Entering last season, Fermin Silva had aspirations of closing out his FIU career with a bowl victory and pursuing a pro career.
Four games into the season, he was on his way to making those visions a reality. Coming off of a 2017 season, in which he had 50 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and was named to C-USA’s all-conference second team, the idea of the NFL wasn’t far-fetched.
Four days after a two-sack performance against Miami, his season would be over.
Huge loss for FIU. Arguably the Panthers best player on either side of the ball.— Eric Henry (@EricCHenry_) September 29, 2018
Barring a medical redshirt he'll end his Panther career with 13.5 sacks which places him 3rd all-time.#PawsUp #CUSAFB https://t.co/rhjzEVXSlg
FIU would go on to set a single-season record for victories in a season (9) and win the Bahamas Bowl.
However, Silva couldn’t have been further from his visions of success at the start of the season.
At the start of the off-season, he decided to enter the transfer portal and bring his FIU career to a close. He finishes third all-time in the Panther record books with 14.5 sacks.
I caught up with Fermin, to talk about his FIU career, the lowest point for him personally and his decision to finish up his college playing days at a different school.
EH: How’s the recovery been from the injury?
Silva: It’s been good. I really feel that physically, I’m back.
Just my explosiveness and getting my calf back to where it was before.
The hardest thing honestly has been the mental part. Losing my last season and knowing I can’t be out there with the team, it’s eating me up inside knowing I’m not playing spring football right now.
That’s killing me. But I know God has a purpose.
EH: How frustrating has it been to not be able to play spring ball?
Silva: It’s been real frustrating. I just came off of having a big game against Miami, felt like everything was going well and then I got hurt.
It felt like slowly I was losing everything.
To be honest, I felt like I lost my career, I wasn’t even talking to a lot of people. I didn’t want to even talk to family, at times I didn’t even want to go to the games or watch practice, I was that down on myself.
God has a plan, I know everything happens for a reason.
EH: Talk about the Miami game, it ended up being your last one as a Panther and you had a career day.
Silva: It was a big game, hometown rivalry, everyone is hyped up, but I couldn’t have had the game I did without my teammates.
All 11 guys and the coaches.
The game didn’t go the way we wanted it to obviously, but the whole team was hyped. Coming from FIU, we look for games like that.
EH: How has the search been for a new program?
Silva: I’ve been talking to a couple of schools, I just took a visit to UConn.
The process is going well, but it’s hard spending my entire career at FIU and building that bond, a brotherhood.
It’s hard to find a team that’s just going to treat you like family and bring you in. Wherever I go, I’m going to have to start over.
I’ll find the right place.
EH: What went into the decision to leave FIU?
Silva: Just sitting down and talking with my family, I felt like I wanted to go to a bigger school Just have a better opportunity to showcase my talents and get to the next level.
EH: You switched to being a hybrid LB/DE entering last season, is that something you’re still interested in?
Silva: Yeah, after talking with Coach Davis, we decided that’s something that would help me at the next level.
Because in the NFL, I won’t have my hand in the dirt, I’ll be standing up. Just trying to find a school that’s going to use me as a outside linebacker/stand-up defensive end.
EH: How would you sum up your time at FIU?
Silva: It was a great experience, I wouldn’t change anything that I did.
I came in as a freshman and enrolled early. Coming into college, the game was fast for me, but then it started slowing down.
The first two years didn’t go as planned, then we came back, went to a bowl game and I think we as seniors did a great job of leaving FIU better than we found it.
That’s all you want to do when you get to a college, leave it in a better situation than when you arrived. That’s what I’m most proud of and I’ll never forget where I came from.
EH: What would you want coaches to know about Fermin Silva?
I’m a hard worker, I’m relentless, I love to study film and I’m going to overcome this injury. I’ll be back to 100 percent, and I won’t disappoint any school that takes me.