BOCA RATON — Florida Atlantic took the field for most of Tuesday without arguably its most valuable player, as reigning Conference USA MVP and junior running back Devin “Motor” Singletary (American Heritage-Delray) was limited in practice with what multiple sources called a “hamstring injury.”
Singletary, the program’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 44, suffered the injury during Saturday’s scrimmage at Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale. Though Singletary participated in positional drills, he mainly spent practice in a black jersey on an exercise bike with other injured Owls.
Singletary did not participate in contact drills.
It is not known at this time how long Singletary will be out, though one source believes the running back will return — but be limited in how much he can do or see a lighter workload — as early as Thursday.
This is Singletary’s first notable injury in his nearly three seasons at FAU. Gerald Hearns (Dwyer) will likely take the bulk of first-team snaps for however long Singletary is out.
Singletary led Division I with 32 rushing touchdowns last year, but also led the nation with 301 carries.
FAU head coach Lane Kiffin will address the injury later Tuesday morning.
BOCA RATON — John Franklin III caught national attention after allegedly running a 4.19 40-yard dash in a video he posted online. Come Tuesday, the quarterback-turned-receiver will have another opportunity to post the fastest 40-time ever.
All eyes, however, will be on Franklin, the former Florida State, East Mississippi and Auburn quarterback who switched to receiver with the Tigers last spring and transferred to FAU in August. Franklin caught seven passes for 95 yards and a touchdown with the Owls while adding 229 rushing yards on 16 carries, the majority of those coming as a Wildcat quarterback.
When Dwyer graduate Daniel Parr was demoted from the starting quarterback job in Week 4, Franklin became the de facto backup quarterback, just another stop in what Franklin has called a wild journey.
“Living it was even more crazy than talking about it,” Franklin told The Post last month. “I feel like everything happens for a reason and throughout all those stops and all those different journeys to those places, I learned a lot and I learned more about me in how I grew as a player, how I grew as a man. Each place taught me something different, and if I had to do it all over again, I would.”
Wide receiver Kalib Woods headlines the skill players hoping to impress scouts following a 2017 season in which he recorded 24 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns. With one more catch, Woods would have been eligible to lead Division I in yards per catch. Woods was suspended for the first half of last season following a Jan. 2017 nightclub fight, but he was reinstated in October and named one of the team’s end-of-season captains.
Online court records show Woods, whose 135 catches for 2,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in his four seasons, is next scheduled to attend a plea conference on May 21. Woods caught two passes in the NFLPA Bowl in January and is a potential late-round pick despite the ongoing legal issues.
Twenty-eight of the 32 NFL teams attended last year’s FAU Pro Day, leading to 2016 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Trey Hendrickson becoming a third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. FAU has had a player drafted in six of the last eight NFL drafts.
Running back Gregory “Buddy” Howell Jr. told The Post on Saturday he is healthy after lingering issues in 2017 and is hoping to run a 4.4. Howell averaged a career-high 6.6 yards per carry for the Owls last season, rushing for 740 yards and five touchdowns.
After retiring in January to focus on school and completing his engineering degree, quarterback Jason Driskel will not participate in the Pro Day.
The following players will also participate in FAU’s Pro Day: running back Marcus Clark; wide receivers Henry Bussey III, Kamrin Solomon and Nate Terry; guard Jakobi Smith; defensive end Haiden Nagel; defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni; defensive back Abdias Corgelas; kicker Greg Joseph (American Heritage-Delray); and punter Ryan Rickel.
Former Owls in Spring League: Any FAU fans who watch the Spring League for former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel’s comeback attempt will see another familiar face, as former Owls quarterback/tight end Tyler Cameron has made the league’s North roster. Cameron, 24, played for the Owls from 2015-16 after transferring from Georgia Tech, recording 41 catches for 509 yards and a touchdown.
Ex-FAU running back Adrian Starling, who played special teams for the Owls in 2015, joins Cameron on the North roster as well.
BOCA RATON — Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Lane Kiffin is down another offensive lineman on the eve of his second spring camp, as a team spokesperson confirmed that rising redshirt junior Jack Breshears is no longer with the program due to a lingering shoulder injury.
Breshears, 21, saw action in six games two seasons ago before suffering a season-ending injury in Oct. 2016. Though Breshears practiced last summer and was considered a potential option to win a starting offensive-line job before losing out to Jakobi Smith, the then-sophomore saw limited action before apparently re-aggravating the injury.
A source told The Post on Sunday night that Breshears “no longer had the same passion he did for football when (former FAU coach) Charlie Partridge was there.” Breshears was the rare out-of-state recruit by Partridge, signing with FAU from Batavia High School (Ill.) in 2015.
With most of last year’s starting offensive linemen graduating, Breshears would have likely had an opportunity to compete for a starting job.
Breshears is still attending classes at FAU in hopes of getting his business degree.
FAU is struggling to keep veteran offensive linemen healthy and ready to play. Fifth-year senior Matt Murphy retired last month to take a job with the athletic department’s marketing team, and former walk-on Matt Weiner, a Suncoast graduate who tore his ACL in August, is also not listed on the current spring roster.
Though tackle Bryan Beck is listed on the roster, there is skepticism that the rising redshirt junior will continue to play. A team spokesperson said Beck has not yet received a medical exemption, which would enable FAU to use his scholarship on another player while still paying for him to attend school, though he could apply for one later.
FAU will begin its second spring camp under Kiffin on Tuesday.
BOCA RATON — Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin is no stranger to contracts and agreements ending early, whether voluntarily (as seen in Tennessee) or with someone else making that decision (either on a tarmac or a projector).
There’s one deal Kiffin made after signing with the Owls in Dec. 2016, though it may not be notarized and signed, that the second-year FAU coach is sticking to in 2018: traveling to Liberty City for a football practice.
“I said (at the beginning), ‘listen, you ain’t gonna do it one time, we gotta do a two-year deal,” said Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, the rapper-turned-high school coach and football icon. “Because so many people are not gonna believe that it’s happening and so many kids (are) gonna love that it’s happening! For it not to happen again at least one more time, it would be hard on the kids.”
Campbell and his local fans, many of whom know the hip-hop legend for his coaching rather than his days with the 2 Live Crew and raps feuds, will have another chance to see Kiffin’s Owls practice in Liberty City on Saturday, April 14. FAU will also visit Fort Lauderdale’s Carter Park on April 7.
In the weeks leading up to their historic 11-3 season last summer, FAU traveled to Charles Hadley Park on Aug. 5. — though Kiffin was not in attendance that day, instead attending the funeral of father-in-law and former Florida quarterback John Reeves. Campbell still wasted no time that day in praising Kiffin, calling him a “rock star” when many were still doubting how the former Raiders, Tennessee, and USC head coach would fare at Florida Atlantic.
“Last year, that was a freakin’ treat for the kids to be able to have a college team come into the heart of Liberty City,” Campbell told The Post by phone. “[Liberty City is] the mecca of football … I had guys who played NFL calling up, they couldn’t believe it. They were looking at it on Twitter, on social media, and they just couldn’t believe it. A college team was playing on the park where they grew up at!”
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, former All-Pro wide receiver Chad Johnson (or Ochocinco, depending on the day), and ex-Miami Hurricanes star Duke Johnson — now with the Cleveland Browns — were among those to get in touch with Campbell.
Former Hurricanes running back Clinton Portis was among the ex-NFL players to visit Kiffin and the Owls last year, a list which also included future Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson and Pro Bowl quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Campbell and Culpepper were joined by Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake for the Owls’ Nov. 3 win over Marshall. Drake’s teammate and Dolphins offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James also tweeted his intentions to see the Owls practice this spring.
“We wanted to get out as much as we could,” Kiffin said last summer of the “road practices.” “It allows maybe some people who can’t get up here to come see us, whether it’s coaches, players or fans.”
Campbell added that the Owls coming to Liberty City again also provides examples of stability and hope for the younger fans, many of whom come from single-parent households.
“It’s a real tough area as far as dads leaving kids,” Campbell said. “When these kids get showed a lot of things, they get a lot of things taken from them. Just being able to say, ‘look. they’re gonna do this again next year,’ that’s a great thing.”
Campbell said that construction on Hadley Park’s football stadium, which was scheduled for this spring, has been pushed back to accommodate FAU’s arrival.
Times for the Owls’ practices this spring, including the visit to Hadley Park, have yet to officially be announced, but last year’s open scrimmage began at roughly 3 p.m. The Post obtained an email sent to students last month for a volunteer football job which said Tuesday and Thursday practices this spring would be held between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Saturday practices are expected to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
BOCA RATON — When defensive tackle CharlesCameron arrived in Florida from Mississippi last month, the three-star recruit immediately knew what topic was off-limits.
“I came from Copiah-Lincoln and we played East Mississippi one time,” Cameron said, referring to the junior college that currently fields two FAU players and tight ends coach Clint Trickett. “That was the time we beat them, but I ain’t gonna bring that up to them.”
Cameron, 21, was one of five players to sign during the inaugural early signing period on Dec. 20 and has already reported to FAU for workouts. Trickett, then the Lions’ quarterbacks coach in a loss to his future player, was instrumental in recruiting Cameron to Boca Raton.
The 13th-ranked defensive tackle in this year’s JUCO recruiting class by 247.com, Cameron (6-3, 305 pounds as officially listed by FAU) had ten sacks and 54 tackles over the past two seasons for the Wolfpack. With starting defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni having exhausted all years of eligibility, Cameron could potentially work his way into first-team reps during spring practice.
“Hopefully, I can bring leadership and be a big impact on the defensive line,” Cameron said. “(Showing the) defense can hold up, that motivates me.”
Owls coach Lane Kiffin said on Signing Day that Cameron has already impressed in the team’s conditioning program.
“We were able to watch him work out and like a lot of kids (who come in), it’s a change from junior college,” Kiffin said. “It looks like he’s done a good job of staying in shape, fit right in there, and it’ll be exciting to get him in the mix.”
FAU has had strong results with two recent defensive line transfers. Taleni finished second on the Owls with five sacks after arriving in August following a transfer from the University of Pittsburgh, while Brandin Bryant — who spent a year at Fort Scott Community College (Kan.) in 2011 — tallied 9.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss from 2012-15, earning stints with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets.
Copiah-Lincoln teammate Tre’Veon “Nero” Nelson, a three-star wide receiver and the No. 2 JUCO wideout in this year’s class, also signed with FAU in December and will arrive in the spring. Kiffin did something similar in his first recruiting class, signing EMCC teammates quarterback De’Andre Johnson and defensive end Tim Bonner.
Cameron said he enjoyed Kiffin’s infamous Twitter antics and was excited to play under the veteran head coach.
“He’s a really nice coach, real cool,” Cameron said. “(There were) no problems with the coaches.”
Cameron and FAU will begin practicing on March 20 in a spring camp which also features visits to Ft. Lauderdale (April 7) and Miami (April 14).
BOCA RATON — The good news for Florida Atlantic star linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, as he traverses the school’s Boca Raton campus, is that the rising senior is finally being recognized by some of his classmates.
The bad news, if one wants to call it that? Every conversation with Al-Shaair and other students includes them asking him the same question: What is Owls coach Lane Kiffin like?
“That’s the No. 1 question you’re gonna get!” a laughing Al-Shaair told The Post on Thursday.
Al-Shaair, Kiffin, and the rest of the 2017 Owls were honored at halftime of what turned out to be the FAU men’s basketball team’s 79-76 overtime loss to Rice. Al-Shaair and All-American running back Devin “Motor” Singletary (American Heritage) briefly spoke to fans, while wide receiver Kalib Woods gleefully held up the team’s Shula Bowl trophy.
As teammates posed for pictures after the ceremony, Al-Shaair spoke about how happy he was for the team to be recognized after an 11-3 campaign and a Boca Raton Bowl win over Akron. FAU had won a combined nine games from 2014-16 before Kiffin was hired in Dec. 2016. Several outgoing Owls players joined the team for one final reunion on Thursday night.
“Since I’ve been here as a freshman, those guys have been here, so this is like the last hurrah,” Al-Shaair said. “For a final, final last time and they’re going to build their lives. … It was good to see them.”
Given where FAU was only a year ago — not to mention Al-Shaair, who missed all of last year’s spring camp with a labrum injury — the senior linebacker said it was a different feeling to be part of a school-wide celebration like this.
“I think it was more so weird during the season as we were winning (because) it was a new feeling,” said Al-Shaair, who elected to return to FAU for his senior season rather than take a chance by declaring for April’s NFL draft. “Now, it’s something that we want to build the tradition for and the foundation has already been laid down. So if this was a year ago and we were talking about this, I think it’d be pretty weird.”