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FIU Recruiting Prowl: Linebackers

This was probably FIU's most talented defensive position last season and quite possibly this season asToronto well.

Plenty of Panthers linebackers return, but FIU does lose two stalwart linebackers. Let's take a look at the 2010 LBs.

Before that, your OFFICIAL NATIONAL SIGNING DAY COUNTDOWN stands at: 16 DAYS.

LINEBACKERS

Despite a defense that had its rough games last season, the FIU linebackers for the most part held their own and other LBs emerged showing the promise that had plenty of you good people excited when they inked their LOI on signing day.

Another year of experience paid off last season for Aaron Davis (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), who really came on in 2009. One of AD's best games came against Louisiana on that Halloween noon scorcher of a game at FIU Stadium. AD had 9 tackles and 2 tackles for loss in the tight 20-17 FIU win. The following couple of weeks he put up 13 tackles against Middle Tennessee and then 13 more tackles against North Texas. AD finished 3rd on the team with 59 tackles.

Ad Unless Jarvis Wilson moves back to LB from the D-line under new DC Geoff Collins, then Toronto Smith (above, right, thanks AJH photo) will be the lone senior on the LB corps. Little Canada was having a solid 2009 season until hurting his knee. LC really took to the middle linebacker spot. His experience and leadership will be vital for what will be a young and relatively inexperienced LBs unit this coming season.

With a full healthy season, the thought here is that Winston Fraser can put up numbers similar to AD and maybe even Scott Bryant-type numbers and might be the best FIU LB. WF's size, instincts and quickness is what you want out of an LB. Hopefully, WF stays injury-free in 2010 to show his total potential.

The losses of seniors Bryant and Tyler Clawson to graduation will hurt. Those two LBs knew exactly how to play the position inside and out and provided tremendous help to the underclassmen LBs last season. 

The next wave of FIU LBs ready to take the next step this season are sophomores: Kenny Dillard, Pooh Bear Mars and Markeith Russell. With year 1 of college football under their belts expect to see more out of the trio this season.

One LB that FIU really missed in 2009 was Franklin Brown (right, thanks AJH photo), who will be a redshirt sophomore this season after missing all of last year with a groin injury. In 2008 during his freshman season, you good people saw what a playmaker FB is on D. Who could forget his game-clinching INT against Arkansas State? Once he's ready to go in 2010, FB adds another top defender to the Hickman FIU D.Fb

Since there is a greater need to build depth and size along the D-line and the fact that you can never have too many defensive backs in the Sun Belt, as of this post FIU has commitments from 2 LBs.

Tampa Bay Tech's Greg Hickman (6-1, 255) and Hollywood Hills LB Caleb Vincent (6-2, 225).

Hickman has all the tools to become one of the top playmakers on this D.

Fiuhelmet BACK in 2010: Franklin Brown, Aaron Davis, Kenny Dillard, Chris Edwards, Winston Fraser, Pooh Bear Mars, Markeith Russell, Toronto Smith.

Fiuhelmet GONE in 2010: Scott Bryant, Tyler Clawson

3cents $.03 for 2010: Another season and off-season for the underclassmen-heavy LB unit should help in 2010. Senior Toronto Smith and junior Aaron Davis have to ensure the younger LBs mature quickly for the Panthers. The FIU LBs have plenty of talent, but how much will a lack of experience hinder their progress. The LBs -- like the rest of the D -- will be learning a new defense this spring and into the fall. If they are healthy, keep an eye on Winston Fraser and Franklin Brown -- the Booker T. duo have the ability to be among the top LBs in the conference.

Aaapaw Next up on the FIU Recruiting Prowl: Defensive backs

Aaapaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG on Thursday as your Panthers basketball team returns home to face Arkansas State at 8 p.m. at the Bank.

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I would like to see them move Frank Brown to Strong Safety especially since they are loaded at the LB position. It would be like having a 4th LB on the field.

Because we will have a gaping hole at the safty position come next year.

I agree with blkpanther, Brown should be moved to safety. He has to get on the field either way. What a shame for losing a year of eligibility on Mars for his special teams work. He should have either played a ton at LB or never set foot on the field. And I hope Coach Collins can somehow save Kambriel Willis from transferring and convince him to come back and play LB at FIU where he should have been from the start. Markeith Russell is the guy I'm keeping my eye on next year--he seems to have alot of upside. I think Dillard will be all Sun Belt before his career is over.

Good to hear that the LB position is solid. Now we need beef upfront on the D-Line to make those LBs even better. Any JUCOs coming to the D-Line? Troy lives off these JUCO players and several may end up playing on Sundays!

Great story on a great guy! PM is the toughest & smartest player I've seen in a while. Good luck to you and thanks for wearing the blue & gold. Remember: "LET THEM KNOW WHEREVER YOU GO!", that you're a Golden Panther!

GO FIU!!!

Paul is the man, thanks for representing FIU so well!

A great JUCO player for the DL might not be a bad idea. The only problem with that is making sure the tranfer of schools is complete before the season starts. Otherwise we have a good player seating in the sidelines.. If we get the beef up front hten those LB can be amazing!

Another weakness this year might be the lack of depth we have in the Defensive Backs. We have very good starters but nothing behind them. In the Sunbelt you need at least 6 really good DB's..

Go FIU!!

Here's where we are keeping track of our 'known' commit's Ultimate: http://www.fiugoldenpanthers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=413&start=30

FIU Fanatic does a great job of keeping this list current.

You'll see 5 or 6 DL already on the list. Not sure how long it's going to take till they start contributing though.

Agreed that it was a shame Mars lost a year doing special teams work. If you don't think the guy is ready to play then put him in the weight room for a season and let him work with the practice squad to gain familiarity. Don't blow a year of eligibility.

Also we need to convince Kambriel to stay as he has the size to become a solid LB.

A couple of LB's would be nice this recruiting class, but I agree that we need a few more DB's, which we are getting, and more guys on the line. We are getting guys on the line though, and that is good.

On the Mars issue, They would have had no choice even if they wanted to redshirt him. Remember Little Canada got hurt with like 4 games left and Mars saw a lot of minutes at Backup Middle LB behind Aaron Davis.

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