FAU Football Announces 25 New Team Members

Feb. 6, 2013

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Florida Atlantic University's Head Football Coach Carl Peliniannounced the 2013 signing class today in the interview room of FAU Stadium.

The class, which is the 14th in the history of the program, is comprised of 12 players who are projected to impact the offensive side of the ball, as well as 11 players on the defensive side, and two athletes that will work into a need spot.

"I'm proud of the effort our coaching staff put into this class," said Pelini. "It was our priority to bring in quality young men both on and off the field - young men who will lead this program in the direction which we began last year about this time. This class excels academically and athletically and will be ready for the challenges of Conference USA."

In his second season as head coach, Pelini continues to change the culture of FAU football with five players joining the roster holding a state title, one of which holds two titles. A total of 15 have earned all-state honors and everyone earned an all-conference selection. There are three who have earned JUCO All-American honors. There are three who have earned JUCO All-American honors.

The Owls welcomed five players at the semester break, each of which has earned A.A. degrees. Among the incoming freshmen, nine hold a 3.0+ G.P.A. and the overall G.P. A. of the class is 2.95.

FAU also continues to build from within the state, with 17 players coming from Florida, five of which are from the tri-county area.

FAU will open the 2013 season on Saturday, Aug. 31 against the University of Miami at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The Owls will open the home season on Saturday, Sept. 21 against in-conference rival Middle Tennessee State University. For a complete FAU football schedule, visit

For a complete list of the 2013 signees, see below.

2013 FAU Recruiting Class

NameHgtWgtPosClsHometown (Previous School)
Jace Banfell6-3289OLFrPensacola, Fla. (Pensacola Catholic)
Austin Bland6-3265OLFrFort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Dustin Bowens6-5235TEFrPalm Coast, Fla. (Flagler)
Reggie Brown5-11170CBFrTampa, Fla. (Tampa Jesuit)
Lance Burlingame6-4280DTFrFranklin, Mass. (New Bedford/Dean JC)
Derek Butcher6-4295DLSoDelano, Minn. (Delano Senior/North Dakota State)
Marcus Clark5-8185CBFrTallahassee, Fla. (North Florida Christian)
Andrew Curtis6-2220LBFrParadise Valley, AZ (Brophy College Prep
Jeremy Faulk6-3267DTFrPalatka, Fla. (Palatka)
Greg Hankerson6-0172QBFrLauderdale Lakes, Fla. (Boyd Anderson)
Tyler Henderson5-11195SFrCrestview, Fla. (Crestview)
Trey Hendrickson6-4222DEFrApopka, Fla. (Apopka)
Jaquez Johnson6-1225QBSoStarkville, Miss. (Starkville/East Mississippi CC)
DJ Juste6-2185QBFrPort St. Lucie, Fla. (Port St. Lucie)
Branden Lyons6-5295OLJrSonoma, Calif. (Sonoma Valley/CC San Francisco)
Marc Mauro6-1195SJrBayville, N.Y. (Locust Valley/Nassau CC)
Robert Miller6-2190DBFrFort Lauderdale, Fla. (Taravella)
Bobby Mitchell6-2175ATHFrSt. Augustine, Fla. (St. Augustine)
Robert Relf6-3220LBFrPhoenix, Ariz. (Brophy College Prep)
Ronnie Scott5-10165CBFrPanama City, Fla. (Chamberlain)
Jakobi Smith6-4250OLFrMiami, Fla. (Coral Reef)
Lester Thomas5-10165DBFrTallahassee, Fla. (Godby)
Jay Warren6-0195RBFrNavarre, Fla. (Navarre)
Lucky Whitehead5-10163WRJrManassas, Va. (Osbourn/Dean College)
Kalib Woods6-3182WRFrJacksonville, Fla. (Duncan Fletcher)

Jace Banfell, 6-3, 289, OL, Fr, Pensacola, Fla. (Pensacola Catholic)

High School: Played for Greg Seibert at Pensacola Catholic where he earned second team all-area in 2011. In his senior season, 2012, he was named Super Senior Preseason, first team all-area and first team all-state. Banfell participated in the Panhandle all-star game.

Personal: Undecided in major. He is the son of Kelly and Jace Banfell, Sr., who played at Southern Miss. Banfell was born in Pensacola.

Austin Bland, 6-3, 265, OL, Fr, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

High School: Played for Rocco Casullo at St. Thomas Aquinas High School which earned the 2010 and the 2012 Class 7A State Championship. Bland was named to the 2012 first-team all-state team and played for the Broward All-Star Team.

Personal: Business major. He is the son of Kimberly and Michael Bland, who played offensive line for Michigan State University. He was born in Pembroke Pines.

Dustin Bowens, 6-5, 235, TE, Fr, Palm Coast, Fla. (Flagler)

High School: Played for Caesar Campana at Flagler Palm Coast High School where he was a 2012 First Team All-Cape Coast selection and where he earned the team's Offensive MVP honor.

Personal: Secondary education major. Bowens is the son of Darrel and Teresa Bowens and was born in North Augusta, S.C.

Reggie Brown, 5-11, 170, CB, Fr, Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Jesuit)

High School: Played or Matt Thompson at Tampa Jesuit which finished with an 8-3 2012 record and 11-2 in 2011. Brown played in the Hillsborough County All-Star game. The two-time Hillsborough all-county honorable mention selection tallied 18 tackles, an interception and five pass break ups as a senior. As a junior, Brown recorded 31 tackles, three interceptions, 1 forced fumble and two recoveries. Brown is credited with 80 career tackles, six INTs, one blocked field goal and 19 passes deflected, nine touchdowns, 33 receptions for 423 yards, 36 carries for 334 yards, five kick returns for 103 yards. He is a two-sport athlete (football and track).

Personal: Undecided in major. He is the son of Reggie and Shonda Brown. His cousin Derrick Gibson played for Florida State University and continued his career with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL.

Lance Burlingame, 6-4, 280, DT, Fr, Franklin, Mass. (New Bedford/Dean JC)

Junior College: Played for Todd Vasey at Dean College where he earned all-conference honors.

High School: Played for Dennis Golden at New Bedford High School where he earned all-conference honors and was a Mass Super 26 all-state selection. He also was a member of the all-conference team and earned the Boston Globe and Boston Herald all-scholastic honors.

Personal: Public administration major. Burlingame is the son of Julie Burlingame and Eric Burns. He was born in Hyannis, Mass.

Derek Butcher, 6-4, 295, DL, So, Delano, Minn. (Delano Senior/North Dakota State)*

*Joined the FAU squad in January.

North Dakota State College of Science: Played defensive line for Chuck Parsons at North Dakota State College of Science where he earned first team all-conference honors after multiple double-digit tackle games.

High School: Played for Merril Pavlivoch at Delano Senior High School where he earned all-conference honors as both a junior and senior. Was a AAA athlete in high school and was a member of WAR (Western Alliance Rugby) which won the state championship his senior season.

Personal: Communications major. He is the son of Kary and Chantelle Butcher.

Marcus Clark, 5-8, 185, DB, Fr, Tallahassee, Fla. (North Florida Christian)

High School: Played for Robert Craft at North Florida Christian where he earned first team all-state, 2A. He also earned first team all-Big Bent as named by the Tallahassee Democrat. Clark was a first team Panhandle member after recording 1,300 all-purpose yards. He tallied 24 touchdowns as a running back. As a junior, Clark had 72 tackles, one interception, two punt returns for scores and a kick return for a touchdown. He is a two-sport athlete (football and track) and a member of the honor roll.

Personal: Engineering major. He is the son of Edward and Cheryl Clark. Clark was born in Tallahassee.

Andrew Curtis, 6-2, 220, LB, Fr, Paradise Valley, Ariz. (Brophy College Prep)

High School: Played for Scooter Molander at Brophy College Prep. Earned all-conference player of the year honors as a junior. Curtis earned all-state honors as both a junior and as a senior and on both sides of the ball. As a junior, Curtis recorded 105 tackles, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, one interception and three pass break-ups. His senior campaign saw similar numbers with 105 tackles, including 70 solo and 15 for a loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, six passes broken up and two interceptions. He is the team's single-season tackles and solo tackles record holder. The three-year starter concluded his prep campaign as Brophy's all-time career total tackles and solo tackles leader. He is a two-sport athlete (football and lacrosse). He played in the Arizona/CA all-star game.

Personal: Business major. Curtis is the son of Scott, a three-year member of the Arizona State University football team (82-84), and Victoria Curtis. He was born in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jeremy Faulk, 6-3, 267, DT, Fr, Palatka, Fla. (Palatka)

High School: Played for Willie Offord at Palatka High School where he recorded 71 tackles, including 52 solo as a senior. He also added three sacks and caused two fumbles, one of which he recovered to earn honorable mention all-state. Faulk earned the Defensive MVP award for the Florida vs. Georgia all-star game. Faulk chose FAU over another Conference USA university.

Personal: Physical therapy major. Faulk is the son of Kim Myles and was born in Palatka.

Greg Hankerson, 6-0, 172, QB, Fr, Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. (Boyd Anderson)

High School: Played for Wayne Blair at Boyd Anderson High School which finished 2012 with a 10-3 record. Hankerson tallied 1,962 yards as a junior with 19 touchdowns. As a senior he led the squad and tallied nearly 2,500 yards with 24 scores. Hankerson earned all-Broward County, honors and was recognized by both the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel. Earned second team all-state honors (two-sport athlete football and basketball).

Personal: Exercise science major. Hankerson is the son of Ricshonda and Gregory Hankerson, Sr. He was born in Fort Lauderdale.

Tyler Henderson, 5-11, 195, S, Fr, Crestview, FL (Crestview)

High School: Played for Kevin Pettis at Crestview High School where he earned first team all-area for both football and baseball. He also recorded two of the top-10 plays of the decade in the Panhandle.

Personal: Engineering major. He is the son of Rick and Brandy Henderson and was born in Crestview, Fla.

Trey Hendrickson, 6-4, 222, DE, Fr, Apopka, FL (Apopka)

High School: Played for Rick Darlington at Apopka High School where he earned first team all-conference, and third team all-state after Apopka captured the State Championship. Hendrickson recorded 547 receiving yards and rushed four times for a total of 62 yards. He scored two defensive touchdowns and seven on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, Hendricks tallied three interceptions and blocked two punts as well as eight extra point attempts. He earned the top tight end award at the Cam Newton Camp.

Personal: Hendrickson is the son of Collie, who played football at Missouri Southern State University, and Louise Hendrickson. He was born in Orlando.

Jaquez Johnson, 6-1, 225, QB, So, Starkville, Miss. (Starkville/East Mississippi CC)*

*Joined the FAU squad in January and will have three seasons of eligibility.

East Mississippi CC: As a freshman, Johnson earned honorable mention All-America honors to continue the streak of five-consecutive seasons for East Mississippi Community College to produce an All-American. Johnson was a member of EMCC's 2011 NJCAA National Championship team but sat out. While under center at EMCC, which ended 2012 ranked No. 15 nationally by NJCAA and No. 12 by, the Lions compiled an 8-2 record, after an 8-0 start and outscoring opponents 389-24, but fell in the final two games by a combined two points, including a 47-46 loss in the MACJC State Semifinals. Johnson led EMCC with 284.6 passing yards per game and 27 touchdowns. He was second on the squad in rushing with 121 carries for 540 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry and he led the ground game with 12 touchdowns. Johnson scored multiple touchdowns in every game including a combined season high seven versus northwest Mississippi, a game that he was 33-of-46 for 422 yards with four TDs and ran for another three on a 21-114 ground performance. He tossed a season high five scores at Southwest Mississippi and totaled 403 yards on 21 passes. In the final game of his EMCC career, the freshman tallied 557 yards of offense, 455 in the air and 102 on the ground and scored four times.

High School: Played for Bill Lee at Starkville High School where he earned All-Conference honors.

Personal: Social science/education major. He is the son of Andrew Johnson and Anita Milons-Johnson. Johnson is a relative of Freddre Milions, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and Jereme Milions.

2012Rushing PassingTotal Offense
TOTALS121-540, 12 TD227-of-383--2846--27 TD504-3386--39 TD

DJ Juste, 6-2, 185, QB, Fr, Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Port St. Lucie)

High School: Played for Hilary Poole at Port St. Lucie High School where he was a highly decorated player. As a junior, Juste earned first team all-state honors as well as all-area and was the player of the year for the Treasure Coast. He became the all-time passing and rushing leader in Port St. Lucie history and tallied a school record 99 yard punt return as well as the record for all-purpose yards with 390 in a single game. As a senior, Juste earned first team all-area, second team all-state. He was named the 2012 Outback Bowl MVP. He was named a Nike all-star as a wide receiver and played as a quarterback in the Outback Bowl. For his career, Juste tallied 6,100 all-purpose yards, 50 career TDs, 2,917 passing yards, 2,715 rushing yards and 274 as a receiver.

Personal: Communication or psychology major. He is the son of Rosemarie Juste. He was born in Fort Pierce.

Branden Lyons, 6-5, OL, 295, Sonoma, Calif. (Sonoma Valley HS/City College of San Francisco)*

*Joined the FAU squad in January

City College of San Francisco: Played for George Rush at City College of San Francisco who finished the 2012 campaign 9-1 and averaged 42.8 points per game. He is currently ranked as the 25th best offensive tackle nationally by and as the 81st best player, also by

Humboldt State: Saw action on the offensive line.

High School: Played for Mick O'Meara at Sonoma Valley High School where he earned second team All-Conference honors (Sonoma County League) and was named All-Metro San Francisco. Lyons participated in the National Underclassmen California Top-100 Combine. Off the field, Lyons earned the San Francisco Police Department Scholarship for Academic Honors.

Personal: Sociology major with a desire to attend law school. He is the son of Gerald and Jacqueline Lyons and nephew of Don Lyons who played major league baseball with the L.A. Angels.

Marc Mauro, 6-1, 195, S, Jr, Bayville, N.Y. (Locust Valley/Nassau CC)

Nassau CC: Earned first team junior college All-American honors and was the New England Player of the Year. He finished 2012 fifth in the league with five interceptions and a pass break-up. Mauro led the league in interceptions. In 2012 he scored on offense, defense and special teams.

High School :Played for Coach Knoll at Locust Valley High School.

Personal: History major. He is the son of Michele and Bill Mauro.

Robert Miller, 6-2, 190, DB, Fr, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Taravella)

High School: Played for Dan Marguriet at Taravella High School where he was a two-year first team all-county selection and was the Central player of the year. Miller participated in the Dade vs. Broward all-star game and the Private vs. Public all-star game. As a senior, he tallied 56 tackles, including three sacks, four interceptions, 15 pass break-ups and scored five touchdowns. He is a two-sport athlete (football and track).

Personal: Criminal Justice major. He is the son of Nicky McCray and Antwan Armalin and was born in Fort Lauderdale.

Bobby Mitchell, 6-2, 175, ATH, Fr, St. Augustine, Fla. (St. Augustine)

High School: Played for Joey Wiles at St. Augustine High School where he was a 2012 first team Florida High School Class 6A Elite Team member as a wide receiver. St. Augustine finished the season 11-1 due in part to his all-county efforts. Mitchell was credited with 52 passes for 1,095 yards and 12 scores. He set the school's single-season records for yards. At seasons end, Mitchell was named second team all-state (6A), to the First Coast Team. In a span of three games during his senior campaign, he recorded 22 tackles and two interceptions. He is a two-sport athlete (football and track).

Personal: Business major. He is the son of Bobby Allen and Qwanda Mitchell and was born in St Augustine. As a hobby, he is a pianist.

Robert Relf, 6-3, 220, LB, Fr, Phoenix, Ariz. (Brophy College Prep)

High School: Played for Scooter Molander at Brophy College Prep where he earned all-state honors. He also was selected all-conference and all-section his sophomore through his senior season. He also was named the Player of the Year in Arizona and was a member of the all-Arizona team as a senior. The multi-purpose player was a three-year starter and was awarded the Ron Pritchard award as the best linebacker in the state.

Personal: Business major. He is the son of Greg and Debra Relf. He has two brothers Kendrick and Cory. Relf was born in Phoenix, Ariz.

Ronnie Scott, 5-10, 165, CB, Fr, Panama City, Fla. (Chamberlain)

High School: Played for DJ Mayo at Chamberlain High School where he earned all-state honorable mention honors as a senior. He also was named second team all-county and will graduate in the top-100 of his class.

Personal: Business major. He is the son of Ronnie and Mara Scott. Scott was born in Panama City.

Jakobi Smith, 6-4, 250, OL, Fr, Miami, Fla. (Coral Reef)

High School: Played for Chevas Clements at Coral Reef High School where he also represented his high school by playing in the Dade vs. Broward all-star game. He is a two-sport athlete (football and club baseball).

Personal: Business major. He is the son of Marisha Smith and was born in Miami.

Lester Thomas, 5-10, 165, DB, Fr, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby)

High School: Played for Ronnie Cottrell at Godby High School, which captured the Class 5A state Championship and finished the season 14-1. Thomas earned first team all-conference, 5A all-state and was named to the Big Bend Tallahassee Democrat team. Thomas tallied 74 tackles, including 52 solo and a sack. He also had eight interceptions and a fumble recovery. He was named Godby's defensive MVP and to the 5A FHSAA Elite Team as well as second team All-American by As a junior he recorded 86 tackles and seven interceptions.

Personal: Undecided in major. He is the son of Lester and Maria Thomas and was born in Tallahassee. His cousin Aries Monroe plays for the Carolina Panthers.

Jay Warren, 6-0, 195, RB, Fr, Navarre, Fla. (Navarre)

High School: Played for Jay Walls at Navarre High School where he earned second team all-state as well as all-area honors as a senior. Warren was named the Big School Player of the Year and the Offensive Player of the Year. He rushed for 1,831 yards, scored 19 touchdowns is final campaign on 233 carries. He tallied five games with more than 200 rushing yards as a senior. He also was credited with 71 receiving yards and 45 tackles. The Pensacola News Journal named him the Player of the Year. He is a two-sport athlete (football and weightlifting).

Personal: Exercise science major who is the son of Vince and Deborah Warren. Warren was born in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla.

Lucky Whitehead, 5-10, 163, WR, Jr, Manassas, Va. (Osbourn/Dean College)*

*Joined the FAU squad in January

Dean College: Played for Dean College where he earned first team All-American honors as well as first team all-conference recognition at both wide receiver and return specialist. He was recognized as the team's special team player of the year as a senior.

High School: Played for Steve Schultz at Osbourn High School where he earned first team all-conference honors as a wide receiver and defensive back.

Personal: Son of Karen Morris and Rodney Whitehead. Whitehead's career goals include creating a program to keep children out of trouble.

Kalib Woods, 6-3, 182, WR, Fr, Jacksonville, Fla. (Duncan Fletcher)

High School: Played for Josh Corey at Duncan Fletcher High School where he earned all-district, and all-conference honors. His teammates named him the Offensive Player of the Year in high school, where he also won the captain award. Following a senior season of 48 tackles, 876 yards and eight TDs he also was named third team all-state 8A. He earned Athlete of the Week for Dec. 4, 2012, after contributing in both football and basketball. He ended his career as the third all-time receiver in the history of Fletcher High School. He was nominated and selected to play in the Florida vs. Georgia all-star game. Woods is a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and track).

Personal: Business administration major. He is the son of Katina Gadson and was born in Daytona Beach.. He is a relative of Lionel Gates who is a running back for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.

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