State Colleges

Lane Kiffin off to a fast start with signing class at FAU

Special to the Miami Herald

Lane Kiffin gestures as he speaks after being introduced as the new Florida Atlantic head football coach, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Boca Raton, Fla. The school announced the move on Twitter on Tuesday, a day after Alabama coach Nick Saban said his offensive coordinator was leaving to take over the Owls. It's the fourth opportunity for Kiffin to be a head coach, after an NFL stint with the Oakland Raiders and college ones at Tennessee and USC.
Lane Kiffin gestures as he speaks after being introduced as the new Florida Atlantic head football coach, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Boca Raton, Fla. The school announced the move on Twitter on Tuesday, a day after Alabama coach Nick Saban said his offensive coordinator was leaving to take over the Owls. It's the fourth opportunity for Kiffin to be a head coach, after an NFL stint with the Oakland Raiders and college ones at Tennessee and USC. AP

Get ready for the De’Andre to DeAndre Show.

Coach Lane Kiffin’s first Owls recruiting class, which was announced on Wednesday, boasts 24 recruits — 12 on defense, 10 on offense and two designated as “athletes” who could be used on either side of the ball.

But Kiffin has apparently opted for some high-risk, potentially high-reward players who have already played at various other colleges, including quarterback De’Andre Johnson and wide receiver DeAndre McNeal.

Johnson, who was kicked out of Florida State, is already enrolled at FAU. But Wednesday brought a surprise when Kiffin beat out UCLA and Missouri for McNeal, a 6-1, 235-pounder who started his career at Texas and played for a California junior college last season. McNeal had been suspended at Texas.

Overall, Kiffin signed nine players in this class who have attended a college previously. He also signed one player from a prep school as the Owls look to fill holes on their roster immediately.

UCF

Outside of the Big Three of Miami, Florida State and Florida, UCF appeared to sign the best recruiting class in the state.

UCF brought in 21 players, including 11 on defense. Linebacker, with five recruits, is where UCF added the most depth.

Two players who had committed to the Knights — defensive tackle Jamari Chisolm (signed with Texas) and defensive back Tariq Carpenter (Georgia Tech) —ended up elsewhere.

But UCF added several previously uncommitted players on Wednesday, including Miami Southridge running back Bentavious Thompson; wide receiver Marlon Williams, who caught 22 TD passes as a senior; linebackers Sterling Jones and Lionel Cummings; and defensive back Zamari Maxwell.

In addition to linebacker, UCF loaded up on offensive skill-position players, signing two quarterbacks, two running backs and three wide receivers.

UCF, which graduated all four of its starting defensive backs, signed three players for its secondary, including Southridge’s Antwan Collier, who is already enrolled.

Among the players to watch are running back Otis Anderson, who runs a 4.3 40; defensive lineman Jeremiah Zio, a 6-8 converted basketball player; and 6-4, 295-pound center Cole Schneider, who was first-team All-State, won a state title in wrestling and ran a 4.8 in the 40. He can bench press 365 pounds.

SOUTH FLORIDA

The Bulls’ first class under new coach Charlie Strong includes three players from Carol City — wide receiver Kevaughn Dingle and safeties Donelle Thomas and Naytron Culpepper.

Strong also signed two more local wide receivers: Jernard Phillips of Central and Randall St. Felix from Krop. Phillips is already enrolled.

The Bulls lost three players who had previously committed to USF, and all of them signed with Oregon: Cocoa running back Bruce Judson, Deerfield Beach wide receiver Daewood Davis and Apopka wide receiver Demetri Burch.

BETHUNE-COOKMAN

The Wildcats signed 16 players — eight on each side of the ball. They loaded up at wide receiver with four recruits, and two of their offensive linemen are from Miami: Cedric Jackson of Norland and Teaki Fuller of Booker T. Washington.

Jackson, primarily a guard, is a “well-rounded offensive lineman,” according to Wildcats coach Terry Sims.

Fuller, who also had offers from Charlotte and Northern Colorado, played guard and tackle.

“He’s a road-grader,” Sims said of Fuller. “He’s a powerful blocker with great hips and feet. He gets on his targets and finishes blocks.”

FAMU

Coach Alex Wood announced a signing class of 17 players, including Chaminade guard Steven Jean-Baptiste.

The Rattlers signed two high school quarterbacks — D.J. Phillips, who was the Tallahassee TD Club Offensive Player of the Year, and Dekovin Cann, who is listed as an athlete because he also plays defense.

Phillips, a 6-3, 190-pounder, led Tallahassee Rickards to the third round of the playoffs for the first time in school history.

Cann, a 6-4, 215-pounder, passed for 1,980 yards and ran for 976 yards as a senior.

Around the state

FLORIDA ATLANTIC

QB — De’Andre Johnson, 6-0, 175, E. Mississippi JC

RB — Tyrek Tisdale, 6-1, 200, New York

FB — Chase Lasater, 6-2, 240, Jacksonville

WR — DeAndre McNeal, 6-1, 235, California

WR — Willie Wright, 5-8, 155, Jacksonville

WR — Jordan Merrell, 5-11, 180, St. Thomas Aquinas

TE — Logan Peterson, 6-3, 230, Texas

OT — Joey Palmer, 6— 5, 305, Butler C.C.

OT — BJ Etienne, 6-3, 285, St. Thomas Aquinas

OG — Robert Hawkins, 6-3, 265, American Heritage

DE — Ernest Bagner, 6-5, 235, Riverside (Calif.) JC

DE — Tim Bonner, 6-4, 220, E. Mississippi JC

DT — Chase Hooper, 6-3, 265, Georgia

OLB — Carson Lydon, 6-2, 245, California

OLB — Isaac Readon, 5-11, 195, Booker T.

OLB — Akileis Leroy, 6-1, 235, Georgia

CB — Zyon Gilbert, 6-1, 175, Alabama

CB — Diashun Moss, 5-10, 170, Cardinal Gibbons

CB — Rodney Washington, 6-1, 190, Contra Costa College

S — Ahman Ross, 5-11, 195, Jacksonville

S — Jovon Burriss, 6-2, 185, California

S — Qu’ran Hafiz, 6-0, 185, Jacksonville

ATH — D’Anfernee McGriff, 6-1, 215, Iowa Western C.C.

ATH — Denzel Houston, 5-10, 185, Daytona Mainland

UCF

QB — Darriel Mack, 6-3, 215, Virginia

QB — Noah Vedral, 6-2, 185, Nebraska

RB — Otis Anderson, 5-11, 170, Jacksonville

RB — Bentavious Thompson, 6-1, 190, Southridge

WR — Emmanuel Greene, 5-10, 170, IMG Academy

WR — Gabriel Davis, 6-3, 215, Seminole

WR — Marlon Williams, 6-0, 205, Seminole

OT — Samuel Jackson, 6-6, 330, Bradenton

OT — Julio Castillo, 6-6, 315, Mayo Lafayette

OG — Cole Schneider, 6-4, 295, Ft. Myers Riverdale

DE — Mason Cholewa, 6-7, 265, Pennsylvania

DE — Jeremiah Zio, 6-8, 245, St. Petersburg Farragut

DE — Stephon Zayas, 6-6, 210, Fort Lauderdale Dillard

LB — Sterling Jones, 6-2, 225, Montgomery, Alabama

LB — Lionel “LJ” Cummings, 6-3, 205, Bartow

LB — Gabriel Luyanda, 6-5, 230, Garden City (Ks.) JC

LB — Kalia Davis, 6-2, 250, Pensacola

LB — T.J. Pitts, 6-1, 250, Williston

DB — Zamari Maxwell, 6-1, 175, Pinellas Park

DB — Rennard Bozeman, 5-10, 175, Boyd Anderson

DB — Antwan Collier, 6-3, 180, Miami Southridge

USF

RB — Duran Bell, 5-11, 170, Hillsborough

WR — Jernard Phillips, 5-10, 165, Miami Central

WR — Kevaughn Dingle, 6-1, 195, Carol City

WR — Randall St. Felix, 6-1, 190, Miami Krop

TE — Fred Lloyd, 6-4, 195, Georgia

OG — Demetris Harris, 6-3, 285, Jacksonville

OG — Jean Marcellus, 6-3, 295, Tampa Jefferson

OT — Jeremiah Stafford, 6-3, 295, Tampa Catholic

DE — Darrien Grant, 6-4, 220, Bradenton Southeast

DE Jabreel Stephens, 6-3, 230, Seffner Armwood

DT — Kelvin Kegler, 6-2, 275, Madison County

DT — Kelvin Pinkney, 6-2, 285, Sarasota Booker

LB Kierston Johnson, 6-0, 215, Jacksonville

CB — Nick Roberts, 5-10, 170, Oakleaf

CB — Bentlee Sanders, 5-8, 165, Tampa Catholic

S — Mekhi LaPointe, 6-2, 180, Seffner Armwood

S — Donelle Thomas, 5-11, 175, Carol City

S — Naytron Culpepper, 6-0, 175, Carol City

BETHUNE- COOKMAN

RB — Cecil Fleming, 6-2, 185, Claremont

RB — Isaac Washington, 5-9, 190, Cape Coral

WR — Adul Yates Jr., 6-0, 175, St. Petersburg

WR — Jonathon Thomas, 6-0, 195, Port St. Lucie

WR — Dominique Linton, 6-2, 185, Naples

WR — Marquis Wimberly, 6-2, 205, California

OL — Cedric Jackson, 6-2, 300, Miami Norland

OL — Teaki Fuller, 6-3, 300, Miami Booker T.

DL — Gerome Howard, 6-4, 275, Sarasota

DL — Uriah Gilbert, 6-2, 325, Ocala

DL — Kris Holt, 6-5, 285, Baltimore

LB — Titus Curry, 6-1, 235, Jacksonville

LB — Marquis Hendrix, 6-1, 230, Ocala

LB — Devin James, 6-2, 235, Port St. Lucie

CB — Keon Jackson, 6-2, 185, Jacksonville

S — Kennedy Ndukwe, 6-0, 190, Baltimore

FLORIDA A&M

QB — DJ Phillips, 6-3, 190, Tallahassee

QB/DB — Dekovinn Cann, 6-4, 215, St.Petersburg

FB — Kyle Johnson, 6-1, 230, Venice High

TE — Christian Roa, 6-2, 250, Altamonte Springs

OG — Steven Jean-Baptiste, 6-2, 290, Chaminade

OT — Donovan Hovey- Franklin, 6-5, 315, Daytona Beach

OT/DT — Antawn Lewis, 6-4, 290, Palm Beach Dwyer

DE — Louis Neal, 6-2, 255, St. Petersburg

DT — Martravious Hardrick, 6-2, 265, Panama City

DT — De’Montre Moore, 6-3, 275, Tampa

DT — Bryan Crawford, 6-2, 280, Pahokee

LB — Emmanuel Yisrael, 5-10, 205, Riviera Beach

CB — Chris Jerry, 5-9, 170, Tallahassee

CB — Dominique Walker, 5-11, 185, Brooksville

CB — Levon Barnett, 6- 0, 180, Palm Beach Dwyer

S — Ellrie Allen, 5-11, 200, Wesley Chapel

K — Chris Faddoul, 6-1, 180, Wesley Chapel

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