Playing in a conference where the majority of teams employ the spread offense, this position (including safeties) might be one of the more valuable positions during recruiting season for Sun Belt teams.
So to no surprise your Panthers are recruiting some athletic, quick players for the secondary. Among the five commits, three of them make up the All-Miami-Dade County high school secondary.
Before we roam the secondary with your Panthers, your OFFICIAL NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COUNTDOWN stands at: 12 DAYS
Like most of the FIU defense last season, the play of the DBs was spotty whether it was due to injuries or just not tight enough coverage the Panthers DBs have to improve their play in 2010.
When you look at the DBs it all starts with senior-to-be Anthony Gaitor (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), who was limited all last season with a nagging ankle injury. Gaitor is the anchor of the secondary and if he's healthy you can expect big things out of him in his final season in the blue and gold.
Outside of Dez Johnson, who is expected to receive a medical redshirt for last season, Gaitor will be the only senior DB.
Johnson would be expected to nail down the corner job opposite Gaitor, but he will have plenty of competition come spring practice and into fall camp.
Sophomores Derreck Jones and Emmanuel Souarin came on toward the end of last season and could have something to say about their playing time this coming season.
UCF transfer Corey Ammons was a highly-touted DB coming out of the same high school as FIU safety Terrance Taylor. Ammons could be one of the favorites to win a starting job come the season opener against a Sun Belt opponent still to be determined.
Jarrell McGee (right, thanks AJH photo) was a heralded DB at North Dakota College, but was slowed by injury last season. He is expected to figure into some playing time.
One darkhorse candidate to see increased snaps this coming season might be Jose Cheseborough. The walk-on from Edward Waters opened some eyes while working with the scout team D last season and made some plays in the scout bowl last month.
All the returning DBs will be pressed by a very talented trio of FIU recruits. (From left to right in the photos) Northwestern's Khambrel McGee, Killian's Richard Leonard and LaSalle's Sam Miller were among the top DBs in South Florida high school football this past season and could have an immediate impact at FIU in about 7 months when fall camp starts.
The safety positions will also be interesting to watch come spring practice. The Panthers bring back sophomore Jonathan Cyprien (right), who finished second on the team in tackles and had a solid freshman season.
Ash Parker is a senior this season after sustaining his second season-ending injury in as many years at Alabama last September. AP's experience and ability can definitely help what will be a very young secondary.
Kreg Brown is also back and Chuck Grace should be ready to go after missing time last season with injury.
Taylor showed flashes of his talent last season while redshirting and will challenge for a starting spot this season. Cain Elliott also redshirted last season and his 6-2 frame is made to play safety.
Miami Springs' Randy Williams and Boca Raton's Justin Halley are two safeties commited to FIU. Both have good size with Williams at 6-1 and Halley at 6-2.
BACK IN 2010: Kreg Brown, Jose Cheseborough, Jonathan Cyprien, Cain Elliott, Anthony Gaitor, Chuck Grace, Dez Johnson, Derreck Jones, Jarrell McGee, Ash Parker, Emmanuel Souarin, Terrance Taylor.
GONE IN 2010: O'Darris D'Haiti, Peter Riley, Jeremiah Weatherspoon.
$.03 IN 2010: As much as the FIU D-line, the Panthers secondary will help determine how much this defense can improve. One area that the secondary certainly has to improve on from last season is their tackling. There were a lot of arm tackles last season that opponents easily broke. You have to like the athleticism of this group. The incoming DBs might be the best recruit group for an FIU defensive backfield in the 8-year history of the program. There will be size and speed in the FIU defensive backfield in 2010.
Take to the polls in our 2 DB/Safety questions below the Pawse
Next up on the FIU Recruiting Prowl: Offensive line.
Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG of the FIU/UALR game on Saturday night from the Bank. Blogging at 7:56 p.m. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.
blkpanther: The FIU forward commit you were asking me about during the LIVE HOOPS BLOG on Thursday night is 6- 10 power forward Yvan Ngirabakunzi (right), who is currently a junior at Piney Woods High in Mississippi. Yvan is ranked as the No. 40 power forward in the nation for 2011.
Gooch7: PETE: Any Babeball news before the season kicks off?
PP: Golden Dazzlers news is always on the GPP. Like the new outfits they displayed during halftime of Thursday's basketball game. The ladies wore colorful short dresses during their halftime performance. On the left (thanks AJH photo), is their outfits for halftime of the Shula Bowl last month.
As far as FIU baseball, I'll be visiting the Panthers practices as soon as we get through National Signing Day. You can expect some FIU baseball blogs on here after Feb. 3.
Crazy Cane: Expect a rough season. Turtle has only really had 1 full year to recruit. The players are young. Give it time. UM is scared to play FIU. If only some of the signees would have come to campus rather than go to MLB. etc. etc. etc. Pete, aside from that, anything else?
PP: The season will depend on how the No. 2 & 3 spots in the starting rotation develop among Logan Dodds, R.J. Fondon and Corey Polizzano. FIU also has to field better this season. Expect FIU to score some runs and hit well.
Turtle guided FIU to the largest win improvement from one season to another last season in the 37-year history of the FIU baseball program. The Panthers will field a team of 7 freshmen, 13 sophomores, 6 juniors and 6 seniors this season. So more than half of the team is comprised of underclassmen.
The team across town still does not want to play FIU in any of the 3 major sports -- although evenutally they won't be able to avoid FIU in an NCAA baseball regional. We'll have to wait and see on the two No. 1-rated players from the U.S. (Manny Machado) and Canada (Kellin Deglan) that signed with FIU. Will have more for you CC when I get to the FIU diamond next month.
Jorge Suarez: Pete, we're waiting for that interview with the new OC. Do you have a timeline on it yet? Do you expect any JUCOs to sign this year? Early signing period passed and we didn't get anyone in here. Feed the hungry pete! Thank you
PP: Will have new OC Scott Satterfield on here soon. No timeline, but hopefully after this coming week. This coming week is a little hectic with the Herald's recruiting series starting. I am down to write stories on FIU (Monday), Florida Atlantic (Tuesday) and Central Florida and South Florida (Wednesday) -- don't ask me why FAU, UCF and USF. They're paying me for it. FIU is recruiting some JUCOs. Will have some more info on that when it happens. You will be fed.