Florida International U

FIU Panthers try to recover with new recruiting class

The fact that the FIU football team needs a lot of help heading into next season is not a secret.

Last season’s record of 1-11 shouts that out loud and clear.

The Panthers and coach Ron Turner took what they hope is a step in the right direction Wednesday on National Signing Day.

If nothing else, the volume of players was certainly fine, with 26 players signing as Panthers.

It’s just a matter of whether quality also joins that quantity in an attempt to turn the program around.

First, in announcing the new class, Turner referred to his returnees.

“They are working because they want to,” Turner said. “They are transforming their bodies.”

Then he referred to the new class.

“Something special is coming,” Turner said.

Last year, FIU suffered all sorts of offensive woes, ranging from injuries, to mental mistakes to just being outmatched physically.

With that hopefully behind him and a brighter future approaching him Wednesday, Turner said he concentrated on recruiting linemen.

“The foundation of a team is up front,” Turner said.

Of the 26 players added Wednesday, 14 play offense and 12 play defense. All but one of the players come from Florida, with 14 of them being from South Florida.

Notably, the offense appears to be adding some considerable heft on the line.

That would include the biggest of the newcomers, Josh Deuyour of Hollywood Hills, who checks in at 6-9 and 325 pounds.

Also adding to the weight up front is Kai Absheer of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas at 6-5, 310 and Chris Miller of Orlando First Academy at 6-4, 310.

Those three will be joined by Breht Joly (6-4, 295) of Oviedo Hagerty and Daquane Wilkie (6-3, 265) of Orlando Oak Ridge.

Presumably, the three new quarterbacks joining FIU’s 2014 roster will be reassured by the size of the people protecting them.

Two of those quarterbacks — Alex McGough of Tampa Gaither and Bud Martin of Fort Lauderdale Dillard — were already enrolled and have been taking classes and acclimating themselves to the FIU campus. They will count as part of the 2013 signing class.

Another quarterback signing is Luke Medlock, the brother of Jake Medlock, who played quarterback for FIU and was the team’s top punter but is transferring to Valdosta State.

Nevertheless, Luke will have a familiar face on the team — older brother Sam, who is a long snapper.

All the quarterbacks are capable or will become capable of running Turner’s West Coast-style offense.

The quarterbacks will have a talented receiver to throw to in Dennis Turner of Fort Lauderdale Dillard, a one-time University of Miami recruit.

Turner scored 10 touchdowns and had 54 catches in his final two seasons at Dillard.

The receiver will be happily renewing acquaintances with ex-Dillard teammate Martin.

FIU will try to shore things up on defense with a plethora of defensive backs — Bobby Stinson of Miami Springs, Mark Bruno of Pembroke Pines Flanagan, Shemarke Spence of Miami Northwestern, Jermaine Sheriff of Hialeah and Tyree Johnson of Carol City.

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