Lane Kiffin’s second recruiting class at FAU taking shape

Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Lane Kiffin at the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Florida on December 19, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

With just over a week until signing day, Lane Kiffin’s second recruiting class at Florida Atlantic has shades of his first class.

As of Tuesday morning, Kiffin has 16 players who have either signed a letter of intent or announced their commitment to FAU. Per 247 Sports, 10 of those players (247 has 12 listed) are three-star recruits. 247 gives the Owls’ 2017 class a current overall grade of 83.51, higher than last year’s 82.

The Orlando Sentinel first reported Longwood-Lyman defensive back Deon Woods’ commitment last week. FAUOwlAccess.com wrote on Tuesday morning that Tulane center Junior Diaz will be signing with FAU as a graduate transfer, while safety Armani Adams (St. Petersburg-Lakewood) has not publicly announced his commitment, but did confirm his intention with The Post earlier this month.

Former Auburn wide receiver Kyle Davis transferred to FAU and already is enrolled in classes for the spring semester. Davis was a four-star recruit in 2016 who caught 19 passes in two years before being dismissed from the program in October.

The Owls will also likely list quarterback Chris Robison (Oklahoma) and wide receiver Jovan Durante (West Virginia) among their 2018 signees, despite the two having been with the team since last August. Robison is the likely front-runner for the Owls’ starting quarterback job after Jason Driskel’s retirement and ex-Dwyer star Daniel Parr’s transfer to Duquesne University.

Palm Beach Lakes star Teja Young is one of the more notable commits so far, though he is the only Palm Beach County player at this point to commit to FAU for next year. Three-star quarterback Cordel Litlejohn (Roswell, Ga.) announced his commitment on Sunday, days after two in-state prospects, offensive lineman Doug Johnson (Fort White) and running back Malcolm Davidson (Osceola), did the same. Both Johnson and Davidson are listed as three-star recruits.

Landing top recruits at FAU has become a slightly easier task for Kiffin after leading the Owls to an 11-3 finish in his first season. Even after three straight 3-9 seasons from 2014-16 under previous coach Charlie Partridge, Kiffin had what many recruiting services called Conference USA’s best signing class last season.

“It’s always easier for (recruits) to buy into something that has proof,” Kiffin said late last season. “When you first get to a place, you’ve gotta say, ‘Well, OK, here’s what we did with Reggie Bush or these people and here’s all these records,’ and then people have to believe that to come.”

Kiffin landed five players in the first-ever early-signing period in December, three of whom came from junior colleges. Kiffin reached out to the junior college ranks for several of his 2017 signees, leading to him joking that FAU was becoming “Last Strike U” in reference to JUCO powerhouse East Mississippi. Ex-EMCC stars De’Andre Johnson and Tim Bonner will return for their second seasons in Boca Raton, though a third former Lion — quarterback/wide receiver John Franklin III — has exhausted his eligibility.

Defensive tackle Charles Cameron (Copiah-Lincoln, Miss.) is the only early commit to have enrolled on campus for the spring semester. Cameron will practice in spring camp before being joined this summer by three-star wide receiver and former teammate Nero Nelson.

Nelson will compete for snaps against another JUCO transfer in DeSean Holmes (College of the Canyons, Calif.), a former USC commit for Kiffin as the Trojans’ head coach in 2013. When Kiffin was infamously fired on an airport tarmac by USC athletic director Pat Haden that September, the school’s hiring of Steve Sarkisian led Holmes to de-commit.

“When [Kiffin] left and I went down to USC the next year to meet the new coaching staff, I didn’t get the same feeling I did with Kiffin,” Holmes told The Post by phone earlier this month.

National signing day is set for Feb. 7. Kiffin is expected to speak to the media that day for the first time since FAU’s 50-3 win over Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 19.