Over 20 pro scouts were in attendance at Riccardo Silva Stadium for FIU’s pro day workouts early Monday morning. The event saw three members of the 2020 team go through drills along with several players from the 2019 class who didn’t get a chance to perform in front of scouts due to the cancellation of last year’s event.
Additionally, former Panthers Jonnu Smith, Christian Alexander and Wesley Carroll were on the field to assist with the event. Following the workouts, head coach Butch Davis and several players spoke with the media. Here are the notables.
- “This day is very important for those guys from 2019. It gives them a chance to showcase who they are and their athleticism, but in my opinion, the greatest thing you can put on your resume is the tape. Sage (Lewis) played a ton of football here for us — but today gives teams the chance to know exactly how tall he is, how fast he ran his forty and that can potentially get him a free agent deal.”
- On Spring Practices: “We’ve had eight great weeks of offseason conditioning with Coach (Andreu) Swasey whether it’s been running and lifting and working on burst and explosion. The first week of practice has been two days of acclimatization with guys in helmets and shorts followed by then two days in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) and our final day was full pads. The guys are really geeked up about showing who they are and what they can do to the new coaches.”
- On the Quarterbacks: “Having Bryn with the quarterbacks is excellent and he has the ability to showcase his knowledge of quarterback mechanics and how to study film. The (quarterbacks) really needed to some good days and then they needed days where they get whipped (in order to grow) and they didn’t have that last year which hurt their development. We’re rotating the guys in every single drill, whether it’s 7-on-7, team periods, blitz pickup, inside run — we want each of the guys to have those reps with the one’s, two’s and three’s.
- On Max Bortenschlager: “Last year he was coming off ankle surgery and was banged up. He’s significantly better and can move around much better. You can see that he’s growing and developing really well.
- On Kaylan Wiggins: “He’s probably had the best week of practice that he’s had since he’s been here at FIU. I think his confidence in the scheme and his maturity has grown tremendously. The throwing, learning the plays and audibling — things that a quarterback has to do — he’s gotten much better.”
- On Haden Carlson: “He got off to a very good start, but he missed the last practice because he’s tested positive (for COVID-19) and he won’t be back until probably a week or so from today.”
- “It’s a little bit surreal for this to be my final time at The Cage. It’s great to have the opportunity to have a pro day, especially with everything going on and the guys who didn’t get one last year.
- “Alex (McGough) has given me a ton of good advice. Just about keeping a cool head and that’s it’s just another day. It’s the same drills I’ve been doing, just with different people watching.
- “I did 20 on the bench, 28 vertical leap and a 8’6 broad jump.”
- “It’s been a grind getting the knee back together, but that’s been my prime focus since I went down. Just making sure that I’m fully healthy for this day. I’ve been training in Tampa with Yo Murphy since the season ended and I feel like my explosiveness is the best its been.”
- “It’s amazing to get back out to the cage one last time and the feeling brings back a lot of memories.
- “Everything out here today was really similar to the stuff I did out at the Tropical Bowl and Collegiate Bowl, except the bags and figure eights were a bit different. But the hurdles and change of direction drills were very similar and I’m glad all of the practice has paid off. I’m really happy with my broad jump (9’2). Coming in here one last time was really special because this is what you dream of when you come in as a freshman.”
- “It’s crazy, this was my first time being out here since I broke my ankle. So that in itself was really emotional and it was great to come here and walk off the right way and especially to do it with my guys (Tony) Gaiter and (Austin) Maloney. I’ve been training in Davie almost every day since I was cleared to run and I haven’t stopped waiting for that opportunity, especially with guys like Jerry Jeudy, Tua Tagovailoa and Dalvin Cook training there so it keeps me motivated.
- “Since everything ended, I’ve just been grinding and trying to keep in shape as best I can, but I also had to step up and take care of my responsibilities as a man, it’s been a grind to do both. I’ve been training one-on-one with a personal trainer and just trying to keep sharp and drills since the pandemic.
- “It’s been difficult at times because this was my first year since I’ve been playing football not to have the game. So it’s been a matter of grinding and staying positive.