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People Gained & Lost on Signing Day

Busy day in FIU athletics: National Signing Day, Cindy Russo winning career game No. 700 tonight at Texas-San Antonio and David Beckham says he wants his MLS Miami franchise to play in a new stadium close to downtown (which means not FIU Stadium).

Taking the last part first, as they used to say on Twenty-One, FIU Stadium's main unsuitability is location. Everything else can be addressed. Offices can be built. A better field can be installed and maintained. The press box can be made into something that doesn't get laughed at by people from Troy or Arkansas State. It's even got the size MLS likes for its stadiums.

But it's still out there, far west enough to kiss the turnpike. That's too many minutes of honking, creative cursing, teeth-gnashing traffic for too many people for weeknight games. It's a factor that puts a ceiling on FIU basketball attendance. If you're in a position where your Get West routes are the Dolphin Expressway, State Road 112, east-west streets from Bird Road toi 36th Street or some combination of those three, you better love that sport like it's your mama to deal with that mess.

Interim site? Maybe. Permanent site? Nah.

Once again, there's another Signing Day coaching staff change as soon as FIU gets its class signed. Last year, it was defensive backs coach Jeff Popovich getting zapped. This time, it's defensive line coach Andre Patterson, apparently, headed for Minnesota and new coach Mike Zimmer's staff. Patterson and Zimmer worked together for three seasons in Dallas when Patterson was the defensive line coach and Zimmer was the defensive coordinator. Herrald writer & editor-retired-into-stringer Bill Van Smith, standing in for me at the FIU Signing Day Party, learned it wasn't a done deal yet.

On to recruiting. There weren't many surprises on Signing Day for FIU. They brought in offensive lineman Kai Absheer from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas after Trayvon Williams opted for Georgia Southern over FIU. I like the size of the linemen. I would've liked to have seen one or two more guys who can get you the cheap points. You know, don't fill a kickoff return lane and see you after the touchdown dance.

In the whole process, they did lose some guys they really wanted, which happens every year to every school. I still say FAU made a strong statement getting who they got, especially locally, after throwing a staff together late as FIU did last year. Maybe it'll keep the Fieldhouse men jumping.

For what it's worth...Rivals.com ranks FIU tied for fourth in Conference USA with Louisiana Tech, Tulsa and Middle Tenessee State and tied for 83rd nationally. 247Sports.com, which ranks based on average rating of a player, ranks FIU 10th in Conference USA and 105th nationally. Scout.com has FIU 95th nationally and sixth in the conference, but that site also gives FIU credit for three-star Raheem Harvey (going to junior college) and running back Donavan Williams (decided to go closer to home, Sam Houston State).

The Recruiting Class of 2014 (with one scholarship left):

Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas offensive tackle Kai Absheer 6-5, 310. Not rated by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com, Rivals.com when the day started. Rivals had a two-star rating on him by day's end, as did Scout.com. I didn't see him play, but a 6-5 offensive tackle out of St. Thomas? That's a chance you have to take. If he doesn't have the feet, put him in dance class until he gets them. 

Plant City defensive end John Broome, 6-2, 225

Pembroke Pines Flanagan defensive back Mark Bruno, 5-10, 165

Hollywood Hills defensive lineman Josh Deuyour, 6-9, 305. Somebody's going on the field goal block team.

Jacksonville Raines running back Alex Gardner, 5-10, 185. Losing Williams hurts, but let's see what Gardner and sophomore Silas Spearman can do with an improved offensive line.

Hialeah defensive back Nick Gonzalez, 6-0, 180.

Frostproof wide receiver Jarviel Hart, 5-10, 160. 

Booker T. Washington offensive lineman Jordan Ingraham, 6-2, 315

Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County defensive end Anthony Johnson, 6-3, 235

Carol City defensive back Tyree Johnson, 5-8, 165

Oviedo Hagerty offensive lineman Breht Joly, 6-4, 305.

Tampa Sickles tight end/wide receiver Chett LeVay 6-3, 190.

Fort Lauderdale Dilllard quarterback Bud Martin, 6-3, 225. 

St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut Academy running back/wide receiver Napoleon Maxwell, 6-0, 190.

Tampa Gaither quarterback Alex McGeough, 6-3, 200. 

Neptune Beach Fletcher quarterback/punter Luke Medlock, 6-2, 200. Adds to the quarterback battle and I'll wager he's the best punter on the roster already. 

Orlando The First Academy offensive lineman Chris Miller, 6-4, 310

Delray Beach Atlantic wide receiver/defensive back Thomas Owens, 6-1, 180. Owens played quarterback at Atlantic. 

Tampa Bay Tech linebacker Fred Russ, 5-10, 235

Plantation American Heritage defensive tackle Justin Sibole, 6-4, 275. This one wasn't certain until today. Rated at three stars by ESPN, two stars by 247sports.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

Miami Springs cornerback Bobby Stinson, 5-11, 155

Hialeah Jermaine Sheriff. FIU says defensive back, but he played defensive end and linebacker in high school. 6-2, 225. I don't see him getting any smaller, so he'll be either an outside linebacker or an intimidatingly physical safety.

Northwestern defensive back Shemarke Spence, 5-9, 170.

Miami Springs cornerback Bobby Stinson, 5-11, 155, 175

Fort Lauderdale Dillard wide receiver Dennis Turner, 5-11, 180. FIU's highest rated recruit by 247Sports.com, ESPN.com and Scout.com, all of which have him at three stars. Rivals.com has him at two stars. A big play receiver who averaged over 20 yards per catch over his last two years of high school, catching passes from early enrollee Bud Martin.

Orlando Oak Ridge offensive tackle DaQuane Willkie, 6-4, 250. Considered one of the best offensive tackles in the middle of the state. He's only going to get bigger and longer. If he's got feet, he'll be impressive.

Homestead linebacker Anthony Wint, 6-0, 210. 


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6-9 DE??? 8 home games??? What is going on? I like, I like, I like. I dont care about ratings, it's all about development of players etc, etc, cliche crap. What is good about this class is just what DNJ said, SIZE. You can teach them, and they can be model citizens, what you cant teach is size. Especially these H.S seniors which will only get bigger.

Yeah Garcia is still around, blah, blah, blah; but at least it looks like Turner worked at recruiting. Lets hope these players pan out. If UCF can do it, so can FIU.

Paul Crawford was 6'9" and we never saw him his senior year. Mysterious shoulder injury, wasn't on sidelines, or even announced on Senior Day!!!

Deuyour is an Offensive Lineman.

Big congratulations to the guys that committed. Yeah we lost some guys but the class still looks great!!! Looking forward to seeing what they can bring to Turners system. I think the coach Turner and his staff did a great job with this recruit class. GO FIU!!!!!!

Deuyour played both ways and was recruited as a DL. Defensive Coordinator Conklin confirmed it at signing day event.

What can't be lost in all of this was that Andre Patterson had a huge hand in recruiting this class. It was very classy of him to see recruiting through to the end, before accepting the Minnesota Vikings job.

By my tally, is that three of Turner's coaches that we've lost to the NFL ranks? Well,at least we know that Turner's bringing in quality assistants. The NFL doesn't take slouches. Either way, thank you Coach Patterson for both your recruiting and coaching efforts.

Ok ^^^^^^^^^Pete Garcia you are pathetic,

First off, I'm definitely not PG. But what's wrong with showing Andre Patterson some love for waiting until after signing day to take his job with Minnesota?

Would you have preferred he leave before and possibly lose a few recruits?

I have to agree with DP..

As much as I love and support FIU Athletics, it would be pretty hard not to leave EARLY if I had the NFL knocking on my door if I worked at the school with one of the worst Offense and Defense in the nation. I think that was pretty classy.
More importantly who are we bringing to replace some of this coaches have have left for the NFL?? Will we get coaches with lots of South Florida knowledge or guys from outside of South Florida?? That is very important in my opinion..

Go Panthers

We got 14 from SoFlo without a coach from the area. Be nice, I suppose, but being coached up by NFL worthy studs is not so bad itself. I bet more wins next year would bring more local talent, even if Patterson's replacement is from Alberta. Coach hard, Coach.

I think the key to our success right now is player development at all the key positions. I'd like to see some significant improvement on both lines.

So, if I had my choice, I wouldn't mind another NFL caliber DLine coach. Someone who can instruct our young talent on the kinds of technique they would need to succeed at the next level. On the field, when talent is pretty much equal, technique takes over.

I'd prefer our dlinemen to have every advantage possible. It also doesn't hurt recruiting if kids know they're going to be taught by guys who have coached at the next level.

In a way its a good thing for Greg and Isame the Coach Patterson has moved to the NFL. Hopefully, that means an opportunity for Camp Invite for either guy...

And more connections for the juniors and seniors to be.

Good point, Chia. Any extra attention can only help the program overall.

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