Under Ron Turner FIU consistently underachieved on the recruiting trail. According to 247 Sports, FIU’s recruiting classes never ranked higher than seventh in Conference USA and finished in the top 100.
You don’t need a recruiting expert to tell you that this should never happen to FIU as they are literally a short drive away from the best high school prospects in the country in Miami.
We’re less than two weeks away from National Signing Day from FIU being considered an afterthought on the recruiting trail in south Florida.
Since FIU has hired Butch Davis their recruiting has improved immensely. The Panthers currently have the third best recruiting class in C-USA which ranks 80th in the country. In a short amount of time Davis has already improved FIU’s roster. The roster he inherits isn’t without talent but there are a few needs he should definitely address.
Here are three positions FIU should target before National Signing Day.
Key Contributors Returning: Alex McGough (SR), Maurice Alexander (SO)
Since the departure of Wesley Carrol FIU has been devoid of good quarterback play. I like Alex McGough. I think he is a tough SOB. I like that he is a capable runner. I like that he plays with a ton of heart. I like that he has a ton of starts under his belt.
The latter point is why he should be the starter next season. For all the things I do like about McGough there is no getting around the fact that he isn’t a good decision maker. Last year he finished with 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
If FIU is to improve under Davis the quarterback position must be addressed. With McGough slated to graduate after next year FIU needs a quarterback. Fortunately for FIU fans, Butch has done just that. In his first month on the job two-star quarterback Kaylan Wiggins was one of Davis’ first commitments.
Wiggins is the only quarterback committed in this class right now but the Panthers are trying to get one more pledge. FIU remains in the hunt for three-star quarterback Shabazz Telfort out of Fort Lauderdale.
Key Contributors Returning: Anthony Wint (SR), Treyvon Williams (SR), Vontarius West (SR), Sage Lewis (SO)
FIU enters next season with the best group of linebackers in C-USA with Anthony Wint and Treyvon Williams. Due to their impending graduations the Panthers should be savvy to address this need now.
FIU has five linebackers committed as of today. Usually you don’t see that amount of linebackers in a given class but FIU currently has 10 linebackers on their official roster and six will be seniors heading into next year.
Out of the five linebackers committed, two of them are three star prospects in Brandon James and Cornell Jones. Both feature P5 offers and both are from Miami. If FIU is able to hold on to these two come February 1st it will be a huge step for the FIU program and a sign of what things will be like on the trail with Butch Davis leading the way.
Defensive Line/Defensive Tackle
Key Contributors Returning: Fermin Silva (JR), Jermaine Sheriff (JR), Milord Juste (JR)
FIU’s DL Havoc rate ranked 103rd in the country. If there was a big play by the defense it was usually caused by their linebackers.
Defensive tackles Maurice Cheeks and Imarjaye Albury were supposed to be major factors this year and instead were duds. The seniors combined for 3.5 tackles for loss all season.
Both were previous three star prospects but they never played to their potential at FIU. Although they underachieved, replacing them is going to be an issue. Fermin Silva and Jermaine Sheriff were primarily used as defensive ends last year. Neither have the size to move over to the tackle spot.
Third string defensive tackle Leonard Washington was also a senior leaving only Andrew Tarver as the team’s sole defensive tackle heading into next year.
FIU has four commits along the defensive line with three star players Rashad Colson and Kevin Oliver leading the group. Colson is slated to play defensive tackle at FIU and is the only commit they have at that position. His signature on signing day is of huge importance for a defensive line that is lacking bodies and in need of a major influx of talent.