With under two months till the season kicks off at home versus Indiana, let’s take a position by position look at the Panthers heading into Fall camp. We’ll start with the signal callers who Butch Davis will have on the roster.
Returnees: Christian Alexander (R-Jr.)- 6-3, 225, 24-39, 266 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Kaylan Wiggins (R-Fr)- 6-2, 200, zero statistics.
Newcomers: James Morgan (R-Jr.)- 6-5, 226, 279-538, 3342 yards with 25 touchdowns and 22 interceptions (All statistics at Bowling Green State University)
Heading into Fall: By virtue of Morgan arriving on campus in May, Alexander has to be considered first on the depth chart. Head Coach Butch Davis confirmed as much after the FIU’s Spring game.
However, Morgan is the most talented of the group and has significantly more experience than any of the other returning quarterbacks.
Alexander has seen mop-up duty in five contests, including coming on in relief of quarterback turned receiver Maurice Alexander to throw two garbage time touchdowns against Western Kentucky in 2016.
The biggest edge that Alexander has on Morgan is his mobility. He ran for almost 500 yards as a senior in high school and has good size at 6-3 and 225 pounds.
Wiggins redshirted last season after ending up at FIU under rather peculiar circumstances. He committed to Tulane only to have his scholarship offer pulled at the eleventh hour. Wiggins is the fastest of the group, running a 4.5 40-yard dash but will be best served by another year on the sidelines.
Final thought: Alexander is a solid player. However, when the quarterback spot was up for grabs heading into 2017, he wasn’t able to supplant either Alex McGough or Maurice Alexander on the depth chart.
FIU’s best chance to equal or improve on last year’s success will be with Morgan under center. In 13 starts at Bowling Green, Morgan showed flashes of why he was highly recruited coming out of high school.
Offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky has helped shape two NFL quarterbacks in Keith Wenning and McGough. If he can develop Morgan into a consistent quarterback, FIU will be in good shape.
Position grade: B-. Morgan should surpass Alexander on the depth chart and be under center September 1st when Indiana comes to Riccardo Silva Stadium. The question for Panther fans will be can he do enough to stay there.
If he can’t, Alexander will be ready and is capable enough to lead the offense. Wiggins is a talented prospect but if he sees significant playing time this season, it would be a sign that the staff is looking towards next season, especially with highly touted QB Stone Norton projected to be on the roster in 2019.