FAU reloads roster with 20 new players by signing day

FAU added a combination of young and experienced depth to many positions, including some potentially immediate impact players.

Willie+Taggart+leads+his+FAU+Owls+onto+the+field.+This+year+he+and+his+staff+added+20+new+recruits+including+8+via+the+transfer+portal.

Eston Parker III

Willie Taggart leads his FAU Owls onto the field. This year he and his staff added 20 new recruits including 8 via the transfer portal.

Eston Parker III, Lead Photographer

Today marked the end of head coach Willie Taggart’s third recruiting cycle with FAU, as 20 athletes signed with the school. Many of this year’s newcomers address key positional needs for the Owls and may make an immediate impact. 

FAU secured 13 signees directly from high school, the majority of which were fully confirmed as Owls yesterday. Taggart and his staff went almost all-in for recruiting high school talent from Florida, as 12 of 13 high school signees hail from the sunshine state. However, the Owls also made the most of the early signing period in December.

Taggart was quick to voice his satisfaction with his early signees. “I feel really good about the guys that we brought in in December,” he said.

Below is a list of the players FAU added during this recruiting cycle.

*Signed in December

Cornerback Michael Boone

Boone was a surprise addition to FAU’s recruiting class, flipping his commitment from Arkansas State to FAU in late January. He will not only bolster the depth to the cornerback position, but also adds speed to the unit. In high school, he played football and ran track where he posted a 10.8 second 100-meter sprint. Boone is a three-star recruit and chose FAU over Boston College and Florida International University (FIU).

Wide Receiver Jayshon Platt

The three-star receiver hails from Venice, Fla., and is coming off a season in which he recorded 62 catches, 1070 yards, and scored 12 touchdowns. He should make a swift impact to a crowded receiver room. He chose FAU over Richmond and future Athletic American Conference (AAC) opponent, Navy.

Running Back Marquish Seabone

Seaborne’s breakout year came this past season out of Lake Wales, Fla. with 1896 rushing yards on 147 attempts. He chose FAU over Coastal Carolina and Alabama State.

Defensive Lineman Kareem Wilson

At six-feet three-inches and 260 pounds, Wilson is projected to play at defensive end. Throughout his four years out of Gulliver Prep in Miami, Fla., Wilson collected 30 tackles for loss in 33 games played. He has a strong chance to make an instant impact on a defensive line that finished second to last in total sacks in 2021. He chose FAU over a team which the Owls have recently struggled against, Marshall.

Wide Receiver Wyatt Sullivan*

Wide receivers coach Hines Ward may have played a significant role in Sullivan flipping from C-USA rival, Western Kentucky. After a solid season at Robert F. Munroe Day School from Quincy, Fla., where he picked up 608 yards on 38 receptions and picked up seven touchdowns, he might be able to contribute quickly into his time at FAU. His frame at six-feet three-inches should give him a complete size advantage over most corners and will make him immediately the second largest receiver for the Owls.

Outside Linebacker Jaylen Wester*

Owls fans might recognize the last name as Jaylen is the brother of current FAU receiver, LaJohntay Wester. Playing on the opposing side of the ball to his brother, Wester is a three-star consensus recruit from Palmetto, Fla., who in 2021 made 71 tackles in 11 games along with 35 tackles for loss. In all three seasons of high school football, Wester recorded at least 50 tackles. He chose FAU over Buffalo, and is another addition to an already loaded linebacker room.

Wide Receiver A’ceon “Ace” Cobb

Cobb is coming off a senior season in which he recorded 30 receptions, 655 yards, and six touchdowns in eight games played. Coming from Jones High School in Orlando, Fla., he chose FAU over Coastal Carolina and C-USA opponent UAB. 

Linebacker Dearis Thomas

Following an 11-game senior season with eight sacks and 120 tackles, Thomas adds more depth to the linebacker spot. A three-star according to 247Sports, he played all four seasons at Naples High School in Naples, Fla. He chose the Owls over recent College Football Playoff (CFP) team Cincinnati and Miami of Ohio. 

Defensive Lineman Justin Goodwin

Breaking the trend of Florida recruits, Goodwin secured almost 50 tackles in his senior season out of Birmingham, Ala. He chose the Owls over Jackson State, Samford, and others.

Cornerback Jahbari Hill

A Palm Beach County native, Hill is a consensus three-star recruit from Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Fla. The six-feet one-inch 187-pound corner chose FAU over rival FIU and in-state rival, the University of Southern Florida (USF).

Offensive Lineman Okino King

Coming off a season where recorded 23 pancake blocks in 12 games his senior season at Northwestern in Miami, Fla., King should add strong depth to the offensive line. A consensus three-star recruit, he joins the Owls over Coastal Carolina and Tennessee State.

Wide Receiver Brandon Schabert

Following his senior season at American Heritage in Delray Beach, Fla., where he got 540 yards and four touchdowns his senior season, he enters FAU as a consensus three-star recruit. He comes to Boca despite fielding offers from Kentucky, FIU, and Kent State.

TRANSFERS:

Taggart and his staff were also active in the transfer portal throughout the signing period, landing many of their transfer targets in December. FAU added a group of transfer players with experience in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Big Ten, as well as two players who previously committed to Florida State University (FSU) while Taggart was still the Seminoles’ coach.

Offensive Lineman Brendan Bordner

Bordner should add immediate versatility and depth to FAU’s offensive line. Coming off a season in which he played twelve games and started five at Rutgers, Bordner did not allow a single sack in 202 snaps during the 2021 season. He has experience at both tackle positions and could fill in at left guard, following the departure of Desmond Noel. He chose FAU despite having offers from Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Marshall, and other schools.

Outside Linebacker Morven Joseph*

Coming out of high school as a four-star recruit from Lakeland, Fla., according to 247 Sports, the former Under Armour All-American is arguably Taggart’s biggest pickup of this year’s class. In two seasons at Tennessee, he was praised by his former position coach for his pass-rushing abilities and athleticism. He has experience as both an edge rusher and outside linebacker, playing 12 games and recording 1.5 sacks during his time with the Volunteers. Joseph chose FAU over Michigan, Louisville, and multiple other schools.

Linebacker Jaleel McRae*

This is McRae’s second time committing to a Willie Taggart-led school; he originally signed with FSU while Taggart was still with the Seminoles in 2019. McRae enters FAU with three years of eligibility remaining and brings in three seasons of experience to the Owls’ linebacker room. The former four-star recruit and Under Armour All-American recorded 2.5 tackles for loss while in Tallahassee, all of which occurred while Taggart was his coach in 2019.

Linebacker Jamie Pettway*

Pettway enters FAU following two seasons at Missouri, where he played in six games and recorded three tackles for loss. The former three-star recruit hailing from Albany, Ga. will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. 

Tight End Carter Boatwright*

Like Jaleel McRae, this is Boatwright’s second time committing to a Taggart-led team. Boatwright initially committed to FSU shortly before Taggart was fired in early 2020, yet he stayed for two seasons but only received limited playing time. He made only two appearances in two seasons. He came out of high school as a consensus three-star recruit. 

Running Back Marvin Scott III*

Following a prolific senior year in high school at Port Orange, Fla., where he averaged 8.1 yards per carry and 1,424 total rushing yards in 2019, Scott came into Nebraska as a three-star recruit. In his two seasons with the Cornhuskers, he played only in 2021 where he recorded two touchdowns on 17 attempts. If Scott can regain his high school form, his addition could make a huge impact on FAU’s offense.

Outside Linebacker Xavier Peters*

Peters’ journey to FAU has certainly taken a non-traditional route, as his signing to FAU makes this his fourth school during his collegiate career. Following stints at FSU, Kentucky, and most recently Garden City Community College, he received limited playing time at all of his stops primarily from the outside linebacker position. He came out of high school as a consensus four-star recruit, however, he leaves as a three-star JUCO recruit according to 247 Sports. 

Wide Receiver Jymetre Hester

Joining the Owls from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he snagged 12 touchdowns in two seasons, the JUCO transfer should bolster up the wide receiver position. He chose FAU over Louisville and Arkansas State, among others.

Eston Parker III is the lead photographer for the University Press. For more information regarding this story and others, email him at [email protected] or tweet him @estonparker.