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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

FAU Football: Tom Herman’s first early signing day at FAU nets 17 recruits in signing Class of 2024

Despite concerns about NIL money and the transfer portal, Herman’s first year recruiting brought in 16 three-star recruits, with 14 being from the state of Florida.
Photo+of+an+FAU+football+helmet.
Alex Liscio
Photo of an FAU football helmet.

Concluding head coach Tom Herman’s first season at FAU where the team ended with a 4-8 record, the football program ended the year on a positive note with a successful signing day that saw 17 new recruits join the team. 

According to 247sports.com, 16 of the 17 incoming players are all three-star players, with 10 players on the defensive side of the ball and seven players on offense.

This is the first recruitment class that Herman was able to assess with his coaching staff at FAU, as a majority of the 2023 class had been recruited by the previous regime of ex-head coach Willie Taggart.

“I’m really excited about this freshman class. We had to get to know the class of 2023 on the run. We had kept the commitments from the previous staff, and I’m really happy we did because we’re gonna wind up with some really good players out of that class,” said Herman. “But this was the class that we really got to dive in and build relationships with. I’ve said before today, I think the way that college football is trending, you build your culture and your foundation with your freshmen.”

The culture and relationships that Herman and his staff are building in the program seemed to play a key factor in landing all these recruits. On FAU football’s Instagram page, a majority of players in their commitment posts credit the coaches for why they chose FAU. 

Three-star OL recruit Braden Cunningham stated, “FAU felt like family. When I started growing relationships with the coaches, it felt as if they cared about us as human beings [rather] than just players.”

Herman said that the one trait that stands out in this recruiting class is their toughness and dedication to football. Some players were hard to get a hold of during the recruitment process because they were busy with training or watching game film during the season, a level of dedication that Herman likes to see from incoming players. 

“I’m really proud of our coaches. They were given a very clear directive in terms of what we were looking for in this class as far as the makeup and DNA was concerned, and they took that charge and ran with it and did a phenomenal job. I think that speaks to relationships too and having that year of relationships when kids credit the Coach and the coaching staffs. That means that they believe in us and we believe in them,” said Herman. 

Despite this, NIL, money and the transfer portal now play a huge role in the realm of college football when it comes to landing and retaining recruits. Herman believes that in the future, this could supersede the relationships built at FAU. 

“At some point, unfortunately, we’re trending in the way that relationships aren’t going to matter a whole lot. It’s going to be ‘what’s the number?,” said Herman. 

Herman elaborated that it’s important to have a balance between signing recruits out of high school and getting players through the transfer portal to improve the roster. 

“You have to have guys out of high school. You’ve got to be able to develop your [players]. We don’t have a big enough budget, nor do we have a big enough roster to get the quality and or quantity of transfers that you would need to win the American Conference,” said Herman. “You’ve got to build [the program] from the ground up and hope that you have the resources when some of the ‘bigger fish’ come preying on the guys that you’ve brought up through your program and that you have the ability to retain them… you better have the ability to recruit, develop, and retain.”

One standout fact about this incoming class of recruits is that 14 out of the 17 are from the state of Florida, which Herman laughed at after being told because he hadn’t realized this was the case. Although this fun fact slipped Herman’s mind, he did state that it was an emphasis to bring in homegrown talent, and that it always will be.

“It won’t be a one-time thing. I think there are so many talented high school football players that are really well coached within 100 miles of our campus. That is a real, real plus for this program and the ability to build because we’re not going to be able to go buy all these transfers. We’ve got to build from the ground up, and having that kind of recruiting base within 100 miles of campus is huge,” said Herman. 

Here are the list of 2024 signees in positional order, according to FAU football’s website

Defensive Backs:

Kyle Boylston – Orange Park, Fla.

Boylston is a two-sport athlete who plans to play both football and baseball at FAU, which may have played a role in his commitment. He also played both wide receiver and defensive back during his high school career at Trinity Christian Academy, proving his ability to be an all-around competitor.

Cameron Goggins – Hampton, Ga.

Goggins spent his high school career as a wide receiver, totaling 1,124 yards and 10 touchdowns. He switched to cornerback and spent his first freshman year of college at Georgia Military College. Goggins was credited for 16 tackles, 10 pass deflections, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.

Curtis Janvier – Hollywood, Fla.

Janvier was a part of both Chaminade-Madonna’s state championship teams during his junior and senior years. During those two years, he totaled 68 tackles, 11 pass deflections, seven interceptions, and a forced fumble. 

Lawrence Johnson – Miami, Fla.

Johnson ended his senior season with a 9-2 record with Miami Palmetto High School, 22 tackles, two interceptions, and two blocked field goal attempts.

Jaheim Miller – Miami, Fla.

Representing Miami Norland High School, Miller ended his senior campaign with 27 tackles, a tackle for loss, and an interception return of 90 yards all in 12 games. 

Michael Wright III – Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Wright came out of Palm Beach Gardens High School with a connection to FAU, as his head coach Tyrone Higgins was a linebacker for FAU from 2000-2003. In only 10 games of his senior season, Wright recorded 38 tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, five pass deflections and one fumble recovery.

Linebackers:

Jarvis Johnson – Miami, Fla.

Despite being listed as an outside linebacker, Johnson had a stellar career at Westminster Christian High School as both a running back and linebacker. In his two years as a running back, he totaled 1,642 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, along with 202 reception yards and a touchdown in just 31 games. As a linebacker, he totaled 270 tackles in three years, 68.5 of which were for a loss.

Char’quez Lee – Miami, Fla.

Lee spent his high school career at two schools, finishing his senior year at Miami Palmetto High School alongside Johnson. He finished second on the team in tackles with 40 total, six for loss and one for a sack. As a junior at Immaculata La Salle High School, he totaled 100 tackles, a forced fumble, an interception, and two quarterback hits. 

Defensive Line:

Gavench Marcelin – Miami, Fla.

Marcelin ended his senior campaign at Belen Jesuit Prep with 77 tackles (24 for loss) in 11 games. Despite having multiple offers from Power Five schools, like the University of Southern California and Clemson University, FAU was able to land the sought-after recruit.

Loren Ward – Cocoa, Fla.

Finishing his senior year with a 14-1 record at Cocoa High School, Ward didn’t miss a single game. He  finished the year with 25 quarterback hits, eight of which credited as sacks, and 46 total tackles, eight of which were for a loss. 

Offensive Line: 

Braden Cunningham – Orange Park, Fla.

Cunningham was named to Clay County All-County Second Team in 2022 for his outstanding play at both left and right guard. 

Ethan Proffitt – Neptune Beach, Fla.

Proffitt finished his senior season with a perfect 5-0 record at home with Bishop Kenny High School. He helped contribute to a run game that created 1,981 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. 

Keon Rohe’ – Wiesbaden, Germany

Rohe’ gained recognition through Summer PPI camps, which aim to identify international athletes and help them earn college scholarships in the U.S. Rohe’ is the sixth international player and third international offensive lineman to play for FAU in school history

Mauricio Hinds – Clearwater, Fla,

A native Canadian, Hinds was a starter since his junior year at Clearwater Academy High School. The outside tackle had offers from the University of Arizona and University of Minnesota, but ultimately signed with FAU after a visit 11 days prior to signing.

Running Back:

Kaden Shield-Dutton – Orlando, Fla.

In 11 games of his senior year at Edgewater High School, Shield-Dutton led the team with 768 rushing yards for an average of 5.6 yards per carry and 15 total rushing touchdowns. He also had two games of 100+ total yards. 

Wide Receiver:

Leon Washington Jr. – Tallahassee, Fla.

Football is in Washington’s blood, as he is the son of former Florida State University running back and current assistant special teams coach of the New York Jets, Leon Washington Sr. His brother, Terrion Arnold, is also a defensive back at the University of Alabama. In his junior year at North Florida Christian High School, he had a standout performance of 118 receiving yards, 26 rushing yards, and four total touchdowns. 

Joseph Young – Bryant, Ark.

Young spent his freshman year at Coffeyville Community College, bringing in 24 receptions for 364 yards and five touchdowns. Despite having offers to the University of Arkansas and AAC rival Eastern Carolina University, Young landed with the Owls. 
JD Delcastillo is a Staff Writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected] or reach out on Instagram @jd.delcastillo.

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About the Contributors
JD Delcastillo, Sports Editor
JD is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in sports studies and digital marketing. Since high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the sports industry. He's published work in magazines, started his own sports newsletter, and currently interns with ESPN West Palm.
Alex Liscio, Photo Editor
Alex Liscio is a senior multimedia journalism major and University Press Photo editor since 2019. Outside of the UP, you can find Alex at concerts and FAU games on the sidelines, or around campus taking photos of graduates, events and everything in between.

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