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FIU Recruiting Prowl: The Defensive Front 7

The start of our recruiting look at your Golden Panthers begins with an area FIU lacked last season and that was the pass rush.

Before proceeding with the first blog in the Recruiting Prowl series, we must state the GPP disclaimer (the Jc GPP lawyers -- NO not CrazyCane, U24/7 or MIA/NY Josh -- recommended to place the disclaimer here): None of the recruits mentioned on the GPP have signed any letters of intent yet. Please take any verbalGator  committments at your own risk. Taking verbal committments from 18-year-olds, who may have trouble choosing which flavor of Gatorade to drink, too seriously may be hazardous to your health.

OK, glad we got that out of the way. Let's move on.

As of today, here's your OFFICIAL COUNTDOWN TO SIGNING DAY: 49 days (Feb. 4, 2009).

DEFENSIVE LINE

Throughout most of last season, the Golden Panthers played some solid D, but if you recall in blog posts over the 2008 season, the one part of the D we kept harping on was the lack of a pass rush. Part of that had to do with many of the FIU freshmen D-linemen not being big enough. The speed was there, but not the size.

Craw The Golden Panthers have assembled some pretty good talent and depth at D-Line in the 2 seasons since MC took over. Thus you don't see an emphasis on this position this off-season, but the Golden Panthers are still targeting it. Big JUCO DT Mark Crawford at 6-1, 305 and a 4.6, 40 is supposedly down to FIU and Kentucky, even though he has offers from all over the country. He is one of those JUCO guys that can sign as early as today and be at FIU in January.

Depending on what the plans are TE/DL Tourek Williams of Norland could also work here. You remember the last 2 Norland defenders FIU had turned out pretty well in El Monstruo and Alexander Bostic III. Of course, there are other D-Linemen recruits that have not been made known yet.

Fiuhelmet_4 Here are the D-Linemen FIU brings back: Ricky Booker, Curtis Bryant, Jonathan Jackson, James Jones, Reggie Jones, Jonas Murrell, Jonathan Nieves, Cody Pellicer, Andre Pound, Kasey Smith, Artis Warthen, Kambriel Willis, Donnell Wilson.

Fiuhelmet_2 Here are the D-Linemen FIU loses: Jonathan Betancourt, Daniel Chacreton, Quentin Newman, Jarvis Penerton, Armond Willis.

Carnac_2 2009 guesstimations: Getting a seasoned JUCOer like Crawford or other JUCOers that Twb may head toward FIU can only speed up the development of the FIU D-line. With a second season in the weight room look for Jackson (right, aqua shirt) Pellicer and Willis (right, suit) to get some size. RJones was pretty impressive in the one game he played at NT before getting hurt. Some guys who stood out on the scout D last season while redshirting were Pound and Smith. Still way too early to tell when JJones would come back from his knee injury. Interesting to see if Booker and CBryant can take that next step.

LINEBACKERS

The FIU LBs have some talent coming back, but could use more depth, plus some size.Kdil   Northwestern's Kenneth Dillard (right, blue jersey) will certainly push for immediate playing time. KD is fast, but at 190 might need to hit the weight room. Apopka LB Larvez Mars would be a great addition as well. For Mars services, FIU is up against teams from every BCS conference.

Fiuhelmet_5 Here are the LBs FIU brings back: Scott Bryant, Tyler Clawson, Aaron Davis, Winston Fraser, Toronto Smith, Mannie Wellington, Jarvis Wilson and we'll include Franklin Brown, who plays both LB and DB.

Fiuhelmet_7 Here are the LBs FIU loses: Matt Garris (retire), Ryan Martinez. Up in the air is Michael Dominguez, who was suspended for the 2008 season finale.

Carnac_3 2009 guesstimations: Don't be surprised to see Dillard become a starter if he has the Win same impact that fellow NW Bull - Anthony Gaitor had his freshman season. Having seen KD in a couple of games this season, can tell you he is the real deal. If Mars were to become a Panther, then you could see 2 frosh starters with El Oso next season. El Oso and Clawson will provide experience to FIU's young backers. The LB that I'm very eager to see line up is Fraser, who redshirted his frosh season with a hand injury. He could be the next dominant LB at FIU following in El Monstruo's steps. Davis, Wilson and Brown are playmakers and Little Canada already has the speed as Arkansas State found out the last 2 seasons, now with another season in the weight room maybe LC becomes Big Canada.

Coming next: Defensive backs and Kickers

Logo GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Gppaw_2 The Hilton Heave has gotten nearly 50 percent of the vote in our last poll question about your favorite moment of the 2008 FIU season.

That got my vote. Besides the way the play developed, what I also liked was the crowd reaction. When Goodbye first got the handoff from PM, a collective cheer came from the crowd. When Goodbye fumbled the ball, you heard a collective o-o-o-o-h-h-h and when Goodbye threw the Heave and everyone saw Junior standing alone at the 5 yard line, you good people at FIU Stadium went nuts.

FIU75: Pete, is it true the Howard Schnellenberg from FAU will be coaching the rest of the nation against Texas during the ALL STAR game on the 31st?

GPP: Yes it is. Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings will be coaching Texas.

Ultimate FIU Fan: Good luck to SR and the men's hoops in conference opener @ Arkansas State Thursday. Pete do we have a chance w/o our starters?

GPP: UFF, very unlikely, because ASU is much improved under former LSU coach Brady. On the bright side, you can pick up your WIN A GPP BLOG 2nd prize (2008 FIU football media guide) on Saturday at the FIU hoops game. Drop by the press table and I'll have it for you.

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our lb's are solid. one of our problems last season was the lack of a pass rush or any pressure whatsoever. if we got any pressure it was because a LB or corner was sent in. we need 2 nice ends to apply pressure and someone in the middle to get penetration and open holes for the LB's.

the game always starts at the line of scrimmage and you can never have enough lineman. Every year the top teams LOAD UP on lineman and i dont think its a secrect that if you want to win ball games you need to have a stout line on both sides of the ball

i think DT was our biggest hole (lol no pun intended) thats where every team racked up the running yards. we had a big Hole right in the middle of our line

I would like to shore up our DL first, along with OL...then we need to sign at least 2 running backs...maybe 3, I don't know.

I can't emphasize enough how HUGE picking up Crawford, Dillard & Mars would be.
Those 3 players are probably the best 3 defensive players on our board right now.

MC and the crew should go above and beyond to get Crawford on board. That guy is IMPRESSIVE, running a 4.6 at 300 pounds! I read he really enjoyed his visit to FIU. Lets make it happen!!

Mars & KD would be huge additions to our LB group. I agree with Pete in that they could come in & start right away.

Can't wait!!

Any chance Robert Marve will transfer to FIU? :)

FIU fan i seriously doubt marve would transfer to FIU.. he would be good in this system.. but i think he is more than likely headed back home to USF.. although it would be funny if he goes over to FIU.. wonder what the UM fans would have to say if that were to happen? but no i dont think he transfers to FIU

Nah, I don't think Marve is going anywhere. I wouldn't want him at FIU. Someone tell me the last time a UM QB threw 400 yds in a game?

Yes, yes, the defenses in the ACC are much tougher blah, blah...doesn't matter. McCall has more TDs and less interceptions than Marve.

FIUfantastic.. i know the # dont favor marve but if you have a chance to get a guy that broke tebow's records you SHOULD try and land the kid. but this is just talk to pass the time there is no way he lands in FIU

The ONLY good news about our men's hoops conference opener is that it's over! We get smoked by ASU. Asprilla played well he had at least 14 pts and 14 boards and looked very good. He is only a true freshman! Everyone else STUNK!! I noticed that there was no hustle in our team and then realized that the scholarship players ALL 5 of them, played nearly the entire game. WE ARE IN HUGE (I MEAN VERY HUGE) TROUBLE IF OUR INJURED GUYS DON'T COME BACK SOON!

We'll be lucky to win 7 games with this team. I hope I'm wrong.

Any truth to the rumor that former St Thomas Aquinas QB Wesley Carroll will be transferring to the FIU

We need to put more pressure on opposing team's quarter backs. Defensive Linemen

It was reported on the ESPNU ticker that Marve's father said he was not transferring. He will be back in UM next year.

If he wins out the QB battle next year look for JH to transfer to another BCS school

I hope his father is lying...every time Marve throws the ball, you have to hold your breath...Harris is a much better fit and IMO he has a little more potential than Marve. You might be opening up Pandora's Box when you guys talk about Marve transferring to FIU.

On recruting, I think FIU NEEDS to land Dillard and Times to make up for the losses of Neat, Mcburse, etc. I am afraid about losing Dillard, as I heard that the big schools are waiting for his test scores in order to offer him scholarships. Times is certainly a steal and he can play a lot of different positions for us if we are able to get him to come to FIU.

Thanks for the recruiting update, Pete. In one of your follow on blogs, can you mention how many scholarships FIU has to offer this year? Also, can you give any updates that you have on former FIU committs from the past two years: Bryan Mann, Shaquan Hicks, Jermaine Malcolm, Jecorey Quarterman, and Tarvis Pullins?

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