With just four assistants on his staff so far — Brent Guy (defensive coordinator), Kevin Beard (wide receivers), Bobby Babich (secondary) and Tim Harris Jr. (running backs) — new FIU football coach Butch Davis is calling on an old friend to help him recruit until the other vacancies are filled.
That friend is actually his boss, FIU athletic director Pete Garcia, who said this week he was taking the NCAA-mandated test that would allow him to go out on the road and recruit, something he hasn’t done since 2001 at the University of Miami.
Those were highly successful recruiting missions for UM, and it’s what Davis is hoping to recreate at FIU.
Davis said this week that he “hopes my reputation and what I have been able to accomplish” convinces top recruits to come to FIU.
And so far, Davis said, it’s working.
“We’ve had some kids who clearly weren’t interested [in FIU before] who on the phone have said, ‘Yeah, we’d love to take a trip,’ ” Davis said.
▪ FIU’s Michael Kessens has already broken a school record this season that had stood for nearly 30 years. Kessens grabbed 23 rebounds against Elon. The previous record of 22 was set by Carlton Phoenix on Feb. 23, 1987.
▪ Nova Southeastern’s Harrison Goodrick, a 6-9, 225-pound senior from Australia, scored a game-high 28 points and shot 11 for 12 from the floor in a six-point loss on Nov. 30 to Barry, the ninth-ranked team in NCAA Division II.
▪ Barry was leading the nation in shooting percentage (55.3) before making just 35 percent against NSU.
▪ No. 4 St. Thomas (7-1) will likely drop in its NAIA ranking after a 68-59 upset loss to Florida Memorial on Thursday. The No. 4 ranking matches the highest the program has ever been ranked, joining the 2012-2013 team.
▪ NSU’s Christen Prasse, a 5-9 junior guard, was Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week after averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in two games. NSU is ranked 22nd in the nation in NCAA Division II.
▪ It’s evident that FIU is in the midst of a major rebuild. The Panthers fell to 1-5 last week with a 50-point loss at South Florida. A bright spot was Kiandre’a Pound, who had 13 points and 14 rebounds in FIU’s 59-57 win over Robert Morris. In addition, FIU guard Alexis Gordon was named Conference USA Freshman of the Week.
Barry’s Hanno Antoni, a junior midfielder from Germany who had 13 goals and four assists this season, was named a second-team All-American. Thomas Coombes, a senior forward from England who scored 14 goals, made honorable mention.
Hurricanes freshman Brandon Taylor is an athlete to watch. As a high school senior in Texas, he was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 60-meter sprint. He also won gold at the 2016 World Junior Championships.
Hurricanes junior Olga Strantzali was one of 14 players named first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference, and with good reason. She led the league in aces, kills and points per set.
Hurricanes sophomore Dewi Weber, the 2016 NCAA runner-up, is from the Netherlands, and now Miami has signed another Dutch standout, Roos Haarman, who will join the team next season.