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National Signing Day for college football is six days away. Like many teams around the nation, the Panthers have needs to fill and we'll get to those needs in this series that runs up until NSD on Wednesday.
Next Wednesday, Feb. 6, I'll have a LIVE BLOG right here from coach Ron Turner's press conference. The time for the LIVE BLOG and press conference is still to be determined. I'll let you know on here as soon as I know. You can join me here then to talk about the newest FIU players and Panthers football overall.
Before we get into the returning FIU receivers and tight ends, the Countdown to NSD 2013 series disclaimer: Due to NCAA restrictions, I can only comment on current or former Panthers until National Signing Day, Feb. 6. However, the gag order on commenting on future Panthers will be lifted on NSD, Feb. 6. So join me then for the LIVE BLOG.
For one thing the Panthers receiving corps in 2013 will be a young unit. With just three seniors in Willis Wright, Jairus Williams and Glenn Coleman, FIU does not have much experience catching the ball in college.
Quarterback Jake Medlock and Wright (above) developed a nice chemistry in the past year and in off-season workouts. Wright led the Panthers last season with 633 receiving yards and five touchdowns. However, for the most part Medlock will be throwing to a lot of new receivers in 2013.
Like the rest of the offense, the receivers will need to learn a new scheme in the pro style. Although the receiving corps will be green in 2013, there is some talent, speed and size there. De'Andre Jasper (speed), Fred Porter (size), Nick England (hands) and Dominique Rhymes (size) all have played before in an FIU game and displayed what they can do.
Add to the mix Raymond Jackson (6-2), Adrian Jenkins (6-3) and James Louis and you'll see that Mario Cristobal and his staff certainly did not leave the receiving cupboard bare.
In the new offense, the Panthers will try to stretch the field vertically and the size and speed that FIU possesses at receiver could make for an explosive offense.
Not since FIU's all-time leading receiving tight end Sam Smith played have the Panthers consistently fed the ball to the tight end. That could change in the new offense where the tight end is expected to be more of a receiver than a blocker.
FIU has some big bodies returning at tight end in Ya'Keem Griner (6-4, 235), Zach Schaubhut (6-2, 235), Junior Delpe (6-4, 246) and Akil Dan-Fodio (6-4, 225). In practice the past year, all four showed potential.
Griner (above) is the most intriguing of all with his size and speed. He's bascially a receiver playing tight end and could be a valuable option for Medlock.
Schaubhut, Dan-Fodio and Delpe are all former quarterbacks-turned-tight ends with good hands catching the pigskin. Schaubhut has been good in spring ball and fall camp the past few seasons, but never really got a shot to show what he can do in a game.
Next up: Offensive line
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