Former Florida Atlantic commit D.J. Charles was ready and excited to join the Owls, but new FAU coach Lane Kiffin and brother Chris had different plans.
New coaching staffs sometimes move on from players who committed to their school under previous regimes. But while the situation is not unusual, the manner in which Charles was dumped by the Owls appears troubling.
Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel told Charles’ story, which appears to include manipulation from the Kiffins.
Lane Kiffin left Alabama in mid-December to become FAU coach. Chris Kiffin is the team’s new defensive coordinator.
After Kiffin’s staff removed his primary recruiter, Charles claims to have reached out to several coaches on the new staff, only to receive voice mail messages.
Things went silent until Chris Kiffin followed Charles on Twitter and sent him a message. The exchange, as told by Hays in the Orlando Sentinel:
“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.”
According to the report, Charles’ father took the problem into his own hands at that point. The elder Charles called the FAU offices, only to receive a call back from an unidentified administrator informing him that his son no longer had a scholarship offer.
To be fair, we have not heard Lane or Chris Kiffin’s side of this story. Lane Kiffin, a former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator, migjht have a different version of the way things went down.
Lane Kiffin is piecing together his first recruiting class at FAU after leaving Alabama just a week before the national title game, which the Crimson Tide lost to Clemson.