FAU football recruit recap: Chris Tooley

Part 15 of our weekly series highlighting each of the 19 players that signed with FAU on National Signing Day.



Photo courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.

Brendan Feeney, Sports Editor

Oak Ridge High School cornerback Chris Tooley enjoys playing mind games on the football field.

Whether it’s forcing a quarterback into making a misinformed throw or making wide receivers frustrated, Tooley knows how to psych out his opponents.

“I bait them,” he said. “I make the quarterback think the receivers got open and I come out of nowhere and do my thing.”

Tooley’s “thing” is interceptions, with the 10 he recorded leading Orange County last season. The other way this press-coverage cornerback tricks opponents is by going against his style and not pressing them.

“[I’m a] physical and in-your-face type corner, a press corner,” Tooley said of himself. “They’ll be ready for the jam,” so when he backs off, the receivers mess up their timing.

“I like playing with the minds of receivers and getting them frustrated,” he said.

Even though Tooley has thrived at the cornerback position, he is still relatively new to it. The now-senior said he only started playing it in the spring of his junior year.

“It took me about the whole summer and a little bit of the fall to get the hang of my position and technique and everything that comes with my position,” Tooley said.

Though he said it took him the whole summer and a little bit of the fall to get used to his defensive back position, his history of being a basketball player made the transition to the gridiron easier.

“My defensive back coach, he always tells me that I’m a very quick athlete, I got good hips, I got good feed,” Tooley said. “That’s what it helped me with: having great feet, great hips and being able to change direction.”

Tooley impressed so much that he was invited to the East West Florida All-Star Game.

“It was a new experience, I wasn’t expecting all this to happen, I was real blessed,” he said. “I was real thankful, I took everything in and did my best.”

“On the first day of practice no one knew my name, they were like, ‘Who is this kid?’ Toward the end everyone knew my name.”

Several universities learned the name of Chris Tooley as well. The University of Louisville made a strong push for the defensive back and the University of Massachusetts even had him at the top of its recruiting board.

“[FAU] was close to home, when I went on my visit I felt real comfortable,” Tooley said. “All the coaches and players made me feel like I was already a part of the team; somewhere I can be for the next four years.”

Tooley said he wasn’t one to talk about himself and future predictions, but wanted one message to be heard.

“I’m ready.”

Brendan Feeney is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @feeney42.