Owls class heavy on state players, but Illinois QB was find


HOW THE OWLS FARED

Where class ranks: 98th

Instant impact: Coach Charlie Partridge said there was screaming coming from the office when he and his coaching staff learned that American Heritage running back Devin Singletary, a former Illinois commit, had signed with the Owls.

Under the radar: TE Harrison Bryant of Milledgeville, Ga., is a two-star recruit whose brains – he’s a 4.0 student – along with his size (6-4, 225) and athleticism could force coaches to find a way to get him on the field.

The 19 recruits in this year’s Florida Atlantic University recruiting class are a varied group. Some came as close as Deerfield Beach, others came from as far as Oswego, Ill.

This class is Charlie Partridge’s third at the helm of the Owls program, and he said the experience is different from the top of the mountain.

“One of the things you miss is constantly being in homes,” Partridge said. He explained that face-to-face contact is an absolute premium since head coaches don’t get as much time to physically speak to players.

Seventeen of this year’s signees hail from the state of Florida. Seventy-three percent of recruits under Partridge are from the I-4 corridor or south.

Three members of this year’s class hail from Palm Beach County: linebacker Chanler Ferguson (Atlantic), defensive back Da’Von Brown (Royal Palm Beach) and running back Devin Singletary (American Heritage).

Florida has been a priority for Partridge since his head coaching career began. Some players, though, are perceived to be talented enough to warrant heading across state lines.

The staff saw that type of player in Illinois native Steven Frank. On trips to see other players in the Midwest, such as offensive linemen Bryan Beck and Jack Breshears, the quarterback caught their eye.

“For the QB position, you’re going to go anywhere in the country,” Partridge said. “We’re really excited about him coming into this class.”

Two players flipped late to Florida Atlantic. One was Singletary, a former Illinois commit. The other was Homestead safety Rashad Smith, who was committed to Syracuse.

“It was an exciting moment,” Partridge said of grabbing those two. “There was a lot of screaming in the office.”

Several recruits chose FAU over larger, more established programs. Partridge attributed that to the connections his coaches have made in the area, and the increased branding of the school that comes with those connections.

“High school coaches recognize it,” he said. “Local coaches recognize it.”

With the commits finally in tow, Partridge says he and the staff will take a couple days to catch their breath, then start moving toward next season. Their spring game is on April 16.

Even after what has been a long coaching career, Partridge knows how fickle a group of teenagers can be. He thought his program had a good chance of signing the players it wanted, but he was always wary.

“I don’t sleep much the night before signing day,” he said. “I don’t know that I ever will.”



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