Lane Kiffin's first full recruiting class at Florida Atlantic is a little light, though the 2018 group is expected to beef up soon after a highly successful season.
Kiffin pieced together the top class in the Conference USA last year (247Sports) in just a few month's time, landing 18 three-star players, including the second-ranked pro-style JUCO quarterback in De'Andre Johnson and the 47th-ranked safety in the country in Ahman Ross. The recruiting momentum carried over to the 2017 season, when the first-year head coach led Florida Atlantic to a program record 11 wins and their first bowl win since 2008.
If Kiffin records the conference's top class again in 2018, he'll need another late push. Entering the early signing period — one day after their demolition of Akron — the Owls had just six commits. While the cupboard is currently bare, Kiffin and Co. did beat out Power Five programs for two highly rated JUCO prospects, Nero Nelson and Charles Cameron — both from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss.
Nelson is a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback who picked FAU over Louisville and Mississippi State, while Cameron is a 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle who carries offers from Colorado, Louisville and Texas Tech. Additionally, three-star defensive end Devin Hayes decommitted from North Carolina State in late November and committed to the Owls two weeks later.
All six commits picked Florida Atlantic within the last two weeks, and though the class still ranks 12th in the conference and 126th in the FBS, Kiffin and his staff are aggressively pursuing more prospects that could launch them toward — or above — the 60th spot their 2017 class occupied. Four-star cornerback Ken Montgomery Jr. is widely expected to chose between Louisville and UCLA but the nation's 301st-ranked player is from Florida (Tampa) and visited FAU last weekend. Three-star quarterback Carter Bradley, three-star running back Johnny Ford and three-star receiver Cadarius Gaskin are among other players on their radar.
Bottom line: It's still very, very early for a program on the rise like Florida Atlantic. They are not expected to sign many prospects during the early period (Dec. 20-22) and will be chasing players well into the spring.
Here's a look at their current 2018 class: