FIU’s 2013 season on offense could be summarized as 12 experiments in 2013 proving The Little Pop Theory, the opposite of The Big Bang Theory.
The Panthers ranked 96th nationally in yards per completion. On the ground, they averaged 2.1 yards per carry, 3.2 yards per carry once quarterback sacks get removed. FIU’s longest run, made by freshman running back Silas Spearman, traveled only 32 yards. They didn’t have a single offensive play over 48 yards.
FIU had to work harder for points than anybody in the nation, which might explain why the Panthers scored fewer of them than all but one other FBS team.
So, FIU coach Ron Turner came into recruiting season in the market for explosives. While some slipped in and out of FIU’s hands, the Panthers have a few recruits who can restore its long distance powers.
Though the University of Miami recruited 5-11, 175-pound Dennis Turner as a defensive back, Turner averaged 21.1 yards per catch as a wide receiver and scored 10 touchdowns on 54 catches during his junior and senior years at Fort Lauderdale Dillard.
Turner’s high school quarterback, Bud Martin, already is enrolled at FIU. At St. Petersburg’s Admiral Farragut Academy, coaches lined 6-0, 190-pound Napoleon Maxwell up everywhere: wide receiver, running back, at defensive back, in the Wildcat.
Maxwell caught only 13 passes, but for 351 yards (27.0 yards per catch) over his last two seasons and averaged 9.9 yards per carry on his 77 carries. With those grand per play averages, it’s no shock that Maxwell ran the 100-yard dash in 10.87 at last spring’s state track meet.
Maxwell committed to FIU around the time the Panthers lost Hialeah speedster Henry Bussey — a 10.0 yards per carry running back last season — to FAU. Also, the Panthers had an on again, off again relationship with Orlando Timber Creek wide receiver Javonte Seabury.
Seabury, rated at three to four stars depending on the recruiting site, possessed enough speed to be an early Florida State commit. Late last summer, Seabury flipped to FIU.
Just before his official visit to FIU on Jan. 17, his visit was canceled. Sources at and around FIU told the Miami Herald that Seabury’s grades were an issue.
Seabury decommitted, then reconsidered. Finally, last week, he committed to Western Michigan.
Turner went to junior college to get Donavan Williams, who took his 4.5 speed to junior college out of Belton, Texas.
Williams (6-1, 225) averaged 7.1 yards per carry for ASA College and was an Honorable Mention NJCAA All-America selection. Last season, sophomore Lamarq Caldwell’s mundane 3.5 yards per carry led FIU.
Also helping inject some combustibility into FIU’s offense next year will be the anticipated return of kick returner Richard Leonard and wide receiver Glenn Coleman.
Leonard, FIU’s fastest player and best cornerback, blazed to 29.2 yards per kickoff return and 14.2 yards per punt return in 2012. Coleman came on late in the season to average 17.5 yards per catch.