On Sunday, linebacker Donovan Thompson decommitted from the Florida International University Golden Panthers and switched to join the Utah Utes. With this move, FIU has seen yet another recruit drop their commitment on the road to National Signing Day.
Their losses are not minimal by any means. Besides Thompson, who's ranked as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com, the Panthers have also seen safety Damien Crumitie, quarterback Jacob Huesman (Appalachian State Mountaineers), running back Jawon Hamilton (Miami Hurricanes) and offensive lineman Nate Haskins (App State) leave. Defensive backs Byron Brown (UCF), Isaiah Brown (South Dakota) and Jadarius Byrd also left within the past year.
Bryd may have been the biggest loss out of all of the listed players, especially since he decommitted after an official visit. With both Richard Leonard and Jeremiah McKinnon graduated, FIU needs players at the position desperately. The decommitting of Brown, Byrd and Brown leaves JoJo Lewis as the lone corner still committed. Not a good sign for a team with only two corner backs on roster currently (Wilkenson Myrtil and Xavier Hines).
Looking at the total, that's eight players gone from the class of 2016. The Golden Panthers have seen themselves drop down to 101st overall in recruiting and ninth in Conference USA during that span, and may drop even lower in the next few days with more decommits.
One player that may jump ship is wide receiver Anthony Gaiter, another three-star who is holding offers from 12 schools including Louisville, Wisconsin, Duke and Temple while being listed as a hard FIU commit.
Without those key commits signing, FIU will have plenty of glaring needs at multiple positions. They still need another corner back to fill a vacant starting spot and add depth there. They also need to fill two defensive end spots, as both Michael Wakefield and Denzell Perine graduated.
If that description wasn't enough to show how bad the situation has gotten, this tweet from Miami Herald recruiting writer David Furones sums things up nicely.
Despite being located in one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country, the Panthers have failed to capitalize. Their last successful class was in 2012, when they were second in the conference and 76th in the nation. In the years since, they have only broken the conference top 10 and national 100 ranks once when they were tabbed 7th and 98th, respectively, in 2015.
This kind of recruiting year will be a major setback for head coach Ron Turner and his Panthers, especially with the holes they need to fill. Unless a miracle happens, don't expect too much from this class (which is listed below, but sans Byrd and Brown).