Coming home again

Quarterback Danny Embick didn’t get enough playing time in his first two years at West Virginia University. In his sophomore season, Embick appeared in only 6 games, completing 9 of 18 passes for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, which wasn’t enough playing time for him.

That, coupled with the desire to play college football closer to his friends and family in South Florida, was why he left West Virginia.

“Being that far away from home isn’t ideal, especially when you’re not playing,” Embick said, adding that if he could find a situation where he would have a better chance of getting the playing time he wanted, he planned on taking it. So he transferred to FAU, a place that’s not only familiar to him, but also a place that offered him his ideal situation.

“They told me they’re going to give me a fair shot. Obviously I have to compete for the job,” Embick said.

He knew that would be the case no matter which school he transferred to.

In FAU’s case, Jared Allen is the starting quarterback. Garrett Jahn backs him up, and Joel Fosselman is third in line. Embick will have his work cut out for him.

However, he won’t be competing in a place that’s completely unfamiliar to him. FAU tried to recruit Embick in 2000.

“We did everything we could to get him [here] in 2000,” FAU Assistant Head Coach Kurt VanValkenburgh said. Embick actually made a few official visits to FAU that year.

Other universities were interested in him too.

“He was a highly recruited player,” VanValkenburgh said. Schools such as Syracuse and North Carolina tried to recruit him.

They noticed him because of the senior year he had at William T. Dwyer high school in Jupiter. He was named the Palm Beach Post offensive Player of the Year, threw for 2,400 yards and 21 touchdowns and ran for 650 yards and 12 touchdowns. Embick even played defense as a safety and recorded 90 tackles. He ultimately led his team to the state championship game and a 13-2 record.

After high school though, Embick was unsure about coming to FAU. It was a football program that hadn’t played any games and was still building a roster.

But after those two years at West Virginia, he’s now at FAU. He’s not as unsure about coming to an upstart program as he was before. In his first week at FAU, he saw that the team has the right attitude to be successful.

“We had a team meeting the other day and the [players] got together and talked to each other. They definitely have team goals,” Embick said.

“It was good to see that the team was real serious about [their goals] and wanted to pick it up, because obviously the last two seasons have been rough.”

Embick added, “They want to be a lot better.”

The FAU coaching staff is excited to have Embick here.

“He has a very strong arm, he’s a very good athlete…he has good speed…we like his competitiveness,” VanValkenburgh said.

He said that the fact that Embick played safety in high school shows that he’s a very physical player.

VanValkenburgh also said that Embick has matured a lot since they saw him in 2000. Being in an established Division I-A program such as West Virginia contributed to that a great deal.

Embick is also excited to be here.

“I’m comfortable here already. I live 45 minutes away from home,” Embick said.

He’s on a college football team a lot closer to home, and he’ll get his chance to compete for the starting job.

That’s exactly what he wanted.