That basketball school known as FIU, has also got an emerging football team so let's continue our camp preview less than 48 hours from the opening of Panthers camp.
Nine players and only 3 starting spots, but with the kind of talent at this position it's a good bet we'll see a lot of these guys on the field this season.
At the Will, we find Big Ontario Smith (left, sacking Arkansas State QB Corey Leonard, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), Franklin Brown (right, thanks AJH photo) and Kenny Dillard. All three are playmakers as Arkansas State can attest when it comes to BOS and FB.
In the last 2 games against the Red Wolves, BOS has 4 sacks and 14 tackles. FB recorded the game-ending INT against ASU last season after the Hilton Heave. BOS is completely healthy from the foot injury he had last season and showed it during the summer. FB also had a terrific summer and should benefit from having a season of college football under his belt.
KD was the Defensive Player of the Year last season in Miami-Dade County while at Northwestern High. Yes, I know we're not in high school anymore, Dorothy, but high school ball in the 305 is just about as good as it gets and KD played at the highest level (6A) and for one of the best if not the best high school team down here.
Middle linebacker features Aaron Davis, Pooh Bear Mars and Tyler Clawson. AD has really become a vocal leader out there among the LBs and his play has backed it up. At 6-1 and almost 250, AD has the size the dominate the middle.
You all know about PBM and what he can do by watching the highlight film that has been on this blog before. And recently, you read about his weight room exploits here (515 squat) for a 5-10, 220-pound LB. PBM should have an impact right from the start at FIU. TC, a senior, brings plenty of experience to the young LB pups. TC finished 6th on the team in tackles last season and started every game.
Over at the Sam, Scott Bryant (left, thanks AJH photo) returns for his senior season and tries to lead the team in tackles for the third straight season. It's going to be a little tougher for SB to take the team's tackle title considering the improved talent at LB.
With him at the Sam, SB will have to fend off redshirt freshman Winston Fraser, who is 100 percent ready after his hand injury last season. Remember, WF was the state championship game MVP for Booker T. and yes, again, we're not in high school anymore, but BTW plays the same caliber of football as NW down here.
Freshman Markeith Russell is also on the strong side LB. According to strength coach Rod Moore, MR had one of the best summers in the weight room along with Wayne Times.
We'll wrap up the camp preview on Sunday with the defensive backs and the Top 5 position battles to watch during camp.
In case you missed it in Saturday's MH: FIU will have an open scrimmage on August 22 (a Saturday) at 10 a.m. that will also be select-a-seat day at FIU Stadium along with having tours of the new fieldhouse.
The FIU Alumni will have their Panther Preview two days before the scrimmage on August 20 at 6 p.m. where you can participate in a Q&A session with MC and tour the fieldhouse. **If I'm missing any details on this, then post them on here FIU Alumni??
CarolinaGoldenPanther: Btw, Pete, any news on the finalized times for all of this years games? I was looking at the four letter's website today and it seems that half of this years gametimes still aren't finalized, including the Rutgers game. What is the ETA for these to be finalized?
PP: Four FIU home games, with the exception of the Louisiana game on Oct. 31 (12 noon), are at 7 p.m. The road games times should be done by the end of August. The reason they are still TBA is because of the away team's TV schedule and whether or not it is on TV in that team's TV market. The opener at Alabama is at 7 p.m.
Quijote: Pete, HELP! Kind of off topic, but hoping you can help. US Soccer named its rotation for their upcoming qualifier at Mexico. The AP release and US Soccer release state that the US Soccer team will be gathering in Miami on Sunday before heading to Stadium Azteca. Any word on them showing up at FIU stadium on Sunday for practice?!
PP: U.S. Soccer is in Miami for a couple of days, but they are not practicing at FIU Stadium.
Who is your breakthrough linebacker this season?