Best FIU Offensive Player
RB Napoleon Maxwell, Sr.
With Alex Gardner gone, Maxwell has to be the one to carry the load. The 6-0, 215-pounder missed two years hurt after having knee problems, but he was excellent last year averaging almost six yards per carry. He can blast a bit, and he can catch, but can he be a workhorse? It he can crank out double-digit carries per game, he’ll be doing his job.
2. RB Shawndarrius Phillips, Jr.
3. PK Jose Borregales, Soph.
4. WR Tony Gaiter, Jr.
5. QB James Morgan, Sr.
Best FIU Defensive Player
LB/DE Fermin Silva, Sr.
Anthony Johnson is the defensive tackle the line needs to work around again, and there are some decent parts to a defense that loses several key starters, but Silva is the main man to make big things happen.
Just 6-2, 235 pounds Silva’s more like a linebacker than a true defensive end, but he’s ultra-quick, coming up with 50 stops with seven sacks and 14 tackles for loss in an all-star season. Strong enough against the run to get by, he’s at his best when he uses his quickness to make things happen on the move.
2. DT Anthony Johnson, Sr.
3. LB Sage Lewis, Jr.
4. CB Ike Brown, Soph.
5. S Richard Dames, Soph.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB James Morgan, Sr.
… or junior Maurice Alexander. One of the two has to take over the FIU O and rock.
Unfortunately, Miami legend Ken Dorsey is now part of the athletic department at FIU, and the 2002 version isn’t in the FIU QB mix.
The Bowling Green offense did more when Morgan wasn’t under center, and he threw too many interceptions. Now the grad transfer has to fight to take over the open starting job. For an offense that sputtered and coughed way too often, the quarterback play has to be better.
Maurice Alexander would be the starter if the season started now, and Kaylan Wiggins is an interesting young baller who could still take over the job. At the very least, Morgan will be a veteran backup, but if he’s able to stretch the field, he’ll be doing his job.
Key Game To The FIU Season
Florida Atlantic, Nov. 3
This is massive for a whole slew of reasons. The Middle Tennessee date is big, too, for the East race, and having to play Marshall will be tough, but for the program and the coaching staff, there can’t be another loss to the Florida Atlantic Kiffins.
The Owls won 52-24 last season, but they haven’t won at FIU since the end of 2009. Coming off a road game at WKU, and with road dates at UTSA and Charlotte to follow, the pressure will be on the Golden Panthers.
2017 FIU Fun Stats
– 1st Quarter Points Allowed: 67 – 2nd Quarter Points Allowed: 123
– Red Zone Scores: FIU 40-of-41 (98% – No. 1 in the nation) – Opponents 42-of-53 (79%)
– Punt Return Average: FIU 3.8 yards – Opponents 6.1 yards