Florida Atlantic jumped onto the national scene last season in Lane Kiffin’s first season with the Owls. The team won 11 games, a school record for wins, behind their stout running game. Most of the workload in that phase of the game was spearheaded by Devin Singletary.
Broward County Bravehearts: Devin Singletary
In only his sophomore season, “Motor” rushed for 1,918 yards with 33 touchdowns. Those stats were the best in Conference USA and ranked Singletary fourth in the NCAA in yards, and first in touchdowns. The hype around FAU has only grown with an opening weekend game against the Big 12 champions Oklahoma Sooners.
From Deerfield To Delray
Those in Broward county youth football may not recognize the name Devin Singletary. That’s because everyone knew him as “Motor.” Singletary’s legend grew as he made his name playing for the Deerfield Packer Rattlers. The youth organization is home to college football sensation, Denard “Shoelace” Robinson. It was there that Singletary received the nickname because of his ability to break long runs.
After being a standout in youth football, Singletary made the move to American Heritage-Delray for his high school career. At American Heritage he left his imprint on the program. He was a three year first team All-County offensive player of the year. By the time his career in high school concluded he had accumulated 4,975 rushing yards. Those numbers, along with his film, would be enough to net offers from all over the country. Up to that point Singletary was committed to the University of Illinois. Florida Atlantic was able to secure an official visit from Singletary just weeks before signing day. On National Signing Day, he decided to switch commitments and sign with FAU instead.
Freshman Record Breaker
Many didn’t quite understand Singletary’s decision to join a 2016 FAU team that was returning it’s starting running back in Greg “Buddy” Howell. That didn’t phase Singletary. But early in the season his carries were few and far between. Finally, against Florida International the coaching staff gave Singletary 17 carries that resulted in 86 yards and a touchdown. This marked the first time “Motor” received more than seven carries during a game. Singletary’s game went from a neutral idle to first gear.
Although it was a good performance there was still more in the works for Singletary. His best performance came against the Rice Owls. He would break FAU school records by rushing for 257 yards and totaling over 288 all purpose yards. Not only was this a big deal for FAU but he would also receive co-offensive player of the week in Conference USA with that performance.
— FAU Football (@FAU_Football) November 5, 2016
He would continue his impressive play throughout the second half of 2016 having another 200 yard rush game against Middle Tennessee State. In the last four games, Singletary would score 10 of his 12 total touchdowns of the season, giving fans a hope of what was to come.
Motor To The Lane Train
The 2016 season ended on a high note for Singletary, but not necessarily for the Owls. They underwent a third consecutive three win season under then coach Charlie Partridge, which would lead to his dismissal. All was not lost though because the backfield tandem of Howell and Singletary would return. Just the season before the two combined for 25 touchdowns which was an FAU record.
BABY GOT BACKS! With the 3 TDs, #FAU has broken program mark with 22 rushing TDs in a year!
Whyte: 1 pic.twitter.com/K9DU1oMc1H
— FAU Football (@FAU_Football) November 13, 2016
Adding even more excitement was the addition of Lane Kiffin as the new head coach. The eccentric personality of Kiffin would make FAU receive more media attention than ever before. Usually a spike in media coverage would be seen as a negative but Kiffin made FAU relevant for something it traditionally was not known for: winning football games.
All Aboard The Lane Train
After showing that he was capable of a bigger role the season before, Singletary would take over the starting job. The season started out in similar fashion due to facing a tough non-conference schedule. After four games the Owls had only won one game. This was not the same team, though. The September 23rd loss at Buffalo would be the last time that the Owls would lose a game in 2017. The ‘Lane Train’ had picked up steam and the conductor was “Motor” Singletary.
After the second game of the season, Singletary rushed for 100 yards or more for the rest of the season. That would be the tip of the iceberg. “Motor” would record seven games of three or more rushing touchdowns. In the bowl game against Akron, Singletary motored for another three touchdowns. This was significant for a number of reasons.
✨ @AP ALL-AMERICAN ✨
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) December 11, 2017
He would conclude the season with 32 touchdowns, which meant he passed his running backs, coach Kevin Smith, for the single season record. That number would also lead the NCAA in touchdowns and scoring for 2017. The legendary season ‘Motor’ put together looked similar to the type of seasons he put together in high school back in Broward County. He would be named C-USA MVP and become the first player in FAU history to be named an AP All-American. The impact on his team through his play was even more evident.
From the third game of the season forward, FAU scored 30 or more points against every opponent. On the season, the team averaged 40 points a game, ranking eighth nationally in scoring offense. The Owls won a conference championship for the first time in school history.
With the way that both FAU and “Motor” Singletary ended the season, expectations are even higher for 2018. With a season opener against Oklahoma, many are viewing the game as a potential upset.
For Singletary, he has already started getting NFL Draft attention going into his junior season and has even been dubbed a potential NFL star. If he scores 13 more touchdowns this year he will become the all-time leader in C-USA history in just three seasons. Lane Kiffin and FAU have already began their Heisman campaign for the season in hopes of getting Motor to get a trip to New York.
— FAU Football (@FAU_Football) July 30, 2018
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