After a year on the job FAU coach Carl Pelini says the Owls are better positioned for their first major high school recruiting weekend, which begins today. (Photo courtesy of Owl Pix)
Ready and eager
FAU is in much better position than it was a year ago as it heads into its first major high school recruiting weekend of the year. Nearly 15 players - all high schoolers - will visit FAU as the Owls hope to bolster their 2013 recruiting class.
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This time last year Carl Pelini had been Florida Atlantic's head coach for a little more than a month and was desperately trying to play catch-up in recruiting.
Fast forward a year and Pelini is much more comfortable with the Owls' standing.
"We are so much better organized. We are so much more efficient than we were a year ago," Pelini admits.
FAU signed five junior college players during the mid-term signing period. This weekend marks the start of the Owls' push to sure up their 2013 class of high school recruits.
The Owls are expecting nearly 15 recruits on campus beginning today - all of them high school players.
"We have really been able to spend a lot of time talking about these guys and rating them and looking at more than film," Pelini said. "I really feel like that we are not only bringing in good athletes, we are bringing in good people."
Whereas last season FAU was still struggling to identify area talent, this year the Owls feel like they are ahead of the game. Six of the players coming to Boca Raton this weekend have already committed to FAU. Another eight commitments are expected to visit in the coming weekends.
"There's not that sense of panic I had a year ago where (I was thinking), If I don't get this guy, what are we going to do?" Pelini said.
Still, the point of the weekend is to convince some players who have yet to make up their minds to commit to becoming Owls.
Ke'Tyrus Marks is one such player who will be in Boca Raton, and his relationship with FAU shows how much more familiar the Owls are with the players they are recruiting this year.
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from Riviera Beach-Suncoast attended an offseason camp at FAU, has been to games and knows the academic strengths of the school.
"This time I get to see FAU in full - to see everything they have to offer," said Marks, who also has interest from Northern Illinois and Western Kentucky.
Marks could be one of the biggest commitments for the Owls this weekend. If FAU gets Marks, Gainesville running back Raphael Webb and Vero Beach offensive lineman Chris Flaig and University Christian defensive lineman Marquis Haynes, Pelini and his coaches will likely head into the following week's recruiting weekend in a good mood. OwlAccess.com has confirmed all are planning visits.
The Owls may only sign one running back this year and with offers from Boston College, Minnesota and a handful of mid-majors Webb is likely at the top of FAU's wish list. He rushed for 2,000 yards and scored 28 touchdowns while leading Gainesville to the Class 6A title game in 2012.
FAU is always looking for lineman so Flaig, currently an FIU commit, would represent a victory over an in-state rival.
Haynes, a North Carolina commitment who had previously pledged to Louisville, earned an All-State selection while leading Jacksonville-University Christian to Florida's Class 2A title this season.
Thirteen of the visitors will be from within the state of Florida. Illinois quarterback Todd Porter is the lone out-of-state player visiting this weekend.