Travis Homer, a three-star running back from Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, had two reasons to be at Friday night’s UM-FAU game
The first: to cheer on his beloved Miami Hurricanes, whom he has been committed to since the end of May. The second: to support his older brother Tevin Homer, a 20-year-old, walk-on junior cornerback for the Owls who transferred home from Arkansas Baptist this fall.
“They would have loved playing against each other [Friday night],” their mother, Karri Valot, said. “[Tevin] turned down a full ride to a school in South Carolina to play in Florida.”
Though they didn’t face each other Friday, Tevin and Travis, two Palm Beach County products, will have a chance to go head-to-head next season when FAU and UM wrap up the last of a three-game series at Sun Life Stadium.
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Although the Owls and Canes are not scheduled beyond 2016 at the moment, FAU athletic director Pat Chung and UM athletic director Blake James said Friday both programs are interested in continuing the series down the road.
UM has a few openings on its schedule in the coming years, including one in 2016 (FAU is already on that schedule). But Chung said the Owls have their schedule locked up through 2020. So, unless FAU buys out an opponent (or an opponent switches out on them), the Owls and Canes won’t meet again until 2021 at the earliest.
“I haven’t talked to Pat about what makes most sense,” James said on WQAM’s broadcast during Friday’s weather delay. “As long as they’re interested in continuing the series, I’m confident it’s something we’ll be very interested in. We talked about really wanting to own South Florida [in recruiting]. Coming up here to play a game is a win for our program.”
The Hurricanes had five Palm Beach County natives in uniform for Friday night’s game: junior fullback Gage Batten (Palm Beach Dwyer); sophomore offensive tackle Kc McDermott (Wellington Palm Beach Central); sophomore linebacker Marques Gayot (Lake Worth Park Vista); redshirt freshman receiver Darrell Langham (Lantana Santaluces); and freshman linebacker Charles Perry (Royal Palm Beach).
Three of UM’s 22 commitments in the 2016 class are from Palm Beach County: four-star receiver Ahmmon Richards (Wellington); three-star linebacker Zach McCloud (Lantana Santaluces); and Homer. McCloud and Richards were both playing in their respective high school games Friday night.
Travis, whose team improved to 2-1 after a win on Thursday, has run for 383 yards and five touchdowns on 50 carries in three games this season.
Homer reiterated he’s completely committed to the Hurricanes and won’t be taking any recruiting visits.
“I can’t wait to get there,” he said.
FOUR NEW STARTERS
There were two new starters on both offense and defense for the Canes this week.
With Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios out Friday night, the Hurricanes started two new receivers: senior Herb Waters and redshirt junior Malcolm Lewis. It was career start No.11 for Lewis and the 10th for Waters.
On defense, sophomore defensive tackle Anthony Moten made his first career start, replacing sophomore Courtel Jenkins in the lineup. Senior Tyriq McCord also started ahead of sophomore Darrion Owens, last week’s starter at outside linebacker.
Owens was helped off the field by trainers with an apparent right knee injury with 2:09 left in the first quarter. He was in tears, according to sideline reports, and had ice on his knee.
FAU Stadium provided a scenic backdrop that included the ocean 1.8 miles due east. How to know the exact mileage without going on the Web? A bright red sign lying flat on the sideline of Howard Schnellenberger Field — from one 25-yard line to the other 25-yard line — in huge white font read: “1.8 MILES TO THE BEACH,’’ with arrows pointing toward the water.
Outside the stadium, fans played a carnival-like game with FAU and UM football figures racing each other. Stuffed animals were the grand prize.