Boca Raton - The idea of getting far from home and to a place that some of his former high school teammates enjoyed had an appeal for Kevin Cyrille.

So Cyrille, a defensive end from Miami, accepted a scholarship offer from Western Michigan and headed north to play football for the Broncos.

"Players told me the loved it there," said Cyrille, who also had an offer from Florida Atlantic.

But Michigan and Cyrille did not mesh.

"I had a change of heart and got a little homesick and wanted to come back and be closer to my mom," he said.

So Cyrille got back in touch with FAU, and the Owls were happy to give him a scholarship and add him to their roster.

Cyrille sat out last season per the NCAA's transfer rule, but tales of his exploits as a member of the scout team began to circulate.

So while fans who watched Cyrille (6-4, 275) blast into the backfield and chase after quarterback Rusty Smith might have been wondering where No. 92 came from, FAU players were not surprised.

"Cyrille, Cyrille," linebacker Ed Bradwell said, and those words brought a big smile to his face. "Watch out for him."

Lack of a pass rush has plagued FAU for the last two seasons � they ranked No. 110 in 2007 and No. 112 in 2008 in sacks per game, averaging just over one � and that is why Cryille's spring performance grabbed so much attention.

FAU's defense gave up 403 yards and 28.7 points per game last year, and the anemic pass rush got much of the blame for that.

"I have confidence in our defense," Cyrille said. "We definitely did something different in the spring."

The one thing coaches were critical of Cyrille of in the spring was his conditioning, as he was often seen bent over and gasping for air.

Cyrille spent the summer working out, and has looked good so far in preseason camp, though the Owls won't put on full pads until Friday.

Cyrille said he has been getting advice from former Owl Frantz Joseph, who had a record 152 tackles last season, his last for FAU.

"He told me how important the preseason is, that this is where it starts, to go hard every drill," Cyrille said.