It happened again.
A week after the new staff at UConn pulled the scholarship of New Jersey linebacker Ryan Dickens, another prospect has been left scrambling for a new school. This time, it’s D.J. Charles, a safety from Orlando who had been committed to Florida Atlantic since October.
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Charles committed to FAU when Charlie Partridge was still running the program. But Partridge was fired in November, and the school brought in Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Charles told the Orlando Sentinel he was in communication with his recruiter, assistant coach Terrance Jamison, during the transition from Partridge to Kiffin. However, when Jamison was not retained, things got murky.
From the Sentinel:
Jamison, however, was eventually let go as well and suddenly FAU went silent on Charles. The silence ended last week. Charles had feared the worst when he was met with nothing but voicemails during his attempts to contact members of the coaching staff. Then he finally connected with Kiffin’s brother and new FAU defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin on Twitter last week.
“He actually had reached out to me. He followed me on Twitter, so I followed him back and then he hit me up on DM, saying, “Hey D.J., what’s up?” … and then he asked me, “Why did I decommit from FAU.”
Charles never decommitted and whether it was all a ruse to give FAU leverage to pull his scholarship, we’ll possibly never know, but that’s how it was presented to Charles.
“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 said. “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.”
Charles’ father eventually got in touch with the FAU athletic department, only to find his son no longer had a scholarship from the school. Now, with a little more than a week until signing day (Feb. 1 begins the signing period; prospects do not have to sign that day), things are uneasy for the family.
“I’m the father, you already know how upset I am. I’m stressed out,” Lebert Charles told the Sentinel. “We’re almost running out of time.”
This is something that happens far more than some may realize, especially when there is turnover at a school from one staff to another. The story from the Sentinel noted a few other prospects who have been left out in the cold by schools:
Charles was all set to become an FAU Owl, or, so he thought. Just like Jones offensive lineman Calvin Francis thought he was headed to FIU or Ocoee cornerback Dorian Jones thought he was headed to Georgia State. Those players are still searching for a landing place.
We also learned Monday that Dr. Phillips slot receiver Emare Hogan had his scholarship pulled by USF after confusion left over from the Willie Taggart regime. Apparently a grayshirted player from the 2016 class showed up to enroll earlier this month, taking a scholarship away from the incoming class. USF determined it ran out of spots and didn’t honor Hogan’s scholarship offer.
Things like this just do not always come out publicly. Sometimes these decisions come down to a numbers game where there are only so many scholarships available and the new staff favors other prospects. Other times a player could be considered a poor fit or not an FBS-level prospect by a new staff.
Nonetheless, the lack of transparency from staffs in these instances — especially this close to signing day when kids have limited options — leaves a poor taste in your mouth.