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Talking More Recruiting with Troy and Junior

Five days until National Signing Day, but there's no need to wait to hear from two of FIU's offensive recruits: Daytona Beach Seabreeze quarterback Troy Dannehower and North Miami wide receiver Junior Mertile.

Troy_2 Dannehower -- who was NOT named after former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman even though the Cowboys are his favorite NFL team -- threw for 1,550 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, along with rushing for 537 yards Aik and 8 TDs. The soon-to-be Golden Panther, who has some pretty good initials (TD) for a football player, had a solid junior season as well. Dannehower, 6-2, 215 pounds, was named the Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 1,600 yards and rushing for 865 yards. TD graduates early from Seabreeze, but not early enough to enroll early at FIU.

GPP: Daytona Beach is not quite like Miami. How did you find your "new" home for the next four years when you took an official visit to FIU?

TD: What's great about FIU is that it's in Miami, but it's not in the middle of the city. There is a college atmosphere at FIU. Unlike Georgia Tech, which is located in the middle of Atlanta. FIU has its own area. That's good, because everything is accessible.

GPP: What did you like on your visit to FIU?

TD: That's a great stadium we're going to play in. It shows that FIU is moving in the right direction and the football facilities are going to be excellent. But what really made me want to play at FIU was the coaching staff. They are just like the coaching staff I had at Seabreeze. They are a younger coaching staff, about the same ages. They really made me feel at home and that's the type of coaching staff you enjoy playing for. It's the same deal.

Danne_2 GPP: Having spoken to some of the high school writers that covered you, they tell me the offense you ran at Seabreeze is very similar to the spread offense FIU installed last season. Tell us a little bit more about your high school offense.

TD: I don't know how similar it is, but at Seabreeze, I was in the shotgun 100 percent of the time and we had four wide receivers every down. But still we ran a pretty balanced offense. There were some design runs for me. I think I split the rushing carries with our running backs 40-60, with them carrying the ball about 60 percent of the time.

Junior Mertile is an All-Dade first team selection for the North Miami Pioneers. JM played all over the Jmm field in his senior season. He played receiver, running back, quarterback and defensive back. At FIU, he is expected to play receiver, but with the creativity FIU's offense showed in MC's first year, we may see JM all over the field. JM is a 6-0, 184-pounder, who is a dart with a 4.4 in the 40. He had 787 yards and 8 TDs. He also had 65 tackles and 2 interceptions.

GPP: You had offers from Mississippi State and Central Florida. Why did you commit to FIU?

JM: They're building a program to win more games. I saw they got a lot of offensive players last year and are going after a lot of defense this year. I like how the coaches are recruiting every position. They are entrusting us and the players already there to win more games.

GPP: What did you learn and like on your visit to FIU?

JM: Obviously the stadium is going to be great and so are the facilities. The coaching staff there knows what they're doing and what they are trying to build, a championship team. I really liked a lot how the classes are set at FIU and there a lot of places to eat too.

GPP: You played all over the field in high school. What are you looking to play at FIU?

JM: I'll play whereever they need me to play. I guess I'll start out by playing receiver, but the coaches might use me in different positions. I started at safety in 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Also played some quarterback when our quarterback got hurt and also played running back. I'll play whereever I can make big plays.


FI-UM Fan & FIU Fanatic: MC did not make any firings on his staff after year one. Yes, offensive coordinator James Coley's name has popped up at FSU for the tight ends/recruiting coordinator job. Coley's past LSU ties with future FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher are the reason for that. Coley made a huge impact last season with his innovative play calling. Sure would be a big loss for FIU if he heads north.

OC Panther: Of course, I would never forget about the lovely Golden Dazzlers -- they have been the bestFiudaz Fiudazz part of FIU hoops games this season. Ciao bellas!!

I got so wrapped up in the football season that I never asked SR to do a Q & A. But it does sound like a good idea. As  far as Golden goes, that is likely out for FIU's nickname for next season. Last I heard on the logo, there aren't any planned changes to the logo and the school colors will remain BLUE and GOLD.

FIU Fanatic: Winston Fraser is the latest Booker T. commit to FIU, and Jonathan Jackson appears headed this way as well, but hold on to your caballos because we got T-minus 5 days to NSD.

RabidPantherFan: The crowds are not good at FIU hoops games, but can you blame them? The Golden Panthers hoopsters have not given them any reason to show up this season. Only the Golden Dazzlers have. As far as the location of FIU stories in the Herald, I only write them. I can make suggestions, but unfortunately I don't have a say what page FIU's stories land on.

quijote: Thanks for the kind words. Maybe soon you'll be running on Calle Ocho celebrating an FIU Ft_2 baseball championship. Just do us all a favor and don't pull a Frank the Tank from "Old School".

esteban688: Welcome to the GPP. Good to hear you are a long time reader, first time poster. Thanks for the props on the blog. Much like FIU, our blog keeps growing and getting better with each passing day.

I forgot to post on the previous blog, so here's your GPP Official Countdown to Opening Day vs. USC at FIU: 21 days or three weeks.


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Great insight on those two recruits, Pete! Thanks for that update...I read a very valid question in another FIU board, and hopefully you can find out the correct answer. How many kids can FIU sign for scholarships this year?...I've seen that 25 is some kind of limit, but is it really? Also, with the limitations due to the APR and self mandated on NCAA violations...how many can..or will we award? Thanks in advance....

ya FIU fanatic i just signed onto that board read that question and it is a very good one especially with the sanctions fiu is to have, what does that mean for us? Pete once again thank you for the great blog and keeping us upto date w/ the new recruits. just for fun to speculate if it is 25, that gives us 4 more ships to give, i say PULLIN, JACKSON, SOUORIN or SWINTON, and TY HILTON. that would make a nice finish

Gotta respond to Senor RPF from the last blog post. He brought it strong. I respect that. :)

I don't know for a fact that his ties with Shakey was the reason Martin wasn't hired. But I do know, like you, that the school's admin has done its best to forget about the Shakey era.

I didn't know that Rouco was with Shakey at Miami High. Thanks for the info drop. But Rouco did have one advantage Martin didn't: he was also at FIU twice before... once with Marsh and the other time with Weltlich, I think. FIU knew him as more than just a Shakey assistant. That wouldn't have been the case with Martin.

I'm not saying Rouco was the better hire than Martin. Recuiting for a K-State is much different than for an FIU. Who's to say he would've been better than Sergio here? But your point is valid. Maybe FIU did screw up and get the wrong guy.

As for the recruiting... I think it's fair to say that FIU's ties to local players hasn't been the same since Shakey left. The rosters since then are proof. Everyone knows it was a bad, public and messy divorce. Everyone also knows that Shakey had lots of friends locally (as you mentioned). And Shakey's still involved in the HS scene, I think. You mean to tell me that doesn't play a factor still? I mean, it's not like SR doesn't know they play HS hoops here in Miami, y'know.

As for Raja and Carlos... both of them were tasting NBA success well before FIU retired their numbers. I think their numbers should've been retired sooner. Why it wasn't... well... who knows? I have my theory. I'll leave it at that.

Finally... as for the bad record of the past... sure, you can blame Rouco for it. It's fair. But I know from Marsh's tenure, at least, that the only players on those teams who were worth a damn were all Rouco recruits. The only exception was Taurance Johnson. You can't blame an assistant at the same level you can blame a head coach, bro. It's better, and fairer, to blame Rouco for the last 3-4 years rather than for the last 20 or whatever years. There's a big difference between being in the passenger seat and driving the car.

Damn, I think I just violated my "no more long posts" pledge to myself. Oh, well. :(

FIU has 25 scholarships to give out on Wednesday for National Signing Day.

Jeeez Troy, I love FIU but you really think we have a great college atmosphere? You obviously haven't been to Gainsville. lol

I guess its better than it was ten years ago when we didn't have any of the dorm towers on campus...fwiw.


What's up with dropping the Golden from the name? Why must we change everything up every 5 years? Don't know what was the problem with Golden Panthers but so long as they DO NOT change the colors then I guess it's acceptable.

This blog is great stuff!!! I haven't passed by the stadium lately, but it seems that it's being showcased to the recruits. Sure must look nice if "verbal" commits are talking about it.

Pete, I know the update for the stadium is next week. I read in a blog that HS games are scheduled at FIU Stadium this year(August 30th). Can you look into that? I would think the right way to inaugurate new stadium is with a FIU football game. Just my personal opinion. Regardless, I'll be there whoever is playing.



Let's make National Signing Day also National FIU alumn STREAKING DAY! If all of us around the country go streaking on that day at a syncronized time, that will get FIU some press. Maybe Pete can have a front page column! it's cold as hell in Colorado so I would prefer an afternoon time.

I loved the comment of "Frank the Tank"...."I love you Blue!!" Thanks for the answer Pete......Some might be recruited to be "grey shirt" or walk on, or are all these 'committed' slated to be offered a scholarship?

Unlike it may say in other places on the internet, the new FIU Stadium will open with your Golden Panthers hosting the South Florida Bulls on Sept. 20.

Those high school games that were erroneously posted to open the new FIU stadium will be played at Traz Powell Stadium in late August this year.

However, in 2009 those high school games in late August, which feature some of the nation's top high school teams, will then be played at FIU.

CJ, I don't think we can bring in the many DB's in our last 4 signees--we seem to be pretty stacked there now. We need more help on the offensive line, especially with Xavier Shannon leaving.

I'd like to see Johnathan Jackson, Jerome Swinton (a corner), Ty Hilton, and a stud offensive lineman as our last 4 signees.

Pete, thanks for verifying that stadium issue. Just seemed strange to me. 2009 is perfect for hosting top-notch HS football teams. I think that exposure can only be a plus.

Pete, thanks for the news on other FIU athletes that are making my alma mater and all the FIU fans proud. I don't know much about swiming, other than doggie paddle, but how does Trudi stats compare to the top olympic swimers?
4 days left to see who is coming to FIU

Has anyone had a chance to see any of the intrasquad games this weekend?

That was a great article on the stadium, FIU is in a great location and having all that parking from the Tamiami Park right next to the stadium. I can't wait to see the first game there on Sept 20.

WOW! Great article today. To open the paper to read about the WONDERFULL LOSS OF NEW ENGLAND and surprisingly see Pete's excellent article on FIU and its future, my NEW work week is off with a BANG!


pete did a bang up job with the article today. the most intriguing part was the mainstreet FIU idea that is actually really intrestting. i cant wait to see how it all pans out way to keep it up pete! if you can give more info on mainstreet that would be awesome

Pete, that was a great article. That FIU mainstreet is different. Personally, I think it's a great idea.

One thing though, did they allow you to go check the stands? Just wondering if they let you tour the stadium(whatever is done of it so far). I'm just curious, it would have been nice to get more pictures of stadium.


all we have right now in pictures is the turn. the east side of the stadium. would love to see picks from the top of the stadium to see the start of construction of the west endzone! looking forward to it as well as the close of NSD.

Great article today, Pete!! That Main Street FIU idea is terrific, plus the new "patio" area for recruits and VIP's in our stadium....Thanks...

so pete any new interviews w/ other recruits? the last 3 were so good gotta keep it goin man lol maybe after signing day

Nice to hear from Troy and Junior. I have noticed that the one thing all the players have in common in reference to why they chose FIU is not only the great new stadium and the promise of a future. They have all sid that most of all they like the coaches and the staff and that they seem to have their priorities set! Thats good to hear, for MC and co.

Main Street FIU sounds great and all but i cant imagine all that in that space... can't wait. I love progression.

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