Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic change focus to ‘national’ recruiting plan

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)

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin began his tenure at Florida Atlantic in Dec. 2016 by saying he wasn’t intending to send any types of messages, subliminal or otherwise.

After his second recruiting class, Kiffin has sent two vocal messages: FAU is en route to becoming a “national program” and the foundation of the old program, a heavy recruiting base in South Florida, is being left in the past.

[RELATED: Five takeaways from Lane Kiffin’s second recruiting class]

“When we came here, there were people that said there so many great players [that] there is no reason to go outside South Florida,” Kiffin said earlier this week. “I get that and … we’re going to recruit South Florida. It’s more important than any other area, but at the same time, too, we didn’t come here to be the old FAU. We came here to be a national program.”

Among the nearly 20 players Kiffin signed this year, Palm Beach Lakes defensive back Teja Young was the only high school player to come from Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade counties. Former Tulane center Junior Diaz (Miami-Central) and ex-West Virginia wide receiver Jovan Durante (Miramar) each played high school football south of FAU.

Kiffin did add two local stars as preferred walk-ons, with Dwyer defensive end/linebacker Dalton Hustad signing with the Owls on Wednesday and Seminole Ridge offensive lineman Nicholas Screicu doing the same on Friday.

“How many programs only recruit their area, national programs?” Kiffin asked. “They don’t. … You want to be a top-20 program year-in and year-out. You don’t say, ‘I’m going not going over there.’ We’re developing into a national program that we can go into California, we can go into Alabama, we can go into Georgia.”

With FAU having long been considered a realistic option for local players who either don’t have many Division-I offers or who want to stay closer to home, Kiffin’s decision to stray away from his base has some worried about the long-term implications. Former FAU coach Charlie Partridge made such a habit of recruiting within South Florida that 49 of last year’s Conference USA-winning Owls came from the aforementioned South Florida counties.

Though Palm Beach Lakes High coach Al Shipman has tried selling his players for years on the potential good of leaving Florida to “experience some different things,” FAU’s newest philosophy of focusing less on local kids might not work out.

“I think if you don’t recruit the hot bed of the country, you’re making a big mistake,” Shipman told The Post. “You’re making a huge mistake. This is the most-recruited state in the country and for you to openly … say you’re going to recruit this area less, I just personally think that’s mistake. Like a Teja, you have a lot of local kids who want to stay home and have that opportunity.”

FAU has officially signed a total of 10 in-state players among their 17 total recruits this year, down from 13 (of 24) last year and 17 (of 19) in 2015. Of last year’s 12 in-state high-school recruits, however, five came from the three South Florida counties.

Quarterback De’Andre Johnson (2016) and Diaz both opted to return to Florida after out-of-state stints, though Johnson had originally signed with Florida State in 2015 before being dismissed following an assault charge.

“The issue, I think, with FAU is that now they’re more known so they can go outside the county and grab kids they think might be better,” former Seminole Ridge High coach James Parson added. “I think when Kiffin came in, they went (with) a lot of bigger-school, D-I guys who weren’t happy, got those guys and some JUCO kids. … When [Partridge] was there, Charlie brought a few more Palm Beach County guys in.”

Parson did bring up a point that may interest some local players in wake of the changes at FAU. With its heavy emphasis on recruiting locally, Keiser University — which will play its first season this fall under former Oxbridge coach Doug Socha — could become the next FAU in terms of its in-state impact.

“Keiser snatched up a lot of guys,” Parson said. “You can actually stay at home and go to Keiser!”

FAU Signing Day 2018: Five Takeaways from Lane Kiffin’s second recruiting class

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class at Florida Atlantic proved to be a hit, as the Owls won 11 games and a Conference USA title. Will his second class do as well?

A year after his first signing class included “Last Chance U” stars and former Power 5 players, Kiffin and FAU enjoyed another strong signing day this time around.

With the early signing period and the normal national signing day, Kiffin added nearly 20 players who will be expected to help FAU repeat as C-USA champions.

“Our thought was, let’s make sure that we keep ourselves available and spots open to be able to sign the best players that we can,” Kiffin said. “I think that model worked, we battled a lot of Power 5 schools on a lot of these kids and our coaches did a really good job.”

[RELATED: Updated list of FAU commitments and signings]

Five takeaways from FAU’s signing day:

1. Lane has his quarterback(s)

Jason Driskel and Daniel Parr (Dwyer) may be gone, but Kiffin now has two quarterbacks for the future in Chris Robison and Cordel Littlejohn. Robison still figures to be the favorite in spring camp, but the addition of Littlejohn – especially after redshirt junior De’Andre Johnson was cleared for action – adds an unexpected layer to the quarterback battle. Last year’s quarterback battle alone proved that the least-expected candidate (Parr won the job out of camp, only to lose it early in the season to Driskel) will have a chance to start under Kiffin so long as they perform to expectations.

“We bring quarterbacks in as true freshman and we give them a shot – I liked the Cordel story,” Kiffin said. “This was a school that (Illinois) had and one of those things where he  just becomes available … this is a dynamic player that can run, can throw, and a really special kid.”

2. No major flips

Signing day had plenty of last-minute choices and flips across the country, but nearly every recruit who had announced either a prior commitment to FAU or narrowed the Owls to their top three schools signed with the school Wednesday. FAU did get a surprise signing in Austin (Ala.) offensive lineman Marquice Robinson, who had interest from Auburn and Mississippi State before they shied away because of academic concerns.

Robinson has reportedly righted the ship and could be an interesting option to earn playing time in 2018 if he qualifies academically.

“I want a shot at playing in the NFL, and Coach Kiffin and his staff have a lot of experience at getting guys to that level,” Robinson told the Decatur Daily at his signing day ceremony.

3. Defensive line surprisingly earns heavy focus

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that Kiffin prioritized the defensive line when Hunter Snyder, Ernest Bagner, and Steven Leggett all will graduate after this season, but FAU added two JUCO defensive linemen in Charles Cameron (Copiah-Lincoln, Miss.) and Marcel Southall (Tyler, Texas). Given how Jeremiah Taleni – a proven starter at Pittsburgh who arrived as a grad trasfer – was the only transfer lineman to really contribute last season, Kiffin’s decision to stockpile talent with shortened eligibility in the trenches is a curious choice.

4. FAU quietly upgrades wide receivers

No wide receivers may have been among the players to sign with FAU on Wednesday, but former West Virginia wideout Jovan Durante and ex-Auburn Tiger Kyle Davis are both among the official signing class after transfers in the past six months. FAU also added JUCO wideout Nero Nelson (Copiah-Lincoln) and DeSean Homes (College of the Canyons) during the early signing period.

Kalib Woods and Kamrin Solomon may be gone, but Kiffin and new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis Jr. will have plenty of tools to play with at wide receiver – and don’t forget, catch/yards/touchdown leader Willie Wright is only entering his sophomore season.

5. Linebackers, secondary among positions left out

Not every position was going to be addressed, but the failure to add another linebacker was notable. Three-year starter Azeez Al-Shaair is entering his senior season and Rashad Smith is a rising junior. The same arguably goes for the secondary, where Armani Adams, Meiko Dotson and athlete-turned-cornerback Teja Young (Palm Beach Lakes) were the Owls’ only signings this year.

Signing Day 2018: Tulane center Junior Diaz transferring to Florida Atlantic

BOCA RATON — With Seminole Ridge alum Antonyo Woods set to graduate, Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin needs a new center. He seems to have found him.

Tulane center Junior Diaz, who earned his undergraduate degree in December, has confirmed through social media that he will be using his last year of college eligibility at FAU as a grad transfer. Diaz would immediately be able to play and would seemingly be the odds-on favorite to replace Woods, one of seven Owls named to Conference USA’s all-first team in December.

“I can’t get wait to get to work with Coach Kiffin,” Diaz wrote in a Twitter note announcing the commitment.

Diaz returns home to South Florida after playing at Miami Springs High and claiming first-team All-Dade County honors as both a junior and senior. Current Owls offensive tackle Reggie Bain was a high school teammate of Diaz, and the two could start together once again.

Kiffin added several notable grad transfers prior to his first season at FAU, including former Florida State and Auburn quarterback-turned-receiver John Franklin III and defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni. At this time, Diaz is the Owls’ only graduate transfer this season, though Kiffin could add more in the next few months.

FAU also landed a commitment from JUCO center Zack Bennett in January.

Owls quarterback chart taking shape: Gulf Coast quarterback Kaden Frost announced Monday night that he will be committing to the Owls as a preferred walk-on. Frost is only the second quarterback to commit to FAU this year, joining Roswell (Ga.) quarterback Cordel Littlejohn.

“I have a lot to prove and I feel that their offensive scheme is a great fit for myself … and that I will be able to become the best QB I can possibly be,” Frost told The Post in a Twitter message.

FAU is also expected to get good news about one of its current quarterbacks. FAUOwlAccess.com reported on Tuesday morning that De’Andre Johnson, who missed the bulk of last season following surgery for blood clots in his arm, is expected to be cleared for spring camp. An ex-Florida State signee who played at East Mississippi Community College after an assault incident in Tallahassee, Johnson headlined last year’s signing class before serving as the backup for one game to former Dwyer star Daniel Parr.

One source told The Post on Monday that Kiffin may make a statement on Johnson’s status during his signing-day press conference Wednesday.

Johnson would join Oklahoma transfer Chris Robison and last year’s backup Conor Miller as the team’s top three quarterbacks in spring camp. Parr and last year’s starter, Jason Driskel, are no longer on the roster after, respectively, transferring and retiring.

Signing Day 2018: Florida Atlantic has benefited from recent last-minute flips

Florida Atlantic Owls running back Devin Singletary (5) is congratulated by Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Lane Kiffin after a touchdown against the North Texas Mean Green at the 2017 Conference USA Football Championship at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida on December 2, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

BOCA RATON — For any Florida Atlantic fans concerned about how Lane Kiffin’s second signing day will go, one thing should ease your nerves.

In recent years, when signing day finally arrived, the Owls have had success convincing some of their main targets — some of whom have become the team’s top players — to flip at the last minute.

[RELATED: Check out FAU’s 2018 recruiting class as it currently stands]

For proof, look no further than running back Devin Singletary, who two years ago this month was all set to sign with Illinois. Singletary, then a two-star prospect by Rivals, was set to go to a Power 5 program led by former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith … until he flipped to FAU and then-Owls coach Charlie Partridge on signing day.

“It feels great to stay home,” Singletary told The Post after making his choice. “Why not? Why change my climate? I’ve been playing in this my whole life.”

Staying in his “climate” has paid off for Singletary, who after only two seasons is FAU’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 44 and counting. This past season, Singletary was also named the first All-American and first Conference USA MVP in school history.

FAU landed another key, Power 5-bound prospect via signing-day flip in that same recruiting class, when Homestead linebacker and three-star recruit Rashad Smith — all set to sign with Syracuse and then-new head coach Dino Babers — decided to stay in the Sunshine State by signing with the Owls. Smith had previously flipped from FAU to Syracuse the previous month before changing his mind on signing day.

One of only two freshmen to start a game on defense in 2016, Smith led the Owls with six sacks this past season and enters next month’s spring camp fully entrenched as one of two starting linebackers alongside Azeez Al-Shaair.

The flips weren’t limited to Partridge’s classes, though, as three-star wide receiver Willie Wright — originally headed for Memphis — signed with FAU last year. Wright became the first true freshman in FAU history to lead the team in catches (56), receiving yards (657) and receiving touchdowns (6).

FAU’s 2018 recruiting class will continue to take shape before Wednesday’s National Signing Day, but if recent history is any indication, some of the more productive freshman this upcoming season will have made a last-minute choice to play under Kiffin.

And if those players do flip, expect them to do so with a sentiment similar to what Singletary said two years ago.

“I know we’re going to be able to do a lot of great things,” the running back said. ‘This program is definitely about to explode very soon.”

Florida Atlantic offers preferred walk-on spot to Dywer star Dalton Hustad

In what has otherwise been a quiet recruiting season locally, Florida Atlantic has offered Dwyer defensive end/linebacker Dalton Hustad a chance to play for the Owls as a preferred walk-on.

“I can’t let my opportunity of playing for FAU pass me up,” Hustad told The Post in a Twitter message, adding that he will announce his commitment prior to Wednesday’s signing day.

Hustad (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) was named to The Post’s Fall 2017 All-Conference Team for Division 7A last month after recording 13 sacks, four forced fumbles, seven fumbles recovered and 14 tackles for losses this past season. Hustad also played in last month’s Palm Beach County All-Star Game.

If Hustad signs with FAU, he will be one of likely a small handful of local players to commit to play for Lane Kiffin this year. Under previous head coach Charlie Partridge, FAU stressed the importance of recruiting in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. FAU had 16 players from Palm Beach County on last season’s Conference USA-winning team and 49 total from those three counties.

Three of FAU’s seven first-team all-conference players this past season were from Palm Beach County schools, with former American Heritage running back Devin Singletary leading Division I with 32 rushing touchdowns. Seminole Ridge graduates Antonyo Woods, Roman Fernandez and Jalen Young were all named to the first team as well.

Only one Palm Beach County player, Palm Beach Lakes athlete Teja Young, has committed to the Owls at this time. Young told The Post last month that he will play defensive back and return kicks at FAU.

FAU has awarded several walk-ons with scholarships in past years, with another defensive end — the recently graduated Haiden Nagel — earning one before the start of his redshirt junior season in 2016.

“[Earning a scholarship is] what I am aiming for by working hard and proving myself — just like at Dwyer,” Hustad wrote.

 

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.

Lane Kiffin, FAU offer scholarship to 13-year-old QB son of Tee Martin

Lane Kiffin, the newly announced head coach of Florida Atlantic University football, speaks to the press at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on December 13, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Lane Kiffin is back scouring the middle-school ranks for the next quarterback prodigy.

This time around, Florida Atlantic’s head football coach reportedly has his sights set on Kaden Martin, a seventh-grader out of Redondo Beach, Calif. Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman first reported the news.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Martin is the son of former Tennessee quarterback and current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin. The younger Martin is also a promising baseball player, according to Feldman, with a fastball clocked in the 80s. The elder Martin worked under Kiffin during his time with the Trojans.

“I’m just extremely proud and appreciative for the opportunity for Kaden,” Tee Martin told AL.com. “He and Coach Kiffin have always had a great relationship. I’m thankful.”

These aren’t uncharted waters for Kiffin.

In 2010, he landed a commitment to USC from then-seventh-grader David Sills. Kiffin was fired before Sills finished high school. Sills decommitted from the Trojans and wound up playing wide receiver at West Virginia.

Former members of Kiffin’s USC staff later told Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes that Sills’ uber-early recruitment was a way to bring attention to the program.

“Lane’s thought was any news was good news,” one staffer said. “He knew it would be the lead story everywhere.”

No matter Kiffin’s intentions now, the end result is the same — the Owls are all over the national radar.

Martin clearly has some athletic promise, but he’s a class of 2022 member who has yet to take a high school snap. There’s no telling what type of recruit he’ll be by that point, or even if Kiffin will still be calling the shots in Boca Raton. Kiffin hasn’t coached in one spot longer than the three-plus seasons he spent at USC.

But none of that matters now. FAU has gone viral because of Kiffin … again.

Lane Kiffin says horrible Signing Day hype video was ‘a trick’

Lane Kiffin, the newly announced head coach of Florida Atlantic University football, shakes hands with Spanish River football coach Bill Ceasar at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on December 13, 2016.  (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Lane Kiffin, the newly announced head coach of Florida Atlantic University football, shakes hands with Spanish River football coach Bill Ceasar at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on December 13, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Comatose coach squinting through sunlight? Check. Choppy editing and cheesy soundtrack? Check and check.

FAU and first-year football coach Lane Kiffin used the above recipe to create either the week’s most awkward or most sneaky-genius hype video ahead of National Signing Day.

The video, which was posted to and later deleted from FAU’s official Twitter account, was objectively cringeworthy. It had the enthusiasm of a child sleep-walking through daily chores and the soundtrack of a mandatory corporate retreat.

All of that helped it catch viral fire, pushing FAU into the national spotlight in a week typically reserved for college football’s superpowers. That the Owls subsequently enjoyed their best signing day ever — tops in Conference USA, 72nd overall on 247 Sports — suggests the clip actually helped, not hurt, their sales pitch.

That, Kiffin said Wednesday, was the plan all along.

“That was a trick,” Kiffin said of the non-hype video. “We did it so bad because we knew we would get so much attention. That was actually on purpose.”

Some remain skeptical even after the explanation. If the video was intentionally atrocious and made solely as an attention-grabber, why did FAU feel the need to expunge it from its Twitter feed?

But no matter the intent, the clip served its purpose. The Owls were buzzing across the football landscape and continue to do so after Kiffin’s first recruiting haul.

FAU announced 24 signees Wednesday. The class included 15 three-star players, according to 247 Sports, including former Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson, former Texas wide receiver DeAndre McNeal and former Miami safety commit Ahman Ross. McNeal, the nation’s No. 8 junior college receiver, picked FAU over UCLA.

Maybe the Bruins should have invested in their own awful (but maybe purposely awful) recruiting video.

FAU coach Lane Kiffin rescinds scholarship offer days before Signing Day

Lane Kiffin, the newly announced head coach of Florida Atlantic University football, speaks to the press at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on December 13, 2016.  (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Lane Kiffin, the newly announced head coach of Florida Atlantic University football, speaks to the press at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on December 13, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

New Florida Atlantic football coach Lane Kiffin has already made national noise, and it’s not all the kind of noise he would like.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Owls skipper rescinded a scholarship offer to Orlando-Dr. Phillips athlete D.J. Charles. Making matters worse, the move was made just ahead of National Signing Day on Feb. 1, leaving the two-star prospect scrambling for a home he thought he’d already found.

When Kiffin was hired in December, Charles began getting the cold shoulder from the new regime. His phone calls yielded only voicemails, and a Twitter connection with Kiffin’s brother and FAU defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin only increased the confusion.

“He followed me on Twitter, so I followed him back,” Charles told the Orlando Sentinel, “and then he hit me up on DM, saying ‘Hey D.J., what’s up’ … and then he asked me, ‘Why did I decommit from FAU.’”

But Charles never decommitted. He asked why the new coaching staff hadn’t communicated with him and was told — a few times — that they would review his film and get back to him.

When no one did, Charles’ father, Lebert Charles, called the school and eventually received word the scholarship offer was no longer on the table.

This situation isn’t unique to Kiffin and Charles. Scholarship offers aren’t always honored after coaching changes, as play styles and subsequent needs change. New UConn football coach Randy Edsall pulled an offer to linebacker Ryan Dickens seven months after he verbally committed to the school.

Charles had been locked in at FAU since October. At the time, the 5’9”, 190-pounder told the Orlando Sentinel he felt, “relaxed, more comfortable now. I can just think about finishing up my senior year and I don’t have to worry about what school I’m going to.”

Now, Charles is back to worrying and racing to find an open spot he didn’t plan on needing.

Lane Kiffin signs former FSU QB De’Andre Johnson at FAU

De'Andre Johnson #14 of the Gold team runs for yards against the Garnet team during Florida State's Garnet and Gold spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium on April 11, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
De’Andre Johnson #14 of the Gold team runs for yards against the Garnet team during Florida State’s Garnet and Gold spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium on April 11, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin is already making a big impact in recruiting for FAU, signing a former Florida State quarterback Wednesday.

East Mississippi C.C. QB De’Andre Johnson has signed his letter of intent with the Owls, according to 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow. The 3-star quarterback signed with Florida State out of high school in 2015 but transferred after last season.

Johnson is the second-ranked pro-style JUCO quarterback in the country. He will enroll at FAU in January and will be able to play immediately. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Kiffin accepted the head coaching job at FAU on Monday. He will continue to serve as Alabama’s offensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff.

Alabama plays Washington in the playoff semifinal in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.