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NSD: The Day After

For most of National Signing Day, the GPP took a tour of the local high schools where the newest Golden Panthers attend and here's what the 2008 FIU freshmen had to say about signing with FIU. . . .

Fiud_2 The Golden Panthers got 6 defensive players from Class 4A state champ Booker T. Washington. Here in the photo from left to right are 5 of them all wearing new FIU caps (from left to right): Winston Fraser, Tarvis Pullins, Johnathan Jackson, Franklin Brown and Kambriel Willis and BTW defensive coordinator Sheldon Hanks.

Jackson, who had 19 sacks this season and 3.5 sacks in the state title game, thinks the six Tornadoes defenders can have an immediate impact at FIU.

"We know FIU is a young program," Jackson said. "Following them somewhat last season, I know they had a lot of young guys on defense. So if we do what we're supposed to do, I don't see why we can't get on the field early in the season. We always competed against each other on defense at Booker T. that's how we pushed each other to get better. That's how we won a state title and allowing 3 points a game also helps."

Originally it was going to be just Willis, Fraser and Jackson going to FIU, but Brown spurned Rutgers and South Florida late Tuesday night to become a Golden Panther. Pullins and defensive back Rennie Carty decided to join their teammates as well.

"That was one of the biggest things I was hoping would happen," said Willis, of 5 other Booker T. teammates joining him at FIU. "It's been a real pleasure to play with these guys. Every day it was a race between us to see who would get to the quarterback first. You can tell the FIU fans to expect big things from our defense this season."

At Norland, newest FIU defensive back Emmanuel Souarin (second from left) and offensive lineman Kenneth White (far right), both Norfiu 1st team All-Dade players, gave a little advice and got a little advice regarding FIU.

Souarin watched the FIU secondary closely last season and this was his assessment: "In my first year I want to get on the field as soon as possible. They know I'm a talented DB and I can get all over the field. That was a problem last year, the secondary didn't have the speed that I have."

Souarin had a Florida and FAU hat along with an FIU hat in front of him before tossing the Gators and Owls caps to the floor and picking FIU.

"I see FIU as an upcoming program with a prospect of good talent," Souarin said. "Coach Cristobal is confident in us. He said he thinks we're gonna shock the nation."

White made the most of his visit to FIU by getting some good advice from sophomore quarterback Colt Anderson.

"I got a chance to talk to Colt," White said. "He said that college life isn't really that hard as long as you put your mind to your school life, athletic life and social life. He said you have to look at it like a pie Pie chart: 33 percent of each. Getting on the field has to be the goal, you can't start out second-stepping."

In the Miami Springs library, T.Y. Hilton had an FIU hat and a West Virginia hat and by now you know he chose to stay home and play for the Golden Panthers.

As late as Tuesday night, Hilton was thinking of going to Morgantown, W Va., but one reason he picked Tyh FIU was the same reason he went to high school at Miami Springs.

"When I first came to Springs, everybody was asking me why I chose Springs," Hilton said. "I could have gone to the 'West [Northwestern High] and played there. But I wanted to make an impact at my own school. Now I choose FIU over West Virginia. It's basically the same thing, I'm trying to impact a program. I want to make the same impact at FIU that I made at Springs."

Hilton, who is a guard on the hardwood, will also play hoops for FIU. God knows, FIU could use all the basketball help it can get right now.

Mc In case you didn't catch MC's NSD press conference on Panther Pass yesterday, here are some thoughts from the FIU coach on some of his newest players:

[Lake Gibson defensive end] James Jones: "One word comes to mind: explosion. We needed pressure on the quarterback. We signed arguably three of the best pass rushers, not only in the state, but in the country in James Jones, Kambriel Willis and Johnathan Jackson. We made a commitment to more athleticism, more speed and more pressure up front. These guys combined for about 70 sacks for the year."

Lowndes, Ga. running back Darriet Perry: "A rolling ball of butcher knives."

T.Y. Hilton: "Unquestionably one of the best players in the state of Florida. He's a guy that's been recruited nationally for a long time. When he touches the ball, absolute magic. He's a guy that a lot of people targeted as their franchise recruit. He stuck his foot in the ground and said I want to build this championship football program right here in my backyard."

On the relentless work it took to land a talented class: "You take a look at our staff each one of those guys probably had "No" said to them in terms of looking for a prom date at least two or three dozen Prm_2 times when they were in high school. They were not afraid to hear "No". What does that mean? We are not going to compromise our standards, because school A, B and C are recruiting a young man. . .If we believe in a young man, whether he has 100 offers or 0 offers we are going to go after that young man. We won some big time battles which is a testament of two things: number one: FIU and the direction of the program, and number two: the work ethic of our staff. They outworked everyone out there for these young men."

Can't get enough of FIU football? Spring practice begins on Saturday, March 8.


GPP Faithful, my apologies for not running an update thread of signings yesterday. It was quite a busy day from visiting the high schools in the morning and early afternoon, to MC's press conference at 3, to then writing the FIU NSD story and also got handed to write a UCF/FAMU/Bethune-Cookman NSD story as well with a 7 p.m. deadline on both and then had to cover the FIU hoops game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Hopefully, next NSD, I have only FIU football duties.


  • Back to the blog.....I guess Jim Morris, the canes baseball coach, showed what a classy guy he is (sarcasm here) during Monday's media day over there.

  • In case you missed it: Morris answered like a 1st-grader when told FIU coach Turtle Thomas wants to play the Hurricanes four times a season. Morris said: "Turtle, who?"; Morris then said: "Next question".

  • I relayed the incident to TT on Monday when I visited FIU baseball practice. TT just smiled and said: Smile_2 "Sounds like they're worried about us."

  • As far as what happened between the two coaches while they were on the same staff in 1999, only they know for sure and they are not talking about it. But speaking with Jerry Del Castillo, who was the Hurricanes baseball Spanish play-by-play broadcaster back in 1999 and is now FIU's play-by-play hombre, JDC says: "Morris and TT did not speak all season, all communication was done through then-pitching coach Lazer Collazo."

  • The two baseball games: April 2 at FIU and 23rd in Coral Gables are sure going to be interesting.

BamaGoldenBoy & FF II UU FIU: Welcome to the GPP.

I'll be taking another tour of the new stadium tommorrow and will have the latest on the "crown jewel" on the GPP soon enough.


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And there you have the difference in class between Turtle and Mr. Morris. Glad to see Turtle take the high road and not try to insult Morris when he heard of the comments.

Pete, great job on the FIU baseball write up. Nice to see that Turtle was took nothing for granted and went over every single detail, no matter how insignificant a drill may be.

So it takes you 2 days to finally update the GPP about NSD and when you do you bite off Manny's title? Wow

Not sure about what went on between TT and Morris, but your obsession about what and how he responds about a particular question speaks volumes. Morris doesn't like TT, not sure if that means he's classless for ignoring a question about somebody he doesn't like (thinks of Shaq and Kobe). Just mutual dislike I guess.

Great job Pete, as usual....the haters and nervous ones, with no arguments, attack...Thanks for the coverage..hopefully this kids will all qualify and wear the FIU colors....(Blue and Gold...)

PP, Baseball been very very good to me. LOVE IT, THE KING OF SPORTS IS HERE. Morris is all about self-image. He couldn't take the pressure TT brought. Remember that TT was Ron Fraser's boy and JM resented that. Morris is currently under extreme pressure by not having won the World Series since 2001. At UM this is how they measure success. He recently went through a real messy divorce plus he knows that there is a new sheriff in town.

Stay tuned

Great to hear your alive, Pete! It's nice to see these young men take a chance on an up-and-coming program and to try to make a name for themselves. Glad to see MC's busting his butt to get these kids and is not afraid to go head-to-head with the big-time programs in D-1.

Welcome to the FIU Family, men!

Does anyone have any idea what kind of schedule we are looking at for this season? I think I saw Iowa and Tulane....

great blog pete looking foward when i get back from orlando to reading the stadium blog. these kids are exciting and are goin to help FIU get its first winning season... if not this year the next year for sure


I've been searching for our 2008 schedule, as well, and have found nothing.

Just saw the UM Football schedule for '08...guess no FIU/UM brawl this year =(

FF II UU FIU - you're an idiot.

FIU's 2008 schedule will be released soon.

Here's what I know about it:

FIU opens at Kansas on Aug. 30, then plays at Iowa the following week.

There is a bye week the third week of the season and then the new stadium and home opener comes against South Florida on Sept. 20.

The following week FIU plays at Toledo.

Those are the 4 non-conference games next season.

The last 8 games are against Sun Belt teams.

When I know more about the last 8 games, I'll have it on here.

At long last, National Signing Day is over. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Now we can get back to sports that are actually being played or soon will be. (Crazy concept, huh?)

With that said... it's an interesting class. Especially all the Booker kids. I like MC's philosophy of recruiting winners (mostly) at the HS level. It doesn't necessarily mean much at the college level, but having the right mentality will go a long way towards wins. I fervently hope we have way more Antawn Barnes-types in this class than Tommy Kendrick-types.

I also gotta agree with most of you on Jim Morris' comments. It's one thing to not like a guy... but to give that kind of answer is petty. Especially when there's talk of cancelling a intra-city rivalry spanning nearly 30 years. And especially when you consider that FIU usually helps the 'Canes RPI-wise... certainly more than when they played the NY Tech's and Sacred Heart's. Why UM would even think of cancelling this series is beyond me, especially when you consider the changes to the season format. One month less and the same amount of games means it makes more sense for teams in the same region to get together and play more games. I hope sense eventually prevails there.


Congrats SR on beating the hottest team in the Sun Belt last night! However, I can't quite figure this team. We POUND New Orleans, beat MTSU then lose to the lesser teams in the Sun Belt, Robert Morris & Florida Gulf Coast University. Pretty soon they they'll call us the Schizo Golden Panthers!

FIVE SBC games left (3 @ home), we need to go 5-0!! Let Get It Done!


Nice to see Turtle taking the lead and booking games against top notch programs in the country. Playing FSU next year will definately be a nice welcome and challenge for the boys!

Seems like MC and RS have the same stratagy. Recruit winners and teammates!

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