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FIU Football: 2021 National Signing Day Recap

The Panthers closed out the 2021 signing period with 18 players.

After adding 14 players during December’s Early Signing Day period, FIU closed out its 2021 class after signing three high school recruits and a transfer player on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

The most notable addition was Miami Palmetto defensive tackle Savion Collins. The 6-4, 290-pound lineman is the third highest-rated high-school signee in the history of FIU football and had interest from multiple Power Five programs including Alabama, Miami and Florida.

“He’s a great get for this football program,” said Davis. “The difference between the seven and eight-win teams versus becoming a 10 or 11-win football team starts at the line of scrimmage - Savion is a player who we weren’t able to fully make our push until we had our defensive staff in place, but we’re glad we were able to get him.”

Three-star quarterback Grayson James was the first high-school player announced early Wednesday morning. The suburban Dallas native is ranked among the top-10 quarterbacks in the state of Texas and is the highest-rated signal-caller to sign with FIU in the program’s history.

“He (Grayson) has great intangibles and his work ethic is off the charts,” said Davis. “We feel that Grayson shares a lot of the characteristics that James Morgan and Alex McGough had.”

James threw for over 3,800 yards and 42 touchdowns as a senior for Duncanville and was an Elite 11 finalist in 2020.

Davis also announced that multiple transfers are expected to join the program during the summer.

“College football is almost like the NFL in terms of this process is a lot like free agency - we have four or five players that we know we’re going to get, but they won’t be here till Summer A or Summer B.”

Among the players who have made their transfers to FIU public are former UCF linebacker Eric Mitchell and ex-Texas State linebacker Hal Vinson.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Central Florida
Eric Mitchell was a standout for UCF during his time in Orlando.
Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell, a Miami native, logged 175 tackles and eight sacks during his three years as a starter for the Knights, before being parting ways with the program in November. Vinson played for current FIU defensive coordinator Everett Withers during Withers’ tenure as Texas State’s head coach and amassed over 150 tackles in five seasons as a Bobcat.

Texas State v Rutgers
Former Texas State linebacker Hal Vinson is making his way to FIU.
Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

After losing receivers Jeremiah Holloman and Xavier McGriff to the transfer portal, the Panthers added FCS All-American Tyrese Chambers as a transfer. The 6-1, 190-pound Baltimore native hauled in 50 catches for 811 yards and eight touchdowns during his season at Sacred Heart University in 2019.

“Almost every single catch that Tyrese makes - he catches with his hands and he has great run after catch ability,” said Davis. “You see a lot of kids in high school who run a limited amount of routes - one of the things about Tyrese is you’ve seen him in game situations run all the routes that you ask of a player.”

The Panthers recruiting class finishes ranked among the top-four classes in Conference USA, the fourth time Davis has achieved that mark in the five classes he’s signed at the helm of FIU, as the team heads into the start of spring practice in March.

Currently, FIU has signed 18 players and expects to add transfers with their remaining scholarships.

Here’s a look at the players added during Wednesday’s signing period.

Grayson James - Quarterback (Duncanville HS/Duncanville, TX)

247 Grade: Three stars

About James: James started his career at Plano’s John Paul II High School and threw for over 4,100 yards and 44 touchdowns as a junior while leading the team to the state finals. He transferred to Duncanville for his senior season and was one of three Dallas-area quarterbacks to place in the Elite-11 Finals.

Tyrese Chambers - Wide Receiver (Sacred Heart University/Baltimore, MD)

247 Grade: Three stars

About Chambers: The Baltimore native was a Jerry Rice Award finalist during his time at Sacred Heart, hauling in 50 catches for 811 yards and eight scores en route to being named an FCS All-American.

JD Gomez - Guard (Temple/Miami, FL)

247 Grade: Three stars

About Gomez: Gomez began his career at Temple and played in 12 games for the Owls in 2019 before choosing to enter the transfer portal.

“He’s played against really good and talented teams, plus he’s big, strong and powerful,” said Davis. “He’s athletic enough where you see him pull and trap and his versatility of being able to play on either side of the line is huge. He’s here now so he’ll go through offseason conditioning and practice.”

Jay Barry Jr. - Wide Receiver (Fairview HS/Denver, CO)

247 Grade: Not rated

About Barry Jr.: The son of former University of Washington standout Jay Barry Sr., the younger Barry committed to FIU in December, but the program wasn’t able to announce his signing until Wednesday’s period. He recorded 523 receiving yards and scored five touchdowns last season at Fairview.

Savion Collins - Defensive Tackle (Miami Palmetto HS/Miami, FL)

247 Grade: Both 3&4 Stars

About Collins: Prior to signing with FIU, Collins was rated as a four-star prospect by 247 Sports, but his composite ranking was lowered to three-stars following his commitment. He was committed to Miami but de-committed in early-December. Collins becomes the third-highest signee out of high school in the history of FIU’s program.