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Verbal commitment breakdown

(Like I wrote in the headline, VERBAL COMMITMENT breakdown, this post is intended to give a little background information on some of the commitments FIU has already received. I plan on having recruiting updates nearly every day leading to Feb. 2. Please comment on the bottom if you have trouble playing any of the videos.)

From what is known so far, FIU has about 16 verbal commitments for next season, not including the two junior college transfers that have already signed national letters of intent, Tevin Blanchard and Jordan Hunt. (There are a few discrepancies among the recruiting sites).

Roughly, that includes three quarterbacks, four receivers, two tight ends, a running back, two safeties, three line backers, a corner back, an offensive lineman and a defensive end.

FIU is losing 16 players to graduation (8 starters) and will be looking for help in several key spots:

Defensive backfield

FIU will probably take the biggest hit in the defensive backfield, losing Ash Parker and Anthony Gaitor.  It was nice to see Parker playing again after enduring such bad luck. Parker made some big plays and had some monster hits this season. Anthony Gaitor is a special player that will be hard for FIU to replace. There is a good chance Gaitor will be playing on Sundays in the future. 

The Panthers will also be losing Kreg Brown, Marquis Rolle and Dezariah Johnson. The Panthers have a ton of defensive backs on the roster, but like I said before, losing a player of Gaitor's caliber will be tough. The defense was much improved last year but at times seemed susceptible to big plays through the air.

FIU has gotten verbal commitments from Bay Senior corner back T.J. Lowder (5-11, 175.) Lowder played both ways this season, taking snaps at receiver and DB. Lowder's offensive highlights below show he is a soild athlete.

Lowder is considered a a two-star recruit, that will add more depth.

Expected to join Lowder, are safeties Luis Rosado from Gainsville and Tevin Blanchard from Itawamba.

Rosado (6-2, 215) is listed as a safety, but has played some at line backer. There is a good chance Rosado will be a line backer in college. Rosado was selected as the Class 2A-5A defensive player of the year by the Gainsville Sun (as a line backer).

Blanchard is a junior college transfer that has already signed a national letter of intent and will take part in spring practice. Blanchard had two picks and 9 break ups last season.

I expect Blanchad will be getting some playing time early in 2011.

Offensive line

So far, FIU has landed only one offensive lineman, Richie Reay from Tampa Robinson. Like many of you have commented, the offensive line will need some help after losing cornerstone Brad Serini and big Cedrick Mack. It's going to be interesting if O-line coach Alex Mirabal will be able to duplicate the success the Panthers had last year without Serini. One thing Mirabal has in his favor is that FIU has some solid o-linemen returning that should have a big impact.

(video below on how Reay was offered a scholarship to FIU)

FIU fans are just going to have to wait till NSD to find out what progress has been made on the offensive line. Herald recruiting guru Larry Blustein had Northwestern's Everett Slocumb as a possible commitment but that seems up in the air now.

Running backs, quarterbacks and receivers

For the most part, FIU already has a starting QB, three really talented running backs that can be used differently in certain situations and probably the best WR core in the Sun Belt. Could the Panthers use more help at the skill positions?

Of course they could.

FIU landed South Carolina signal caller Loranzo Hammonds earlier this year, joining Dylan Warner from Oklahoma.

Hammonds is a duel-threat QB that can hurt you equally with his arm and his legs. Hammonds ran for over 600 yards and 14 TDs. Passing, Hammonds had 2,446 yards and 21 TDs. Hammonds was named the Augusta Chronicle's 2010 South Carolina football player of the year. 

According to the Chronicle, one of Hammonds main reasons for coming to FIU, is that coaches have promised him a chance to compete for the starting job right away.

I think it is still a little early to tell wether or not Carroll will still have the starting job next season. Hammonds seems like a solid fit for Cristobal's spread offense. (Hammonds' video below)

Line backers

The Panthers will need to do some work to replace Toronto Smith and Jarvis Wilson. Both players were key to the 2010 season, with Wilson leading the team with 9.5 sacks. The Panthers are fortunate to have Pooh Bear, Aaron Davis, Winston Fraser and Franklin Brown all back. Pooh Bear should be fully recovered from his broken ankle and could be a big part of the defense.

The Panthers have three line backer commitments, with Northwestern's Lyndon Edwards and Demetrius Allen in the mix.

Allen had a monster senior season, with over 100 tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles. (These stats are from his highlight video, so they might be a little inflated.)

There is still some question if Allen is still verbally committed to FIU. Allen would be a big help to the LB core. Reportedly, Allen seems to leaning towards Western Michigan.

 

Justin

 

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Um, just one question. Um where is the possible commitment?

@Lemus, not sure what you mean.

I mean I thought your article was going to tell about a possible commitment story of someone committing to FIU. By any chance do you know anything on Herve Coby, Geovanni Francois, Dwight Jackson? Anybody?

From what I can tell, Coby and Jackson seem to be out of the mix. All three have a bunch of offers.
Most of these kids want the attention on national signing day and won't give up there answers.

I'll get back to you tomorrow on Francois.

Thanks, by any chance could you also get information on Jhyree Harris (ATH.

@Lemus, if FIU can land any of those kids, it would be a big boost. Still trying to find out if Corey Tindal picks FIU.

Jhyree Harris is listed as a ATH but is quarterback through and through. This is one of the reasons it so hard hard trying to figure out what is going on in these kid's head. FIU already recruited two QBs, not sure if they could offer a scholarship to one more.

True
At the same time, but I think that FIU needs to be more ambitious and shouldn't just accept an okay recruiting class and call that "the best recruiting class". Where is the "SWAGGER"?

You are going to have to wait to NSD. Like I said before, most of the really good players want all the attention on that day. No way they spill the beans early. I have faith in what Cristobal has said. If he says this is the best recruiting class he's had, I'd take that to the bank. Problem is, this is a fluid situation that is constantly shifting. There really is no telling what will happen till the kid signs his name on the line.
Just like with T.Y., no one expected he would go to FIU. But he did.

Ok I'll take your word.
Hmmm with Geoff Collins gone I think there might be downfall to a couple kids that considered FIU. Hmm I think it is highly important that FIU gets their new (and the right) DC.
By any chance do you have any names for the DC position?

Actually three Qb's. FIU recently signed former Missouri QB Blaine Dalton. In 2009 he was ranked the #18 Qb in the nation and from what ive read he was going to compete with Blaine Gabbert on in his freshman year before getting into trouble with authorities. Also, Richard Leonard is also eligible now and will be at FIU for spring practice.

Also Allen is not a commitment to FIU either, supposedly Western Michigan leads for him, has something changed in this regard?

Jcalex, still not 100 percent sure on Allen.

I give a lot of credit to Western Michigan recruiting in South Florida. A few years back, they cleaned house at North Miami Beach. From what I've been told, they have a pipeline to South Florida.

great write up Justin

Justin, you missed the part on Aaron Davis not on the team anylonger.

@Chiapanthers, they still have him on the roster.

good $hit justin

Justin,

Great job!! It gives us a little better idea of what we might be getting i the next 2 weeks..

I personally think 3 QB's is a BIG mistake.. I thought picking up 1 really good QB would have been enough since we have a very good QB waiting to play and he is ONLY a sophomore. I was expecting more DB's and way more OL and DL.. I hope things change a little in the next 2 weeks. I also hope we pick up at least 2 or 3 guys from the Top 25 Best Dade Players.. I know its hard to get those guys because everyone is coming down to pick them up but Cristobal and Staff is great at recruiting.

Go FIU

Aaron Davis was dismissed from the team a month before the bowl game and did not appear in the last 3 games of the year....

Time for Greg Hickman to step up and get his body right. With some cardio work and rigourous lifting this off-season he can an absolute 1 man wrecking crew at 6'1"/255lbs.

Well done, Justin. Keep it up.

Nice...Thanks for the info Justin.

You guys are 100 percent right on Davis. Completely forgot. The school still lists him on the roster, though.

Richard Leonard joining the team this year may be the best addition for FIU. This kid has tremendous speed and is a great corner prospect. I can see him picking up with Gaitor left off. He's also an explosive kick returner.

What's going on with Jake Medlock? How's his shoulder and does he have a chance to challenge Wesley Carroll for the starting QB job?

Great article Justin! Thanks for the info.

This is a good article, thank you Justin

thanks for the 411 justin.

this richie raey kid is an interesting story...

Is it just me or is someone else freaking out about having only ONE OL committed and only TWO DB's.. I was expecting at least 4 of each! Cristobal has his first complete recruiting class and that should makes things easier for him to pick-up guys that in the past he would have overlooked. I have a feeling we will have a very good idea of who said "Yes" and who said "No" to FIU by the end of the week.. Keep the daily updates coming!

Go FIU!

I wouldn't push the panic button yet Gooch, there are still 2 weeks till signing day and you know every single coach is out picking guys up. I have a feeling that we will fill what ever openings we have with some Junco Players. With that being said, the most important positions of need have to be OL and DL. I want to see at least 6 OL/DL prospects that have about 250 - 300 LBS on them

Damn, you're a writer - learn when to use "there" and "their"!

And the word is "background", not "back round". Is English your second language?

Hate.

Gooch - stop "feeling" like you're going to know anything in two days, or by the end of the week, or whenever.

You won't know anything until everyone else does on signing day, Feb. 2nd.

More hate.

Buc nasty -

You also forgot "Intendid" - LMAO.

@Buc nasty, @inncity, for as much as you guys don't like me, I appreciate you always coming back and giving me more hits. Thanks.

@ Justin Azpiazu, you're doing a good job bro keep it up. These guys that go on the internet to talk trash about others have no class and are only ridiculing themselves.

Good write-up, Justin. Keep it coming!

Thanks guys

Excuse me....but no one is talking trash. I am just pointing out that as a "matter of fact" spelling might seem to be a pretty important aspect of "professional" journalism...

But then again, it is the Miami Herald - which is historically ranked at the bottom of the newspaper business for journalistic contributions and especially reporting integrity.

***It was not directed at you Justin, actually did not even occur to me who wrote this update until you commented. Just some advice, if you want to find success in this business - ACT AS IF...."You are the Sports Editor" or "The Publisher.." do those folks tolerate grammatical or spelling errors ? I can guarantee you that the NY Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post don't tolerate it.

Frankly, I don't care - it's up to you. But I'm willing to bet you'll consider using a grammar and spell check in the future after reading this.

I'll continue to pray for this lost generation.

Honestly, I'm just glad so many of you have been commenting. Keep it up...I'm planning on having a bunch of posts this week. Tomorrow, women's basketball live blog and report. Thursday men's basketball live blog, story and report. Plus, recruiting scattered in between.

Outstanding.

Looks to me like a bunch of cut and paste. Seems the Herald et. al. have been locked off the FIU campus.

Couple of things Justin (if you want to keep this gig). 1.) Go and study Manny's blog. 2.) Make friends with Manny so he can mentor you on getting ahead of these stories. 3.) grovel to PG, IT, TT and MC and apologize for all the negative reporting this paper has done over the decades.

Otherwise, Fanatic and others are going to be your only source for material and why do we need you if we've got fiugoldenpanthers.com

Amen, FIUFan.

Maybe Fanatic and the other reporters at fiugoldenpanthers.com could apply for a job at the herald.

if justin is looking for manny, he is with his heart in texas.

what an arroz con mango this blog has turned into.

actually if they wanted to improve this blog they would follow pete's blog "the prowl" at fiusports.com

I wish pete could talk about players arriving at FIU and recruiting...that's the only thing keeping this herald blog on life support the fact that pete can't blog about those topics.

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