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FAU’s Kalib Woods repays Lane Kiffin’s trust in return from suspension


Reinstating wide receiver Kalib Woods from suspension was more of a risk for Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin than any fourth-down call.

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But like many of the tough calls Kiffin has made on the field this season, bringing back Woodssuspended in June following an arrest stemming from a nightclub fight — has paid off.

Reinstated last month, Woods has caught five passes for 155 yards and a touchdown in four games for the Owls (7-3, 6-0 Conference USA), providing a boost for an inconsistent passing game. Woods, who led FAU in receiving last season, also has caught two two-point conversions in the past three weeks, including a fourth-quarter catch in the Owls’ comeback against Western Kentucky.

“I think it was a time that we started rolling,” said Kiffin. “It was a good shot in the arm for us because that was the issue we had had, the passing game. I think he has taken a couple of games to get back into it. Now he is playing really well.”

Woods was suspended in June after being charged with two felony battery counts following a January fight in Boca Raton’s The Venue. With an outcome still pending and his scholarship stripped, Woods was brought back to the program in September as a walk-on before being reinstated days before the Owls hosted North Texas on Oct. 21.

Neither Woods nor Kamrin Solomon, who was also suspended for his role in the incident, have been made available to media. Solomon rejoined the team in August and played his first game on Sept. 16 against Bethune-Cookman.

“Those are heavy prices for a very bad mistake that (Woods) made,” Kiffin said. “I would think that if you looked around the country for incidents like that, (it’s) pretty heavy compared to a lot (of punishments).”

Woods will next be in court on Jan. 10, 2018, well after FAU’s season ends and when the redshirt senior potentially tries to get ready for an NFL career. Before the arrest, some around the program believed a strong senior season from Woods could have dramatically raised his draft stock.

Running back and longtime teammate Buddy Howell, who frequently points to focus and mental awareness as keys to success, thinks Woods is in a good place.

“Grateful to have him back, grateful that he’s out here,” Howell said. “Just happy for him.”

Woods who has 1,642 career receiving yards, is 103 yards shy of fifth place on the program’s all-time list. With the Owls guaranteed to play three more games (four if they play in the Conference USA title game), Woods has an outside chance of joining Cortez Gent (2,478) and Lester Jean (1,992) as the only receivers in program history with 1,900 receiving yards.

“Him coming back was just a plus,” Howell said. “We was doing it without him, but him coming back was like, ‘now ya’ll really got somebody to deal with’ because that was one of our biggest threats to go deep with.”

Motor for Heisman: FAU announced on social media that it will hand out #Motor4Hei5man pins during Saturday’s Shula Bowl against FIU (6-3, 4-2). It is the Owls way of marketing American Heritage graduate Devin Singletary for consideration for the Heisman Trophy. The sophomore running back leads the country with 22 rushing touchdowns.



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