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13 posts from May 2013

May 30, 2013

Brown leaving town?

Hearing that sophomore defensive lineman Fadol Brown, who had four sacks and a fumble recovery in the spring scrimmage, is going to transfer. Itawamba Community College in Mississippi could be his landing spot.

I was told months ago, right after Mario Cristobal's firing, that Brown wanted to transfer. But Brown stuck it out through the spring and looked like one of the possible bright spots for FIU going into their first Conference USA season.  

May 21, 2013

Coley, Garcia honored by Sun Belt

There really isn't much left to say about women's basketball star guard Jerica Coley that hasn't been said. Just watch her keep on keepin' on and pass the hardware.

Tuesday, the Sun Belt did so in naming two-time honorable mention All-America the Sun Belt's 2012-13 Female Student-Athlete of the Year.

Coley led the nation in scoring while also keeping up a 3.34 GPA as a dietetics and nutrition major. And also just being an all-around good person and teammate with one year left at FIU.


Catcher Aramis Garcia made First Team All-Sun Belt, the only FIU player to make first or second team all-conference.

And, because I'm, technically, on vacation...



May 18, 2013

Sources: bad news for Coleman, Perine, Jasper

An FBS football source said academic issues have ended senior wide receiver Glenn Coleman's career at FIU.

I'd been hearing that Coleman barely got himself eligible last season, during which he rebounded from a slow start to average 17.5 yards per catch on 13 receptions. He and senior Willis Wright are as talented a wide receiver duo as you'll find outside of the BCS automatic qualifier conferences -- and better than a few duos there, too -- but didn't start to really get it together until midway through last season (also, FIU didn't do enough to get either the ball earlier in their careers).

When I asked to speak to someone in the football program about the academic status of Coleman and several others, I was told university employees are prohibited from commenting on individual academic situations because of federal student privacy laws.

A week later, I heard a starting defensive player and an offensive skill position player might not be academically ineligible for just the first four games, but the entire season. And, the latter wasn't Coleman, who has removed "Florida International" from his Twitter homepage.

Also, an FBS football source says FIU has denied redshirt sophomore defensive end Denzell Perine's request to transfer to South Alabama and the denial was upheld on appeal. Perine's from Mobile, where South Alabama is located, and cited a family member's ill health as the reason he wanted to be in his hometown.

Another source close to FIU says the school denied sophomore wide receiver DeAndre Jasper's request to transfer to Appalachian State. App State's where former FIU wide receivers coach Frank Ponce landed as the quarterbacks coach.



May 17, 2013

This time, it's personnel

While Western Kentucky's Bobby Petrino all but dropped a blizzard of scholarship offers from a helicopter over Southern Broward, FIU got to work putting in face time and offers around the state.

Tampa Alonso running back Ish Witter, 5-8, 190, has and FIU offer, but 10 others also including Louisville and Missouri.


FIU's also sniffing around quarterback Jacob Kaiser out of St. Joseph (Mo.) Central High, a three-star recruit (CORRECTION: Kaiser isn't rated by ESPN or Rivals. I'd had another player slotted in here I'd heard, erroneously, FIU was recruiting and he was a three-star guy.)


Two-star defensive tackle Keiwan Jones from Dunnellon High got an offer from FIU.



Men's basketball coach Anthony Evans said "none that I know of" when I asked him Thursday if he saw any more players transferring out of the program. Guard Deric Hill's headed for Barry and Malik Smith's following former coach Richard Pitino to Minnesota.

I asked Evans if there was consideration given to offering Hill, a walk-on who was the Die Hard battery in FIU's defense, a scholarship. Evans said he was going to wait until grades came out at the end of summer school, but Hill asked for his release.

With two scholarships left for next season, Evans remains unsure whether to use them or holster them for 2014. He didn't mention the probable postseason ban, but it's an obvious element. Unless there's a player who gives you the shivers, you want him so badly, why not get past whatever treading water will be done next season before using all the aresenal at your command. 

"If I hold for 2014, I'll have a larger class and I can build a foundation fo what I want this program to be," Evans said.


Aramis Garcia is one of the 15 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the "most deserving Division I catcher nominated by his school." Finalists will be announced June 4.


May 16, 2013

Rupert Bryan signs with the Dolphins

Like Elaine Benes, the Dolphins have a need, see something they like and are thinking conversion.

Rupert Bryan started 43 games at right tackle for FIU. Now down about 30 pounds to 250, according to the Dolphins, Bryan's been signed as an undrafted free agent to play fullback. Bryan lined up at fullback for a play last season and scored against FAU in FIU's Shula Bowl win on a 5-yard run after a throwback lateral.

This is the third player from FIU signed by the Dolphins. Andy Leavine was signed as a free agent, but never played for the Dolphins. Chandler Williams did practice squad time with the Dolphins in 2007, was signed during the offseason, then cut in late April.

May 15, 2013

Junk from the football trunk

After the Giants rookie minicamp, safety Junior Mertile went from rookie tryout status to signed for training camp. So he'll get a shot. A longshot, but a shot.

Meanwhile, the Ravens jettisoned cornerback Jose Cheeseborough after rookie camp.

Although Monique Garcia's still listed as the athletic department's Assistant Director of APR on the FIUSports site, a few different sources said Garcia left weeks ago. They seem to think it portends even more trouble than expected on the APR front for football and basketball.


Deric Hill leaves FIU, Malik Smith, too

FIU's top three-point shooter, Malik Smith, who announced he was leaving FIU as soon as Richard Pitino took the Minneosta head coaching job then reconsidered, is following Pitino to Minnesota he announced Wednesday morning.

Walk on sophomore point guard Deric Hill ranked 17th nationally in steals per game for FIU this season, leading the Panthers to a No. 8 team national ranking. Hill sparked the defense coming off the bench at midseason as a frenetic, continuous thievery threat and proved indispensable to FIU's stunning run to one game short of the NCAA tournament.

Apparently, that wasn't good enough for a scholarship or to keep him at FIU. The South Miami High graduate will be transferring to Barry, a move first reported by FIU Student Media.




May 13, 2013

Rainy days and Mondays

FIU threw an offer at Baker County defensive tackle CeCe Jefferson. Jefferson's 6-3, 265, already drawing interest from national powerhouses...and just entering his junior year.

What the heck, can't hurt to ask.


If you've got an extra hundred or 10K sitting around or you can scounge up that scratch with your friends, you can get involved in the 4th annual FIU Athletics Golf Tournament June 14 at Doral. Chunks of football season tickets come with some packages.

Call 305-348-4263 for more information.


The FIU women finished seventh with 46 points, 90.5 behind winner North Texas, and the men were ninth with 34 points, 77 behind winner Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference meet hosted by FIU this weekend.

Obviously, when the recent past looks unimpressive, you look at the future. For FIU's men, that means the freshman jumpers. Marcus Ghent picked up 11 total points from a third in the long jump and a fourth in the triple jump (49 feet, 7 inches). Freshman Chris Sullivan tied for sixth in the high jump at 6-6 3/4.

Senior Aubrey Smith finished third in the triple jump (49-11). Smith's six points and Ghent's 11 points means exactly half of FIU's total points came in the long and the triple.

On the women's side, freshman Oriel Anu picked up points in the 100 hurdles (fourth, 13.90 seconds), the 100 (seventh, 12.30) and, with freshman Phillicia Fluellen, sophomore Desmika White and freshman Maya Balfour, in the 4x100 relay (eighth, 47.08). White was with junior La'Shae White (no relation), senior Juliette Normil and freshman Jaylaan Slaughter on the fourth place 4x400 relay (3:45.92).

In the field, freshman Tiffani Hernandez threw the javelin 136-4 and came in third. Freshman Miriam Pierre hurled the hammer 167-3, good for fifth place behind senior teammate Kimberly Dekrey's best, 169-5. Pierre totaled nine points in the hammer throw, shot put and discus.








May 12, 2013

Highlights from the track (or, actually, the field)

Hosting the Sun Belt Track and Field Championships hasn't boosted FIU's fortunes in results. Still, there have been some bright spots.

Freshman Marcus Ghent finished third in the long jump with a leap of 24 feet, 1.5 inches.

Senior Charmille Kirton's 150-foot, 3-inch hurl was good for third in the diiscus. Freshman Miriam Pierre threw 141-4 in the discus, good for seventh and finished sixth in the shot put with a 43-11 3/4 put.

Sophomore Tikiera Relaford jumped 5 feet, 7 3/4 inches to finish fifth in the high jump.

Now, go call your mother, your grandmother, your great grandmother, that aunt who was like a mother...


May 09, 2013

Football futures? Golf, softball, track postseasons...

FIU swung by Tampa Wharton recently to visit and extend an offer to quarterback Chase Litton. Litton's 6-6, rated at three stars, but reportedly already has a poker hand of offers, including one from LSU.


FIU also dropped by Oviedo, where they showed some love to quarterback Chris Davis, more a runner than  a passer (future wide receiver?) and defensive end Tyree Owens, a 6-4 recruit ranked at zero to three stars by the recruiting services.

FIU also offered 6-3 Orlando University tight end Brandon Pylar.


FIU sits 18th, 27 shots back of leader, No.2 Alabama, in the NCAA East Regional after Thursday's first round.

Freshman Meghan MacLaren and Shelby Coyle came in with FIU's best rounds of the day, 3-over 75s. Tania Tare and Yolecci Jimenez each shot 5-over 77. Sophie Godley finsihed 7-over 79.


A pair of losses, 8-7 to Louisiana-Lafayette Wednesday and 14-9 to Troy Thursday, ended FIU's Sun Belt Conference tournament and season.


The school leaving the conference in a month and a half hosts the track championships even though they don't actually have a track facility: FIU, Sun Belt Conference championships, Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar.

Senior Daniela Espino has the best chance for a first place on the women's side, as she comes in with a 5,000 meter best time of 17:12.24, second in the Sun Belt. On the men's side, check out Sun Belt Indoor Track Freshman of the Year Marcus Ghent in the long jump or triple jump. Ghent's out of Northwestern and it never hurts to have a big meet near your home turf. 






May 07, 2013

TV football, a transfer, an All-American, some All-Sun Belts

FIU's Sept. 7 game against Central Florida will be a noon affair at FIU Stadium on CBS Sports Network. So get out your sunscreen and pace your consumption or else, well, the barfing in the heat won't be confined to the field.

Also on the Conference USA TV schedule announced Monday, the Shula Bowl at FAU will be at 3 p.m. on Fox Sports on Black Friday. Try not to get trampled.

The Saturday before, Nov. 23, Fox Sports will have FIU's home game against Marshall. The time for that game, as well as Comcast Sports Southeast games at Southern Mississippi (Oct. 5) and home to Alabama-Birmingham (Oct. 12), remain undecided.

Marshall wide receiver Jermain Kelson has transferred to FIU with one season of eligibility left. Kelson played quarterback at Southridge before switching to wide receiver at Marshall. Over the last two seasons, he caught 30 passes for 277 yards.


FIU's Kate Stepanova earned All-America recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association.


On the eve of FIU's Sun Belt Conference tournament opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, FIU seniors Brie Rojas (second base) and Amber Curry (at large) were named to the All-Sun Belt Second Team.

For 27-26 (10-13) FIU, Rojas hit .275 with a team-high nine doubles, five home runs and 65 total bases. Curry had a team-high .417 on base percentage and .462 slugging percentage.

And, because it's a May night...


May 05, 2013

Mendoza/Samoday reach final four of sand pairs championship

FIU's sand volleyball season, which ended Sunday, could've come with the Brooklyn-esque "Wait 'til next year!"

Three of the four players on FIU's top two pairs, Jessica Mendoza/Maryna Samoday and Kate Stepanova/Ksenia Sukhareva, are juniors. The 6-3 Stepanova finished her graduate work at FIU and will be the only player out of eligibility.

Mendoza/Samoday got to the semifinals of the (deep breath) American Volleyball Coaches Association Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championship pairs championship before losing to Long Beach State's Caitlin Ledoux and Tara Roenicke 21-11, 21-16.

Before that, Mendoza/Samoday beat Chelsea Cabrajac and Delainey Aigner-Swesey in three sets, 21-11, 22-24, 15-12, then got past Florida State's Jace Pardon and Sara Wickstrom, 21-19, 21-15.

Stepanova/Sukhareva outlasted Saint Mary's Dalas Dodd (daughter of 1996 Olympics beach silver medalist Mike Dodd) and Jordan Shaw 12-21, 21-18, 15-13. In the quarterfinal round, Georgia State's Lane Carico and Katie Madewell took out the FIU pair, 21-15, 13-21, 15-12.



May 03, 2013

Coming, going on grass & winning in sand

When you've got a small roster that might be getting shorter after grades say some guys had trouble with the "student" part of student-athlete, you start recruiting the next class as soon as possible.

FIU's thrown out offers to Neptune Beach Fletcher quarterback/punter Luke Medlock (brother of Jake Medlock), Jacksonville Bishop Kenny John Wolford....


Davie Western defensive back Juwon Dowels and Vero Beach wide receiver Will Dawkins.


 Grades posted Thursday. I'm hearing the football Panthers either ineligible for the first four games (at least) or in need of summer savings number at least eight. Most of the names I've heard are on defense, but three are offensive skill position players.

Of course, considering FIU's looking at a 1-3 record in the first four games -- going to Maryland in the first game for a new coach, hosting Bethune-Cookman and Central Florida, going to Sugar Bowl-champion Louisville -- not much harm there. But there won't be much time to integrate those players heading into the Conference USA schedule.


Meanwhile, FIU exported two pairs to the 16-pair "Best of the Rest" tournament at the American Volleyball Coaches Association Sand Volleyball National Championship. Each went 2-0 Friday.

Jessica Mendoza and Maryna Samoday, the No. 3 seed in their group, today face No. 2 seed Kelly Reeves and Meg Norton from UCLA and Bethanie Thomas and Kariana Hirini from Alabama-Birmingham. Kate Stepanova and Ksenia Sukhareva No. 2 in their group, will face No. 1 Tylor Nyquist and Sammie Strausbaugh from Jacksonville U. That's in the afternoon, after they get Loyola Marymount's Felicia Arriola and Litara Kell earlier in the day.


Leading scorer Tymell Murphy announced via Twitter that he'll be staying at FIU for his senior season.




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