Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison reinstated from suspension

Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison, after redshirting last season, is expected to compete for a starting role this spring. (FAUsports.com)

BOCA RATON — Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison’s indefinite suspension was more like a sick day, as the redshirt freshman quarterback was reinstated and practiced on Thursday morning.

Robison, who is expected to compete for the starting quarterback role this spring with redshirt junior and former “Last Chance U” star De’Andre Johnson, was suspended earlier this week for violating team rules. Sources told The Post on Tuesday that Robison, in his first full year with FAU after transferring from Oklahoma last summer, skipped a mandatory tutoring session.

Robison was previously dismissed from the Sooners for violating team rules and being arrested for public intoxication last April. Johnson and Robison split first-team reps on Thursday, though Johnson was the unofficial “starter” and began drills as the No. 1 quarterback.

“Like we just told our players, you got choices. We can’t make the choices for you,” Kiffin said on Tuesday. “If you don’t want to make the right choices, there’s punishments for them. I think our punishments are a bit more severe than most people would be, but we want to teach our guys they gotta do everything right.”

Florida Atlantic Owls begin second spring camp under Lane Kiffin

FAU head coach Lane Kiffin at practice in Boca Raton, Florida on March 23, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

BOCA RATON — The Lane Train — and all that entails — has left the station for its second trip around the college football world.

Fresh off an 11-3 season which featured a Conference USA title and a Boca Bowl victory over Akron, Lane Kiffin and the Florida Atlantic Owls hit the Oxley Center fields Tuesday morning for one of 15 spring-camp practices.

“I thought the defense had a good day today … good leadership by those guys,” Kiffin said. “Lot of veterans coming back … Same issue (on offense) as a year ago, even though (there are) different players. We had a snap issue much like we did a year ago. Too many turnovers.”

Even with the turnovers, the start of spring camp marked a return to action for an FAU offense that averaged over 40 points per game last year. Former Florida State and “Last Chance U” quarterback De’Andre Johnson was a full participant in his first practice since undergoing surgery for blood clots in his arm last September.

Kiffin told his players early to avoid the “rat poison” and positive talk which came from the Owls’ first winning record since 2008 and first-ever C-USA title.

“(At) 7:45 this morning, we made sure we understood that this was a different team,” Kiffin said, adding he reminded his players their current record is 0-0. “(This has) nothing to do with what that team did. … (That was a) very special season, but that means nothing — like a preseason ranking.”

Kiffin drew from his past experience as a head coach to motivate his players, explaining that his 2012 USC Trojans were No. 1 in the AP preseason polls, but “ended up out of the rankings.”

All-American running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Devin “Motor” Singletary (American Heritage-Delray) was among the players who took Kiffin’s words to heart.

“It was good. Everything that we did, of course, that’s gonna be remembered forever,” Singletary said, pausing. “But it’s 2018! We gotta make a new name for ourselves.”

QB battle: With Chris Robison suspended indefinitely, Johnson took roughly 75 percent of the snaps on Tuesday. Kiffin indicated Robison could be back at any time, but the starting job is Johnson’s for the time being. Former walk-on and Cypress Bay quarterback Conor Miller is the backup until Robison returns.

Hold the line: Joining returning tackles Reggie Bain and Brandon Walton on the offensive line were guards BJ Etienne and Will Tuihalamaka and center Tarrick Thomas. Thomas primarily served as the backup center last season after starting four games in 2016 before suffering a season-ending injury.

Whyte in: Redshirt-junior running back Kerrith Whyte (Seminole Ridge) was a full participant in practice on Tuesday. Whyte was in a boot this winter for an Achilles injury.

Cameron impresses: JUCO transfer defensive tackle Charles Cameron showed no signs of struggling to adjust to the Division I level, blowing past offensive linemen without any issues. Cameron is the only player who signed with the Owls during the inaugural early signing period who is participating in camp this spring.

“He made a lot of plays out there,” Kiffin said of Cameron. “There’s no pads, but he was in the backfield.”

FAU quarterback Chris Robison suspended indefinitely by Lane Kiffin

Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison, after redshirting last season, is expected to compete for a starting role this spring. (FAUsports.com)

BOCA RATON — Florida Atlantic quarterback Chris Robison, who had hoped to win the starting job after transferring from Oklahoma last season, has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.

Multiple sources told The Post on Tuesday afternoon that the latest suspension is related to academics, as Robison did not attend a recent tutoring session. It is not known how many sessions Robison has missed.

Robison, 19, was dismissed from Oklahoma last summer for violating team rules and a public intoxication arrest in April 2017.

Owls coach Lane Kiffin, who compared Robison to former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel after his first practice last August, acknowledged his disappointment while explaining the suspension.

“(He’s) not doing things right off the field and (it’s) not just that he hurt himself, but he hurt his team,” Kiffin said. “We’re trying to run basically two practices on two fields going with three quarterbacks.”

Kiffin said Robison’s suspension could be lifted at any point, though it is unclear how the suspension affects his battle with former Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson for the starting job. Johnson is working his way back from September surgery for blood clots in his arm and took roughly 75 percent of the reps on Tuesday.

Incumbent starting quarterback Jason Driskel retired earlier this year to focus on getting his engineering degree and former Dwyer star Daniel Parr transferred to Duquesne in December.

Walk-ons Conor Miller and Trent Wessel will serve as Johnson’s backups for the time being. Miller was the Owls’ third-string QB last year, while Wessel rejoined the team after being cut last summer.

“Like we just told our players, you got choices. We can’t make the choices for you,” Kiffin said. “If you don’t want to make the right choices, there’s punishments for them. I think our punishments are a bit more severe than most people would be, but we want to teach our guys they gotta do everything right.”

Five storylines to watch as Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic begin spring camp

FAU players celebrate 41-17 win over 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 — All aboard the Lane Kiffin Train for its second round, something likely no one saw coming when the well-traveled head coach arrived at Florida Atlantic in Dec. 2016.

Kiffin and FAU pulled off the improbable in 2017, winning their final 10 games after starting 1-3 to complete their first winning season since 2008. FAU posted its first winning record in Conference USA since entering the league in 2013 and dominated its opponents en route to not only winning the conference, but also its first bowl game since 2008.

Now, the pressure is on Kiffin — who verbally agreed to a six-year contract extension in December — and the Owls to replicate last year’s success. The challenge begins with the Owls’ second spring camp under Kiffin, which starts Tuesday at the Oxley Center.

Here are five storylines to watch as FAU begins its title defense.

1. Big-name quarterback battle: Kiffin promised a quarterback competition not even an hour after FAU’s 50-3 Boca Bowl win over Akron on Dec. 19, but the pieces and circumstances have changed quite a bit since then. Last season’s starter, Jason Driskel, has retired to focus on school and Daniel Parr (Dwyer) transferred to Duquesne, but “Last Chance U” star and former Florida State recruit De’Andre Johnson returns from blood clots which sidelined him for nearly all of 2017. Competing with Johnson is ex-Oklahoma recruit Chris Robison, who transferred to the Owls last August after violating team rules. Even if Kiffin doesn’t name a true starter by the end of spring camp, this year’s battle will have plenty of star power attached.

2. Will Devin Singletary’s workload be limited? Singletary ran for 1,920 yards and an FBS-best 32 touchdowns in his first year as the Owls’ primary running back, but lost in his success was the junior-to-be leading Division I with 301 carries. Singletary was adamant last season that he could keep working as much as the coaches needed him to, but Kiffin may want to ease his All-American back into action this spring. Without their Motor, the Lane Train only runs so far.

3. Can Charles Cameron transition from JUCO? Three-star defensive tackle Charles Cameron (Copiah-Lincoln C.C.) is the only player who signed during the inaugural Early Signing Period in December that will be in camp this spring. Other players who transferred from junior colleges, including defensive linemen Ernest Bagner and Tim Bonner, were open about their own troubles adjusting to Division I. Cameron, who could earn first-team reps following Jeremiah Taleni’s graduation, will try to avoid those same struggles.

4. Finding blockers may not be easy: FAU was already losing All-Conference USA center Antonyo Woods, left guard Roman Fernandez and starting right guard Jakobi Smith to graduation, but finding their replacements is becoming tougher by the day. Rising junior Jack Breshears retired due to a nagging shoulder injury and versatile backup Matt Murphy took a job with the athletic department. Former walk-on and Suncoast alum Matt Weiner’s status is uncertain after tearing his ACL last August.

There is good news for Kiffin and new offensive-line coach John Garrison, however: All-CUSA tackle Reggie Bain and Brandon Walton will both return for their senior and junior seasons, respectively.

5. Who’s really calling the shots? Kiffin hired Charlie Weis Jr., 24, to be the offensive coordinator of a team that averaged over 40 points per game last year. Kiffin allowed Kendal Briles to run the offense last year while the first-year Owls coach took more of a hands-on role with both the offense and defense for the first time in his career. Will Kiffin aim for the same balance with the baby-faced Weis, who isn’t much older than the team’s longest-tenured players?

[DeAndre McNeal headlines Florida Atlantic offensive players to watch this spring]

[“Last Chance U” star Tim Bonner leads FAU defenders to watch in spring]

[Former Auburn wide receiver Kyle Davis will get second chance at FAU]

[Ex-West Virginia WR Jovon Durante expected to make waves at FAU this spring]

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.

FAU QB De’Andre Johnson will not have medical redshirt for lost 2017 season

FAU quarterback De’Andre Johnson (14) pitches out during a drill in Boca Raton, Florida on March 23, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

BOCA RATON — Despite missing nearly all of the 2017 season as a redshirt sophomore, Florida Atlantic quarterback De’Andre Johnson will play the 2018 season as a redshirt junior, an FAU spokesperson told The Post on Tuesday.

The prized signing of Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class last year, Johnson — well known for playing at East Mississippi Community College and starring on Netflix’s “Last Chance U” — played just one game in 2017 before undergoing emergency surgery in September for blood clots in his arm. He missed the rest of the season. In his one appearance, a Sept. 1 loss against Navy, Johnson completed two of three passes and was intercepted once.

The FAU spokesperson said Johnson could still apply for a medical redshirt later but will not do so now. Applying for a hardship waiver has been ruled out at this time as well.

Johnson, a former Florida State enrollee who was dismissed from the program following a 2015 assault charge, was Kiffin’s first signing at FAU in Dec. 2016. As recently as this past December, teammates were optimistic about Johnson returning to form for the 2018 season.

Shortly after his surgery, Johnson was named a game captain for the Owls’ Sept. 30 win over Middle Tennessee. Johnson also worked out with the team during practices and stood on the sideline during home games.

Johnson has been officially cleared for spring camp and likely will compete with former Oklahoma quarterback Chris Robison for the starting job. FAU currently has a commitment from three-star quarterback Cordel Littlejohn (Roswell, Ga.) and will bring Gulf Coast quarterback Kaden Frost to fall camp as a preferred walk-on. Neither of last year’s starting quarterbacks, Daniel Parr (Dwyer) and Jason Driskel, will be with the team in 2018 having, respectively, transferred and retired after the Owls’ Dec. 19 Boca Raton Bowl win.

FAU announced earlier this week that it will begin its spring camp March 20.

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.

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 get commitment from three-star quarterback Cordel Littlejohn

BOCA RATON — Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin has potentially found his quarterback of the future.

North Carolina quarterback and three-star recruit Cordel Littlejohn (Lincolnton) took to Twitter on Sunday evening to announce he would be committing to FAU. A former Illinois commit, Littlejohn was in Boca Raton this weekend to tour the university.

In a posted note that thanked his parents and coaches, Littlejohn said he was “thankful” for the recruiting process.

Standing 6-4, 185 pounds, Littlejohn threw for 3,654 yards and 50 touchdowns to seven interceptions as a junior in 2016, but was held to seven passing touchdowns against eight picks this past season. Littlejohn did run for 620 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Littlejohn cannot sign his letter of intent until Feb. 7, though his potential arrival adds another element to FAU’s quarterback battle. Both of the Owls’ starting quarterbacks from 2016 and 2017, Daniel Parr (Dwyer) and Jason Driskel, are no longer with the program. Parr announced he would be transferring to Duquesne University shortly after the Owls’ 50-3 win over Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, while Driskel announced his retirement from football earlier this month.

If Littlejohn does sign with the Owls, he would likely compete with former Oklahoma recruit Chris Robison and former Mr. Florida honoree De’Andre Johnson for the starting quarterback job. Johnson’s future in football remains uncertain after September surgery for blood clots in his arm, though teammates are reportedly more optimistic about the former Florida State quarterback’s return to form than they were during the season.

FAU is familiar with an Illinois commit changing his mind for Boca Raton, as former American Heritage running back Devin Singletary did exactly that two years ago. Singletary led Division I 32 rushing touchdowns this past season and was named Conference USA’s MVP for his efforts.