I knew Mario Cristobal flew into Atlanta last night. According to what former FIU commit Brett Sheehan, a Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill quarterback, Cristobal was in the Sheehan home last night.
Clearly, he didn't know he was about 12 hours from "former FIU head football coach" Mario Cristobal.
"Very puzzling," he said Wednesday afternoon by phone, his low, halfting tone of voice screaming of his surprise.
He ran through the summary of FIU football when he arrived -- coming off 0-12, an APR among the worst in the country, about to get slammed with a 30-scholarship punishment and go on five years of probation.
"In four or five years, we quickly put FIU on the map nationally," Cristobal said. "We gave FIU an identity. We went to two bowl games, won a conference title, beat a BCS opponent. The importance of getting into Conference USA was emphasized and we helped do that. It's obviously puzzling and shocking after a year when we had so many critical injuries at key spots and close losses."
Cristobal said he's already getting calls about other jobs. "Obviously people recognize what we've done as a program, one of the better stories over the past couple of years."
He didn't want to say much more. But anybody who knows Cristobal, who looks at his career, realizes that what kept him at FIU was the kids he recruited and that he's 305. He didn't want to move his family from here. And I do know that even as this season spun out, he didn't regret the decisions he made last December (Pitt) or February (Rutgers).
By the way, Carol City's Simeon Thomas, a 6-3 2013 commit that was part of what looked like an excellent haul of defensive back recruits, said on Twitter he didn't know if he was still coming to FIU.