They said Butch Davis wasn’t going to succeed at FIU. They said his ability to recruit after years away from the game was a red flag. Well, after tying the record for most wins in school history with an 8-5 debut season, Butch has parlayed that on the field success to tremendous gains on the recruiting trail.
After the first ever Early Signing Period, FIU has the best recruiting class in Conference USA and rank 64th nationally. The headliners come from the JUCO ranks as the Panthers currently have the lone four-star commits in Conference USA as they are both slated to play on the defensive line.
Four-star JUCO defensive tackle Tayland Humphrey was one of the most coveted recruits in the nation. Joining him is defensive tackle Teair Tart-Spencer. Like Humphrey, Tart-Spencer originally held an offer from Alabama but when he was kicked off the East Mississippi Community College team Alabama and other Power Five schools stopped recruiting him. At 6’4, 290 pounds he has the potential to dominate C-USA lineman just like Humphrey (6’5, 350 pounds).
But even without those JUCO juggernauts FIU’s class is loaded. The Panthers scooped up a ton of talent from South Florida as they nabbed seven three-star recruits from the region. Safety Jamal Anderson is considered to be their best underclassmen as the safety was originally a Louisville commit.
With the departures of Anthony Wint and Treyvon Williams linebacker was a huge need and they filled it with three-star Donovan Georges. Georges was a former Georgia commit. At running back Shaun Peterson Jr. was one of the hidden gems in South Florida this year as a three-star and was a former USF commit.
The Panthers got another steal at running back with three-star DeMarcus Townsend near Tampa. Townsend was being recruited by Michigan State, UCLA, USF, and Baylor and would have had a higher profile if he didn’t suffer a knee injury before his senior season.
Out of FIU’s 22 verbal commits, they signed 21 of them. Two four-star recruits and 11 three-star recruits. We all knew that Ron Turner was underachieving on the recruiting trail and that Butch Davis would improve their presence in South Florida but not even the most optimistic FIU fan could have foreseen a class like this in just a year into Davis’ tenure.
If the Panthers close strong in the final signing period, they could have not just the best class in C-USA but one of the best 2018 recruiting classes in the Group of Five.