In replacing his brother, Lane Kiffin has apparently turned to a fellow Conference USA school.
While there’s been no official announcement from Florida Atlantic, FootballScoop.com first reported that FAU is set to hire Southern Miss defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro for the same job with the Owls. The Sun-Sentinel subsequently confirmed the initial report.
Pecoraro would take over for Chris Kiffin, who left FAU for a job with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers last month.
Pecoraro has been with the Golden Eagles the past two seasons. In his first season, they were 18th nationally in yards per game allowed (331) and 79th in scoring defense (30.3 points per game). In 2017, they were 17th (322 ypg) in the former category while they improved to tied for 39th (23) in the latter.
This past season, FAU gave up 408 yards per game (77th) and allowed 24.2 points per game (44th).
There are two truths about every player who suits up for three FBS programs in his collegiate career:
1.) There’s a reason it didn’t work out at the first two schools.
2.) There’s a reason why three schools chose to take you on in the first place.
Those reasons typically coincide with each other: A player has an elite physical gift that he can’t seem to harness in the proper way for one reason in another.
John Franklin III is a prime example of such a case. A former 3-star recruit from Plantation, Fla., Franklin signed with Florida State as a member of its 2013 class — which means he officially joined college football before Jameis Winston ever threw a pass — spent a season at East Mississippi Community College (of where he appeared on the hit Netflix documentary series Last Chance U.), transferred to Auburn for one season, and then left for Florida Atlantic, where he attempted to reinvent himself as a wide receiver. That’s a lot of movement for a star-crossed career in which Franklin accounted for just over 2,500 yards from scrimmage. In 13 games in 2017, Franklin caught seven passes for 95 yards and one touchdown.
And yet there’s a reason Franklin the likes of Jimbo Fisher, Gus Malzahn and Lane Kiffin all wanted Franklin on their teams. He has something very few of his peers do: speed.
In a video first posted by the Palm Beach Post, Franklin is shown allegedly running a 4.19 40-yard dash.
Franklin “confirmed” the time to the Post, but the thing about 40 times is that you can’t confirm them yourself. Someone else has to do it for you. The good news here is that Franklin will have that chance. He is set to run at the NFL Combine later this week, where Franklin will attempt to break former Washington wideout John Ross‘s record of 4.22 seconds.
Even if Franklin doesn’t become the first player in Combine history to break the 4.2 barrier, he clearly has elite-level speed, and that is something all coaches are willing to take a chance on.
After a brief break, Lane Kiffin and B.J. Emmons are back together again.
As FBS teams across the country were signing the remainder of the high school recruiting crop, Florida Atlantic was landing a touted junior college transfer, with Emmons a confirmed addition to Kiffin’s roster. The running back had spent the 2017 football season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
Prior to that, Emmons was a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. His offensive coordinator in 2016? Kiffin, who was in his last year in the job before moving to FAU.
Emmons was a highly-touted four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 2 running back in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of North Carolina; and the No. 35 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. As a true freshman, Emmons ran for 173 yards and a touchdown.
In late July of last year, Emmons opted to transfer from a very loaded Alabama backfield.
At FAU, Emmons, who will have three seasons of eligibility at his disposal, will find a backfield that features Devin Singletary. As a true sophomore this past season, Singletary’s 1,920 yards rushing were fourth in the nation. His 32 rushing touchdowns were nine more than anybody else at the FBS level.
De’Andre Johnson appeared in Florida Atlantic’s 2017 opener against Navy, but missed the rest of the Owls’ Conference USA-championship campaign due to an emergency surgery he underwent to fix blood clots in his arm. But Johnson will not be compensated for that missed year by the NCAA, at least not yet.
Johnson made his FAU debut as a redshirt sophomore and will compete in 2018 as a redshirt junior, according to the Palm Beach Post. Though his case is seemingly tailor-made for a medical redshirt, he will not apply for one at this time. Medical redshirts are typically granted after a player’s senior year, meaning Johnson could potentially have two senior seasons.
Johnson signed originally with Florida State out of First Coast High School in Jacksonville, but was kicked off the team after he was recorded on video punching a woman at a Tallahassee bar in 2015. He transferred to East Mississippi Community College of Last Chance U. fame.
The Owls’ 2017 starter, Jason Driskel, chose not to return to the team, so Johnson will compete with Oklahoma transfer Chris Robinson to win the starting job for 2018.
The youngest offensive coordinator at the FBS level is officially in place.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Lane Kiffin was set to hire 24-year-old Charlie Weis Jr. as his new offensive coordinator. Tuesday, FAU confirmed that the son of former Notre Dame and Kansas head coach Charlie Weis is indeed the successor to Kendal Briles, who left to take the coordinator job at Houston earlier this month. The junior Weis will also serve as quarterbacks coach for the Owls.
This is actually Weis’ second “stint” with Kiffin at FAU. Nearly two months after being hired by Kiffin to coach tight ends, Weis left to take a job as an offensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in February of last year.
Kiffin and Weis also both worked on Nick Saban‘s coaching staff at Alabama
In addition to Weis’ hiring, the football program also announced the additions of Jaron Fairman (special teams coordinator), John Garrison (offensive line coach/run-game coordinator) and Wes Neighbors (safeties) to Kiffin’s coaching staff.