It hasn’t taken long for new Florida Atlantic football coach Lane Kiffin to get back in the national headlines. This time, it probably won’t be for something he’s happy to be associated with.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kiffin pulled FAU’s scholarship offer from Dr. Phillips (Orlando) athlete D.J. Charles, leaving Charles without a college football destination just more than a week out from National Signing Day. The decision to pull the scholarship from Charles left the 5-foot-9 athlete stunned, in large part because he had remained in close contact with his primary recruiter, Terrance Jamison.
That connection kept Charles in good stead until Jamison, too, was relieved of his duties. When Charles attempted to track down coaches at FAU to discuss his status, he only reached their voicemail, inspiring him to connect with new defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin over Twitter. Lane Kiffin’s brother was quick to connect with Charles on the social media app, but then shocked Charles when he asked why he had decommitted from the Owls.
According to Charles, he never decommitted from FAU, and never even seriously considered it.
“I said, ‘I never posted anything saying I decommitted from FAU,’ and I told him, ‘I was just wondering why I hadn’t heard from anybody since the new coaching staff came in,’” Charles told the Sentinel. “And then he said he’d have to get with Coach Kiffin [the head coach] and have him watch my film and he’d get back to me soon. A couple days later I asked him [on Twitter] if there was any update, and he was like, ‘Let me find out today.’ So I guess he never got with Coach Kiffin and it was left at that.
“I wasn’t really upset because I know coaches have their opinions and their players to get. I really just kept calm. I was kind of stressing about it, but at the same time, a school doesn’t really make you, it’s what you make of the school. I figure wherever I go, I just gotta play.”
The issue is that Charles is rapidly running out of time. The senior took an official visit to Eastern Kentucky last weekend, but learned that the Colonels don’t have an available scholarship for him. He is scrambling to plan visits to Tennessee-Chattanooga and Western Kentucky, but there are no guarantees that scholarship offers at those schools will still be available for him, either.
As for FAU, Kiffin clearly has plans for Charles’ scholarship. Maybe it’s earmarked for Alabama commit Hunter Brannon. All that matters is that it isn’t designated for Charles anymore, and that certainly doesn’t feel fair.