New FIU head coach Butch Davis signed the best recruiting class in recent memory for FIU as the Panthers signed the fourth best recruiting class in Conference USA, with 12 three star recruits set to call Miami their next home. We will take a look at the new roster and do a position-by-position breakdown of what the roster looks like going into Spring Camp.
Returning contributors: Alex McGough (SR), 167-286, 1891 yards with 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Maurice Alexander (SO), 51-87, 613 yards with 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Christian Alexander (SO), 20-34, 216 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Incoming recruits: Kaylan Wiggins (2 Star)
What we know: FIU’s offense will be run by former Ball State offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky (11-13). After some hiccups in 2011 Ball State’s offense took off in 2012-2013 as they ranked near the top of the MAC in points per game those two seasons.
His quarterback was Keith Wenning, a pocket passer who lit up the Ball State record book. McGough isn’t quite the passer Wenning was but he’s certainly the better runner.
But if Skrosky wants to feature that same offense McGough may not be the answer as he has struggled with consistency throughout his time in Miami and last season dealt with the injury bug. Maurice Alexander started the final three games in 2016 in his place of McGough and didn’t look particularly great in either start.
The game against Marshall was his best performance as Alexander completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards with two interceptions in the win against Marshall. Christian Alexander also played and played well as he completed 4 of 5 passes with a touchdown.
Both Alexanders displayed positive signs towards the end of the season and are worth a look. Maurice is the more explosive runner but Christian is the more polished passer. If Butch decides that the youth movement is the call we could see Maurice Alexander or Christian Alexander be the opening day starter.
Final thought: I always thought McGough was an odd fit for Ron Turner’s pro style offense. Under Ron Cooper McGough was more effective as he passed for 1343 yards with 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in the five games under Cooper. He also displayed more desire to run as he had 4 rushing touchdowns.
The Alexander combo will push McGough but ultimately I think the senior will prevail and usher in the Butch Davis era.
Position grade: B-. Once Ron Turner was fired Alex Mcgough really began to flourish. He still needs to improve his decision making as he has a bad habit of throwing back breaking interceptions but under a new regime McGough could be poised for a breakout senior season.
Both Alexanders getting significant playing time last year should provide a healthy quarterback competition this spring. Should either see significant snaps FIU wouldn’t be in bad hands. Given the depth, Kaylan Wiggins should be line for a redshirt.