With two months till the season opener at Tulane, 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.
All stats listed are for the 2018 season. Projected starter(s) are in bold.
Returning: James Morgan (R-Sr.)- 6-5, 226, 213-326, 2727 yards, 26 TD - 7 int
Kaylan Wiggins (R-Soph)- 6-2, 200, zero statistics
Caleb Lynum (R-Fr)- 6-2, 190, zero statistics
Tanner Watson (R-Fr) 6-3, 180, zero statistics
Newcomers: Stone Norton (Fr.) 6-3. 200, true freshman
Heading into Fall: What a difference a year makes. Heading into last season, James Morgan was entering a quarterback competition with Christian Alexander, and looked like he was on his last chance to live up to his potential coming out of high school.
Fast forward to today, Morgan is entrenched as the FIU starter, and is the second-best signal caller in the conference behind UNT’s Mason Fine.
"I came away from last year really impressed with James Morgan," said C-USA analyst Brett Romberg.
Now, this season's pertinent question is, who will win the backup job?
“I want each guy to just focus on getting better, learn to make the right calls, and learn the offense, don’t think of it as a competition,” said head coach Butch Davis after the team’s opening practice of the spring.
Summary: The exciting thing about Morgan, is entering last season he only had 13 practices with the team before the opening game. Now, he has an entire offseason.
“It’s been completely different, now, I can focus on telling the receivers where I want a certain route run, or at what depth, so I’m looking to build on last year,” said Morgan.
As for the QB2 job, while everyone says it’s an open competition, expect Kaylan Wiggins to have the edge due to his extra year of experience in the system.
True freshman Stone Norton is the highest-rated QB recruit in the program’s history, but he’ll be best served with a redshirt season.
Position Grade: A - Morgan is the real deal. If the offensive line can keep him clean, he’s one of the deadliest passers in FBS. One of his biggest attributes is his mental approach to the game.
Members of the coaching staff have noted that Morgan makes a majority of his decisions with the football pre-snap, based upon the coverage presented to him, and his ability to diagnose the defense ahead of time.
Being in his second year in offensive coordinator Rich Skrosky’s system will be huge. Skrosky’s balanced spread attack fits Morgan like a glove, and as a result, Morgan should be able to improve on last season, which saw him named C-USA Newcomer of the Year.
To his credit, he’s been very durable. Outside of a triceps injury that caused him to miss the bowl game, Morgan hasn’t missed a start in his career at Bowling Green or FIU due to injury.
Davis likes to get the QB2 reps, especially after FIU’s debacle in the 2018 Gasparilla Bowl. So, expect Lynum or Wiggins to get reps as games allow.
Expect Wiggins to eventually be the backup on opening night. His additional year in the system gives him a leg up on Lynum.
While it’s concerning that neither player has game experience, both are former three-star prospects, who can use their legs, similar to last year’s backup in current Wagner QB Christian Alexander.