September 02, 2014

Wagner the Dog

The depth chart for this week's game against Wagner looks the same as last week's. Which means it's about as worthless as a tailor in a nudist colony.

It still has junior E.J. Hilliard at quarterback over freshman Alex McGough. It also has freshman Alex Gardner third behind junior Lamarq Caldwell and redshirt junior Shane Coleman. Coleman didn't have a carry while Gardner led the team in carries and yards. Clearly, especially against Wagner, start McGough and Gardner just to see what they can do from the start.

And, I hear Monday, McGough took the lead role in workouts. 

FIU's defense ranks second in sacks (six, behind Baylor's eight) and fifth in tackles for loss (10, behind Baylor and TCU's 13, each). Richard Leonard leads the nation in total return yards, 208, and is fifth in punt return average (29.6 yards per return). It bears repeating -- FIU had only five punt or kickoff returns that exceeded 29 yards at all in 2013. Two of those were punt returns against Bethune-Cookman, so perhaps punt coverage stands as Bethune's main special teams' bete noire.

Hilliard did scramble for FIU's only third down conversion. Last year's worst third down team -- second worst since 1997 according to the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds -- again is last so far: one of 16. But three of five on fourth down, so...

RUNNING THE SPREAD

Few games this week scare the sports books the way Wagner-FIU does. Don't be surprised if a few books stay away from this game like it needs to go to the clinic.

Lower rank FBS team that just lost to an FCS team at home playing an FCS team. Wagner's coming off 3-7, probably a mediocre FCS team at best, but you can bet some books took a hit when Wagner played FAU close two years ago. The FBS team either will be starting a true freshman quarterback in his second college game or starting the junior who got yanked one quarter into the season opener. Wagner's been a dependable whipping boy for FBS schools, yet played FAU tough two years ago. Two years ago, different players, different school, still it's another reason this game's scarier than an IRS vampire to the books.

Also, they took a bit of a hit last week on FIU. The Panthers opened as a 1-point favorite last week. Betting on Bethune moved the line all the way to FIU being a 3-point underdog by late Thursday. That being the line at kickoff says the early betting was heavily Bethune with the later betting split. FIU covered the final spread, losing by only two. But everybody who got down on Bethune before the line swung to Wildcats by 2 collected.

The game will be on the Conference USA Digital Network. The next game on the American Sports Network, I recommend muting the TV and putting on Mike Levine and Pete Pelegrin. It'll get weeks to get Saturday's TV game commentary infection out of my TiVo.

August 31, 2014

Who's Next

This weekend seemed to be about FIU football down the road -- current freshmen, future opponents, future players.

Wagner's 1-0, by the way, after a resounding 21-3 win over Georgetown. Behind an offensive line that's combined for 100 games and 86 starts, Fort Lauderdale Dillard graduate Otis Wright ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Wright took 24 carries to do that, though. Also, Hoya football was one of Wagner's three victims last year. Translation: FIU should be 1-1 when everybody heads for church (or the church of the NFL) Sunday morning.

Among FIU's 2015 recruitng commits, The Quarterbacking Alexanders both came out on top. Maurice Alexander threw two touchdown passes in Booker T. Washington's 19-7 late night win against Tucker (Ga.). Christian Alexander completed 7 of 13 for 140 yards, including 9 and 62-yard touchdowns, as Lakeland Christian crushed Winter Garden Foundation Academy 41-0 in just under three quarters (the coaches agreed to end the game after a lightning delay with 4:48 left in the third quarter).

Running back Terry Bennett ran for a pair of 11-yard touchdowns as Jacksonville Atlantic Coast drubbed Jacksonville Jackson 49-6.

Defensive lineman Milord Juste forced a fumble and had two sacks against Lake Worth John I. Leonard for a dominant Palm Beach Gardens defense: 21-0.

 

PRACTICE SQUADS

Former FIU defensive tackle Isame Faciane's on the Minnesota pratice squad after being one of the Saturday cuts. Former FIU cornerback Sam Miller also was a Saturday cut, but hasn't show up on anybody's taxi squad, which can now carry 10 players instead of just eight as in past years.

August 25, 2014

Pigskin Pops (updated with Turner conference call comments)

Do you understand the meager compensation given some of our blue collar bretheren who wreck their backs doing things like setting up FIU Stadium (surrounding Ocean Bank Field) for the start of classes and the football season? Do you know how little disposable income the average college-affiliated football player has?

After pondering that bit of John L. Lewis, take in these tidbits from FIU football practice. Yes, I'm still banned, although FIU coach Ron Turner did answer a few questions from me on the Conference USA coaches conference call.

 

Don't be surprised if FIU says to heck with it and comes out with a linebacking corps of freshman Anthony Wint, sophomore Treyvon Williams and redshirt freshman Jordan Guest. Why not? Go with talent, give it some experience and see what you wind up with at the end of the season.

In answering why things should be different this year defensively against Bethune, Turner said the defense should execute the scheme better, but also said, "We'll have some freshmen and redshirt freshmen out there at times..."

Also, it could be a family affair on the corners with junior Jeremiah McKinnon moving ahead of senior Randy Harvey to play with cousin redshirt junior Richard Leonard. Bethune's ground-air split comes straight out of World War I, so the better tackler should start Saturday.

Another redshirt junior Richard, wide receiver Burrows, could very well start with redshirt junior Dominique Rhymes. When FIU's got two tight ends on the field, it'll be most often sophomore Jonnu Smith and redshirt Ya'keem Griner. That gives them the option of putting Smith in the slot, so they can run plays out of two-wide, double tight end or three-wide formations without switching personnel. That'll help if FIU tries to run an increased tempo, which I'd bet they will. When they want to go three-wide with Smith at tight end, expect DeAndre Jasper and T.J. Lowder to get the most looks as the third wideout with Burrows and Rhymes. That is, until freshman Dennis Turner shows something in a game. If he does, move him to the top of that list.

Not sure where fifth-year senior Glenn Coleman fits into everything.

Turner also said on the conference call that while junior E.J. Hilliard will start Saturday against Bethune, freshman Alex McGough could see playing time "in the second, third or fourth series" or in the second quarter. 

Junior Lamarq Caldwell remains the top running back, but, sometimes, they'll do the smart thing of putting big, durable Caldwell at fullback and dynamic freshman Alex Gardner at tailback. That gives you a good blocking back along with two backs who can catch passes. When FIU wants to go heavy, look for redshirt freshman Jordan Gibbs, converted from linebacker to fullback, as the lead blocker for Caldwell.

RECRUITING

Huh. Not surprising.

After seeing how some of FIU's 2015 commits looked Saturday against top high school competition, if FIU gets them to Signing Day next February, somebody needs to give running backs coach Kerry Dixon II a raise from $96,000.

BENEDICTION

Who's running the pool on how fast DP comments?

August 24, 2014

FIU future and past

While this year's model of FIU footballin' Panthers wraps up training camp, with classes and Bethune-Cookman nigh, plenty of news came from other eras of Panthers football.

Friday night, Lakeland Christian quarterback Christian Alexander, a three-star FIU commit, threw for 215 yards and a touchdown as his team crushed George Jenkins 33-3. Alexander's school lost star running back T.J. Simmons in the scoreless first quarter, then took over the game in the second quarter.

Saturday afternoon began with Central High walking onto the grilliron -- not gridiron, grilliron, Equator hot on the field -- of Hoover (Ala.) High and quickly stumbling over special teams. A blocked punt started Hoover's first possession at the Central 6. Safety Olin Cushion got in on the tackles that kept the first and second down runs out of the end zone. Hoover eventually flubbed the field goal attempt. Another Central special teams blunder and a blown call on a Hoover fumble preceded a Hoover touchdown. Without the earlier run stops, Central would've been down 14-0, on the road with only the fact that they hadn't been sauteed on that scalding field the only positive.

Late in the first half, Cushion intercepted an overthrown sideline bomb to end another Hoover scoring threat. He showed an instinct for the big play when he made the risky move of turning into the end zone to get room for a U-turn that put him behind some blockers. He slipped before the Central 20, so the decision didn't work as far as field position, but it wasn't as if he tried to make a big play when there wasn't one there to be made. Bad luck, not bad judgment.

About the time Central kicked the last minute field goal for a 24-21 win, Detroit waived former FIU defensive tackle Greg Hickman. A few hours later, the other half of FIU's 2013 defensive tackle pair, Isame Faciane, didn't play for Minnesota in the third preseason game against Kansas City. That's a sign that Chef-to-be Faciane's cooking career might get started sooner than he wants. He might be kept around to play the fourth preseason game. Same with former FIU cornerback Sam Miller, although Miller did play for Buffalo against Tampa Bay.

Saturday night belonged to FIU's Homestead-by-way-of-Booker T. commits in their season opener against Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith High. In his first game as Booker T. Washington quarterback after transferring from Homestead High for his senior year, Maurice Alexander went 22 of 25 for 365 yards and five touchdowns.

Before someone pooh-poohs that the numbers got inflated by numerous quick hitches and screens taken for big yardage, consider a few things:

*Alexander did go deep for the 53-yard touchdown that began the benediction for the competitive phase of the game and hit the receiver in stride.

*the three incompletions went drop, overthrow, underthrow. That would be solid accuracy under fire if all 25 throws were hitches and screens.

*Alexander's release and velocity gave receivers room to run after the catch. The ESPNU crew commented on those assets while saying Ron Turner would be a happy man next fall.

Alexander looks like he can have a tendency to throw less an ideal pass than an ideal pitch -- hard, low in the strike zone -- but those passes obviously remained catchable (only three incompletions, remember?). In college, those passes also run into defensive linemen arms more often. His failed scramble on fourth down looked like a possibly rash decision, yet the wide receiver on that side failed to make the one block on which success or failure hinged.

FIU commit Ocie Rose, another Homstead transfer, got a second half interception that he took back for a touchdown wiped out by a penalty. 

I didn't get to see much of FIU lineman commit out of Jacksonville Trinity Christian left tackle Deion Eakins, in Trinity's 17-0 loss to Buford (Ga.). Trinity couldn't get much going on offense and the Booker T. game kept Lead Game status on my TV. For me to discuss Eakins' performance would overreach the sample size of plays I saw.

July 31, 2014

Football training camp practice times and commits; Volleyball predix

If you're into spending mornings off watching football practice instead of splashing at a water park or helping the local economy by keeping a waterfront bar in business, here's the football practice schedule. 

Monday: 9-11:30

Tuesday-Aug. 9: 8:15-10:30

Aug. 11, 13, 15, 18, 20: 8:15-10:30 a.m. and 7:15-8:30 p.m.

Aug. 12, 14, 16, 19, 21-23: 8:15-10:30 a.m.

As far as the (potential) Class of 2015, FIU's killing it in Jacksonville. Jacksonville Trinity Christian's 6-3, 315-pound Deion Eakins became the fifth from the area to pledge FIU. Eakins is unrated by ESPN and 247sports.com and at two stars by Rivals.com and Scout.com.

Trinity ran for 266 yards per game last season on their way to a state title. According to an article in In The Game magazine, Easkins plays drums and is in the church band. If he comes to Camp Mitch, he'll combine with running back/singer Alex Gardner out of Jacksonville Raines to put FIU a lead guitar from a church trio.

St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut Academy sent running back Napoleon Maxwell to FIU this year. Jestin Green, a wide receiver and safety, says he's coming to FIU next year. Green's unrated by the four sites I usually site here. 

VOLLEYBALL

The preseason Conference USA coaches poll put FIU ninth in the 13-team conference. Defending champion Texas-San Antonio was picked to repeat with Sun Belt immigrant Western Kentucky ranked second.

FIU put nobody on the preseason all-conference team, but Adrianna McLamb represents FIU on the conference's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as its External Affairs Chair.

 

Midsummer Late Night Dreams

Monday's the first football practice. Aug. 22 is the first athletic event of the 2014-15 academic year, women's soccer hosting Arizona. Aug. 30, kickoff vs. Bethune-Cookman.

Who shrunk summer from back in the day, when it ran from Memorial Day to Jerry Lewis Telethon? Good golly, the week of no parking at Camp Mitch will be upon us soon.

Football coach Ron Turner said last week he was happy with recruiting for 2015 so far, especially coming off 1-11. He's certainly getting them out of Homestead, where he scored a committment from defensive back Ocie Rose. Rose transferred from Homestead to Booker T. Washington for his senior season, just as FIU commit Maurice Alexander did this year.

Ratings on Rose are all over the place. Rivals puts him at three stars. Scout.com puts him at two. ESPN.com and 247Sports.com don't have him rated themselves, but 247Sports has him at three stars on their composite rating. At 6-1, 185, Rose bloomed into a big safety who forced two fumbles last year in his 47 tackles.

Two-way interior lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, 6-4, 300, out of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas gave his pledge to FIU. He's rated at three stars by Rivals and Scout.com, unrated by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com. 

Orange Park Fleming Island center Neal Mars, 6-4, 275, also wears an FIU pledge pin for 2015. He's unrated by the four recruiting sites.

For what it's worth...247Sports has FIU's 2015 class rated 94th nationally, ninth in Conference USA. Scout.com has FIU rated 90th nationally, seventh in C-USA. Rivals puts FIU 91st overall, sixth in conference. Lot of months, a lot of games, a lot of standardized tests and a lot of grades between now and Signing Day. Plenty of time to move in either direction.

BASEBALL

First baseman Gunnar McNeill was picked as the Valley Baseball League's Staunton Braves MVP after leading the league in hitting (.402) and RBI (50) with a team-high six home runs. In the playoffs, he went four for eight with a double and two RBI. For FIU, McNeill also pitches. He made three apperances for Staunton, once as a starter and had a 9.00 ERA in six innings pitched.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

We do like our academic achievement around here. So belated big ups to the women's basketball team for their 3.37 grade point average being Conference USA's best in women's hoop.

NFL TRAINING CAMPS

The AP's Mark Long on former FIU safety Johnathan Cyprien.

 

 

 

 

July 21, 2014

What Do You Want to Know?

One of the Dallas Airport Marriott's -- which are about as far away from the DFW Airport as South Beach is from MIA -- will host a flurry of preseason football activity Wednesday when Conference USA hosts its Media Day.

Each school's head coach along with two players from each team get to spread the summer gospel of optimism. Two fifth-year seniors, center Donald Senat and safety Demarkus Perkins, will represent FIU along with Ron Turner.

What do you want asked of the FIU contingent or anyone else in Conference USA?

 

July 20, 2014

Latest 2015 football commit: Milord Juste

Palm Beach Gardens defensive end Milord Juste announced his commitment to FIU the usual way, via Twitter. Juste, 6-2, 240, had 21.5 sacks and two forced fumbles for Palm Beach Gardens last season and was on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's First Team All-Palm Beach team. On the hudl video, check out the play about 2:30 in, showing excellent hustle and pretty good speed.

Juste claimed offers from Army, Navy and Colgate. He's not rated yet by 247sports.com, ESPN.com, Rivals.com or Scout.com.

 

July 18, 2014

Everglades OL verbally commits to FIU

Miramar Everglades center Richard Williams, 6-3, 275, Tweets that he's coming to FIU in 2015. Williams was an Honorable Mention on the Associated Press Class 8A All-State team.

Williams isn't rated yet by any of the usual recruiting sites I usually cite here. The Sun-Sentinel ranks him as the 45th best player in Broward's Class of 2015.

July 17, 2014

Who is Terry Bennett?

Jacksonville Atlantic Coast running back Terry Bennett, class of 2015, pledged his body and mind to FIU Thursday.

Bennett's a load, 6-0, 205, and seems to run like it. According to MaxPreps, Bennett ran for 639 yards and 5.1 yards per carry as a junior. He's got three yards and a cloud of dust written all over him at the college level, which means he's perfect for Ron Turner's offense. He's a good enough baseball player to be on Perfect Game's Honorable Mention list for preseason 2014 high school All-Americas.

None of the main sites -- Rivals, 247Sports, Scout.com, ESPN -- have rated Bennett yet.

July 16, 2014

2015 QB commit leads 7-on-7 national champs

Looks like Maurice Alexander's pretty acclimated to Booker T. Washington.

The transfer from Homestead High quarterbacked Booker T.'s 7-on-7 team to the South Florida title earlier this year and, representing the Miami Dolphins, the National Football League High School Player Development national championship in Indianapolis.

Each of the 32 teams at nationals took the names of the team whose regional tournament it won. So, Booker T. or "the Miami Dolphins" beat the "Houston Texans" (Channelview) 37-21 for the "AFC" title Tuesday and routed the "Carolina Panthers" (Mallard Creek) 34-14 in the "Super Bowl" later Tuesday.

June 30, 2014

Should FIU try to get Bethel?

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas Tech dismissed Nigel Bethel II, a three-star freshman-to-be cornerback out of Booker T. Washington, for what's believed to be punching a women's basketball player.

Bethel drew an Electra 225 trunkload of offers, including one from FIU. He was a hot recruit. He's a radioactive recruit at the moment. He'll find a place in an FBS program. Talent gets many chances. One out of the way, probably, with a small fan base that's too small or apathetic to raise too much of a fuss in comparison with his potential contributions to the team.

Sound like any school you know?

Not saying Ron Turner would pursue Bethel -- in fact, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't -- but should he? I'm not saying he should or shouldn't. I'm not saying Bethel would land at FIU if they were interested. I want to know your opinion on whether or not they should be interested. Should they talk to Bethel, "kick the tires" on him, if you will?

 

June 29, 2014

June 25, 2014

Predictions for 2014 football

 

Yeah, OK, cliche. But "Eye of the Tiger" remains summer music to me. Also, this clip, the best line from the cartoon that was Rocky III, sums up the preseason magazines' projections for this year's football campaign.

Got to my semi-local Barnes & Noble Wednesday to collect the rest of the prognastications after getting Lindy's and Phil Steele earlier.

Athlon's: 2-10, 0-8 in Conference USA, so they're predicting wins in the first two games over FCS foes Wagner and Bethune-Cookman. Ranked 127th out of 128 nationally, ahead of only New Mexico State. In the unit rankings, puts FIU 13th out of 13 in C-USA at quarteraback and wideouts/tight ends, 12th in running bask and linebackers, 11th in offensive line, defensive line and secondary. Incongruently, considering the wide receiver/tight end rankings, sophomore tight end Jonnu Smith is their preseason First Team All-C-USA tight end.

The quote from an opposing assistant says "Their offense is pretty basic, a pro-style offense. They will huddle and do what Ron Turner did somewhere in the NFL."

Kind of what I said when I found out they were closing spring practices.

The Sporting News: 7th in Conference USA East. Nobody made TSN's preseason all-conference team, although they went with three wide receivers instead of two and a tight end.

USA Today: 1-11, 0-8 in Conference USA, so they must like FIU over the male half of Hart to Hart but under everybody else. 125th out of 128 nationally. Smith as the preseason all-conference tight end. They rank this year's recruiting class tied for eighth in C-USA, even with FAU.

It's hard for me to see FIU going winless in Conference USA or losing to Wagner. That's at least two wins right there. Bethune's predicted to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference again despite losing a kitchen table full of starters. Still, could be win No. 3. That would be progress.

 

June 24, 2014

On WR Mark Hutchinson

Wide receiver Mark Hutchinson, Class of 2015 out of Wesley Chapel Wiregrass Ranch High, announced Tuesday via Twitter that he's verbally committed to FIU. Last season, Hutchinson, 6-2, 200, caught seven passes for 113 yards.

He's unrated by 247sports.com, ESPN, Rivals.com and Scout.com.

 

June 22, 2014

3-star 2015 QB commits to FIU

Lakeland Christian's Christian Alexander completed 61.7 percent of his passes (127 of 206) in 2013 for 1,865 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. Alexander's 6-3, 210, the kind of size that speaks more of a pro-style quarterback FIU coach Ron Turner covets than the dual threat quarterbacks in vogue around college football.

So, count it as a plus for FIU that Alexander, rated at three stars by 247sports.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com, unrated by ESPN.com, announced his commitment to FIU Sunday via Twitter.

 

June 17, 2014

On QB Maurice Alexander

Did you do a double take that FIU got a quarterback commit out of Booker T. Washington, considering A) they barely took a look at national championship quarterback Treon Harris and B) the Booker T. and FIU staffs don't exactly hit the same Dunkin Donuts.

Maybe this will help explain: Maurice Alexander just transferred to Booker T. from Homstead High, where The Herald picked him Second Team 5A-Independent All-Dade. Last year, Alexander threw for 2,111 yards on 115 of 204 passing and ran for 90 yards on 63 carries (remember, sacks come off rushing totals in high school and college). He quarterbacked Booker T. to the championship of the Dolphins Academy 7-on-7 last weekend and will be leading them into the Nationals at Indianapolis.

Alexander's rated at two stars by 247sports.com, unrated by Rivals and Scout.com.

 

 

May 28, 2014

This 'n' That

Central defensive back Olin Cushion, a 2013 Second Team All-Dade selection as a junior, has committed to FIU for 2015. Cushion, 5-10, 175, had five interceptions for the state champion Rockets.

First college football preview mag out or, at least, the first one I saw: Lindy's. Lindy's ranked FIU 126th out of 128 FBS teams. In answer to the obvious question, The Terrible Two were New Mexico State and UMass. Then again, for the second consecutive year, Lindy's contained a blunder concerning FIU that whacks at its credibility. It missed FIU's 2011 bowl appearance under "Last Bowl."

If they're not already on the stands, Athlon's, Phil Steele, The Sporting News and USA Today should be out by the end of next week.

TRACK AND FIELD

Last week, FIU finally listed the head track abd cross country coach job on the NCAA's job search website. The department left the position vacant as a money-saving measure after Eric Campbell resigned in January.

 

 

February 05, 2014

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. 

National Signing Day updates (look under Stevie)

I'm here in Los Angeles covering the Heat, the second time in three years I've been elsewhere on National Signing Day. Just as when I was at the Super Bowl during Signing Day two years ago, I'll provide updates on here on the blog as best I can and, at the end of the day, what analysis I can.

The classes that helped give this football program its brightest days didn't come very heralded. Meanwhile, there's not much left of the highest ranking class, 2012. FIU coach Ron Turner insisted during the fall they were getting their first choice recruits. Turner lost some of those young men. Down the line, that might be a big break for FIU considering the academic troubles of some of their highest ranked recruits over the years.

Anyway, I'll try to keep a running total here as best I can while doing the Heat-Clippers thing throughout the day. Updates under Stevie...

 

Signees having been announced by FIU, Tweeted their signing or messaged me:

Hialeah defensive back Nick Gonzalez, 6-0, 180. Gonzalez was unrated by any of the services until Rivals.com gave him a two-star rating after his FIU commit. He made some big plays as a wide receiver and if I remember that district correctly, that's not always easy with the speed on the defensive side of the ball.

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

Jacksonville 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. 

Hollywood Hills defensive lineman Josh Deuyour, 6-9, 305

Miami Springs cornerback Bobby Stinson, 5-11, 155

Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas offensive tackle Kai Absheer 6-5, 310

Jacksonville Raines running back Alex Gardner, 5-10, 185

Frostproof wide receiver Jarviel Hart, 5-10, 160

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

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.

Northwestern defensive back Shemarke Spence, 5-9, 175

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

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

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 that's either an outside linebacker or one lay-the-big-wood safety.

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

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

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

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

Homestead linebacker Anthony Wint, 6-0, 210

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

Delray Beach Atlantic wide receiver Thomas Owens, 6-1, 180

Orlando Oak Ridge offensive tackle DaQuane Willkie, 6-4, 250. 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.

Fort Lauderdale Dillard wide receiver Dennis Turner, 5-11, 180. 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.

 


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