Before getting into all of the details of high profile recruits coming into next year (which there aren’t a lot of), I felt that FIU’s new head coach, Butch Davis, should be discussed.
Davis has had a long career with several stops before coming to FIU. He initially began his career in 1979 as a TE/WR at Oklahoma State before leaving with head coach Jimmy Johnson to become the defensive line coach in Miami (FL) from 1984-88. He helped win a national championship in 1987 with Miami before leaving again with Johnson in 1988 for what would be an even more successful Dallas Cowboys.
From 1989 to 1994, Davis was apart of the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive line coach and eventually a defensive coordinator, during which the Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowls. He would continue great success by returning to The U as a head coach from 1995-2000. During this time Davis would go on to produce players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, among others.
Davis then followed up his work at Miami by heading north to become the Cleveland Browns head coach. As with most things Cleveland, it did not go well. He did manage to make a playoff game in 2002 (and the Browns haven’t made the playoffs since), but eventually resigned after starting the 2004 season 3-8.
Next, Davis went south once again to Chapel Hill to become head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels. In his last year as head coach, Davis was able to get the Heels to a respectable 8-4 record in 2009 before a scandal broke.
Davis was fired in 2010 by UNC due to investigations of players on the team being involved with improper benefits and academic misconduct. Davis would be quiet the next few years only serving as an advisor to Greg Schiano for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. Finally, Davis left Tampa after only a year to become an analyst at ESPN and was then hired by FIU in November 2016.
That said, FIU fans should be cautiously optimistic about this hire. Davis has clearly shown that he has been capable of success but the North Carolina scandal is worrisome. Golden Panther fans just need to keep their fingers crossed hoping to avoid any issues with the NCAA.
Now onto the recruits themselves.
It can be difficult for a new head coach to keep their predecessor’s recruits alongside recruits finding new recruits of their own. That struggle can be seen with FIU’s 2017 class as it only features 18 recruits from the state of Florida and only one out-of-state recruit from South Carolina. Alongside that only two of these 19 players are ranked in the top 1000 players in the nation according to 247 sports. However, FIU is said to have the fourth-best recruiting class among C-USA teams. So who are some of the new names for what could be an up and coming program?
3-Star Athlete Dorian Hall
If this name sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. Hall was offered by IU along with being offer by Southeast powerhouses Florida State and Georgia. Hall is the most touted recruit in this class thanks to his uncanny size. Listed at 6’5”, Hall is expected to play Cornerback or Safety at FIU. With most secondary players coming in at around the 5’11” mark, expect Hall to dominate.
3-Star Offensive Tackle Cody Bowes
The only other nationally rated player in this class hails from Miami and had impressive offers from the likes of Ohio State and Tennessee. Bowes will need to step up as FIU lost it’s two best linemen from last year in Michael Montero and Dieugot Joseph. I’d expect to Bowes at a guard position rather than tackle as he is currently listed at 6’4” 275 lbs.
3-Star Athlete Noah Curtis
Curtis is another player coming into the team without a set position. Although receiving a plethora of offers, the only real standouts were North Carolina and Kentucky. Not much was noted by FIU besides the fact that he has to grow in size for his 6”6’ 230 lb frame.
3-Star Outside Linebacker Jamal Gates
Like Curtis before him, Gates didn’t have many spectacular offers as they primarily came from MAC and C-USA schools. Gates is apart of a freshman trio of linebackers that average out at around 6”2’ 208 lbs.
3-Star Offensive Guard Willa Pierre
To round out this list we have another offensive lineman out of the famous Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. Pierre didn’t have much in offers as he only received offers from UCF, FIU, Temple, and Valdosta State. Pierre was noted however for his ability to drive defenders down field.
In conclusion, the Panthers will be rebuilding this year. Between adjusting to a new head coach, alongside top recruits not playing in impact positions, IU should expect to pick up a third consecutive victory against FIU.