FAU history. His 23.96 yards per kickoff return are third best in FAU history. He’s also the most recent Owl to return a punt for a touchdown, doing so in 2015. Whitehead parlayed his shake and speed into an NFL career, first with the Dallas Cowboys and later with the New York Jets. He gets the edge here over several players from varying disciplines. Brittney Tellis, the first Owl to return a punt for a TD, holds the FAU record for most punt returns in program history, 78. Kicker Mark Myers was a rock for those first FAU teams. Long snapper Brian Pare was the first former FAU player invited to an NFL camp. Michael Lockley blocked a program-record five kicks, including one on the final play that sealed the victory against UAB in 2010. And we wouldn’t dare not mention that Trey Hendrickson recorded all four of his blocks as a senior.
4. Kerrith Whyte (2015-Present): FAU played 201 games in program history without a kickoff return for a score before Whyte took one back 98 yards in a victory over Louisiana Tech last season. That Whyte broke through the barrier isn’t all that surprising. He earned Conference USA All-Freshmen honors as a kick returner in 2015, when he set an FAU record with 1,002 kickoff return yards. His 1,570 career return yards already place Whyte fourth on FAU’s career list, and he still has two years of eligibility remaining.
3. Dalton Schomp (2013-16): Schomp will always be best known for being the NCAA’s leading punter in 2015, earning All-Conference USA honors. He averaged 48.0 yards per punt that year, benefiting from the Owls employing Ryan Rickel as their pooch punter. During his career, Schomp’s punts traveled 7,326 yards – second-farthest in FAU history. Fifty of them pinned opponents inside their 20. A second team C-USA honoree in 2014, Schomp averaged a program-high 45.0 yards per punt during his career.
2. Mickey Groody (2007-11): An All-Sun Belt selection in 2010, Groody is FAU’s top punter in terms of total punts, 217, and total yards, 9,127. Groody averaged 42.1 yards per punt, which is only second best in program history, but Groody never benefited from having a pooch punter on the team to handle the short, directional punts that cut into a punter’s average. And 59 of his career punts pinned opponents inside the 20. A good athlete with a strong football mind, Groody also served as FAU’s scout team quarterback during 2011’s spring practice.
1. Greg Joseph (2014-17): Points win football games, and no one in FAU history has scored more of them than Joseph. He kicked the most field goals (57) and extra points (165) in FAU history – totaling 336 points. His 109 points in 2017 are second only to Devin Singletary (198) for the most in a single year. Joseph also proved to be a defensive weapon by booming kickoffs through the end zone, pinning opponents in their own territory. Opponents returned only 23 of Joseph’s 101 kickoffs last season. Joseph’s success earned him a free agent contract with the Miami Dolphins, where he is currently competing to be the starting kicker.
FAU Football Top 5 Position Countdown
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Interior Linemen
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Middle Linebackers
- Outside Linebackers
- Special Teams