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Q&A with ESPN recruiting guru Tom Luginbill

ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill took time out of his crazy week to chat with the GPP about FIU’s 2011 recruiting class.

What are your thoughts on FIU’s efforts this year?

 “I think [Mario Cristobal] has done a fantastic job. The thing is with the program, with the new facility and the fact there’s so many kids in their area, if you do a good job with evaluation, really out there grinding, you’re going to come up with some guys BCS-caliber tweeners that can really upgrade your roster. Of their 24 verbals, I’d say the top one-third are guys capable of winning the Sun Belt. The Giovani Francois, the Dominique Rhymes, the Corey Tindals.”

What’s it going to take for them to start making a play for the four and five-star guys?

“It’s interesting. You want make comparisons to South Florida, the leap that Central Florida has made. To me, the realist vision, for them to make that leap, is they’ve got to have successive title winning seasons. Consecutive 8, 9, 10-win seasons. If that happens, that leads to more resources, more funding, more scholarships and more funding, an upgrade in facilities. It’s a process. It’s not going to happen over night.

“I think what happens, is you can’t go 7-6, win the conference, and the next year not have a quality year. They need to have successive years. When you start getting into the eight and nine-win years, that’s different than 7-6. Are they going to be able to go get that four-star guys right away? Probably not. They need to hit on a couple of those quality players to make it big. It paints a picture. You only need one or two of them of a year. Then all of the sudden, in a stretch of five years, you’ve got a handful guys that are marquee guys. They end up selling your program.”


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wow, great analysis. I love it, keep it coming.

I agree with Tom. FIU in 3 - 5 years will have enough of those marque guys to seriously compete year in and year out for the Sunbelt title.

Panthers on the rise...

@Gold...I hope that in 3-5 years, we are competing for another conference's title and not the Sunbelt title....Just thinking big here!!!!

Luginbill is probably the best in the business on evaluating kids out of high school. Now what he says its true it takes time, but one thing that he usually says on ESPNU but not here is that you have to take risks to get to that next level.

I think we need to cool down on the conference change talk. If Troy, who has been the perennial powerhouse in the SunBelt hasn't been able to make the jump, why do you feel that we can? We can consider the next step when we win multiple consecutive championships, have 8-9 win seasons for a prolonged time, can prove our fans attend games and can win those non-conference powerhouse games. It takes time to build a rocket that can get to the moon.


I have to agree with you 100%.. I think we should stop talking about going to another conference because its not going to happen for at least another 6-8 years (maybe longer). The Sunbelt is a very good conference for FIU overall. Just because we won a Championship in Volleyball, Football, Baseball, etc that does not mean we are the Powerhouse of the Sunbelt. We tend to struggle in other sports and until most of our programs are winning titles I think the Sunbelt is a great conference. I personally competed in the Sunbelt and I can tell you it was damn hard to run against some of those international runners that WKU, and Little Rock brings in..

ONLY bad thing about being in the Sunbelt for us right now is that Geographically the conference is all over the place.. That becomes a money issue for the school and physically harder on your athletes with the extra travel.


There are a lot of moving parts going on in other conferences that can facilitate our jump to another conference. For example, the Big East is looking to expand and one of the names floating out there is UCF. Don’t you think that if UCF makes the jump to the Big East that Conference USA would like to add another team from Florida? Who better than us? Our Soccer team already plays in that conference and we will be bringing competing teams in every sport. Not same that C-USA is a lot better than the SunBelt, but it would be a step in the right direction….Just thinking big here!!!

I think we definitely have the talent on the team to win the conference again, and the ability to win a couple of our OOC games. We are bringing in some amazing talent, and I have a feeling the class will only get better. Between transfers, gray shirts, and high school commits we will probably have around 14-16 three-star commits (for those caught up in the star rankings), and a bevy of talented players. This is, top to bottom, our best class ever.

Just because you sucked at track or whatever you "competed" at doesn't mean the Sunbelt is a "great conference"!

Western Kentucky? Are you f*cking kidding me?

The Sunbelt is a joke of a conference and FIU has the potential to be so much more. They would lose every game they played in the Big East if they moved this year, but they would be competitive against the bottom half of the conference.

Unfortunately we're stuck in a chicken-egg type situation. If FIU were invited to a real conference, we would have instant recognition and wouldn't have to be scrounging for players that no one else is interested in anymore. But we're not going anywhere until we have some good seasons (and not Little Ceasars, 7-6 moral victory seasons).

Go Panthers!

Is it wednesday yet...

@FIU '12
Really dude you going to try and call out someone for competing in the sunbelt. The sunbelt is good for FIU right now. If FIU was to go another conference we would be competitive just would be a doormat for years. We would be physically outmatched for a while in a bigger conference. Florida is our pipeline so must recruit are going to be on the smallish fast tip. Reason for FIU not having better records in the sunbelt is just youth. Even our coaches are young. Don't know how to really beat someone until you do it the first time. This year was the first time. chill on the bashing, unless you can go compete in the sunbelt and do better then Gooch7.

Agree, there is no need for bashing. We are all here for the same reason, to see FIU succeed. Unless of course you are a UM fan and are only here to hate. I think I know who Gooch7 is and if it is who I think he is, he is a super nice person. I met him in Detroit and he just bleeds Blue and Gold. I just feel that with a better conference, come better athletes for all sports. Another conference will also bring better teams that fans actually want to go see. When we played Rutgers we had a packed house. So another conference will help in more ways than one.

For us to go to better conference, we need fans. We had winning record, won a bowl game, and are getting great recruits but we are not getting fans at our stadium. Once, we fill up that stadium every Saturday, our teams will be better and hopefully get an invited to better conference.

You guys who are saying the Sun Belt is just fine for us (gooch & cMira) are missing the big picture. The Sun Belt is made up of small demographic locations (Troy AL, Monroe LA, Boca Raton FL (LOL), Murfreesboro TN, etc.). Other than UNT in Denton TX (a sub' of Dallas), they're all in small markets.

Cable and t.v. have driven and will drive conference expansion. When the Big East gets around to expansion, look for UCF to get the invite (despite the kicking and screaming of USF). Do you think C-USA wants to lose Florida? Heck no. But guess whose building a new stadium up the road? Yeah, the Rat's Mouth. Wouldn't that be a kick in the teeth if FAU gets the invite because our stadium isn't C-USA worthy? Our demographic may over-ride Boca's; but it'd be a shame if it doesn't.

FIU 12

You are the pathetic people that all FIU fans hate.. You actually have the balls to talk about competing in a Div-1 program. Other then tic-tac-toe and jump rope during PE class you have probably not done anything competative in your pathetic life.. I never considered myself very good but if you need to know...
I was FIRST Team All-Confernce in Track, Academic All American in Cross and held the 16th fastest time in school history, so yeah I sucked!! You idiot..

O'Darris Thanks for the back-up on that. I realize former student athletes like your self is what makes FIU so special.. I still remember watching you play your butt off for that team (even when we had rough seasons).. Thanks for the memorys..

BTW WKU (for the idiot) has some of teh best facilities in the entire Sunbelt and has MANY good programs. They are the original Sunbelt team..


BTW thanks for all the updates from the new recruits that we are only 23hours away from getting.. Can't way for the Signing Party.. Hope to see all the good people that I met in Detriot.. Best part I don't have to cook dinner tomorrow.. LOL!


Yea, actually I didn't need to know that, I don't give two squirts of duck sh*t about track. And even though you don't need to know and nobody else cares, I actually was offered several tennis scholarships to D1 schools but decided not to sacrifice the time, which I know I'll need as a pre-med student.

But the point I was trying to make wasn't that your illustrious 16th best ever track rivalry with Western Kentucky is ridiculous, which it is, but about FIU's football team.

And to reiterate my point - FIU is going to suck hard for a few years when they finally join a real conference, but they could make that transition THIS YEAR and they would still be respectable.

The problem they have is that they can't get the bigger and more talented recruits they'll need until they're in a real conference, but without those players it's going to be years and years of winning the Sunbelt and losing to all of the out-of-conference teams before they get an invite.

It's an unfortunate catch-22.

Hey everyone, the possible recruit list will be update through out the day. I just added Hialeah running back Seymour to the list. It seems Seymour will not be picking FIU.

FIUFan - for as pathetic as FIU's attendance and TV viewing audience is, FAU's is just as bad.

Another catch-22 for you - FIU is a commuter school full of alumni who have lived in the area all their life and will continue living in the area after they graduate.

The problem is that area is Miami and those commuters are Miamians, and we are some of the worst sports fans in the country.

We're never going to attract non-alumni to come watch our games, we could win 5 national championships but a couple bad seasons in a row and we'd be looking at empty stands again.

What we need to do is sell our alumni on season tickets - and that's something that could make the difference between FAU and FIU getting an invite down the road.

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