Florida International U

At 6-foot-4, he is FIU’s tallest safety. Now he is bidding for playing time as freshman

FIU defensive back Dorian Hall.
FIU defensive back Dorian Hall. FIU

Dorian Hall and Olin Cushion III are two of several safeties competing for starting jobs at FIU, and they couldn’t be more different in a couple of major ways.

Hall, a redshirt freshman, is set to get his first collegiate action on Sept. 1, when the Panthers open their season against the visiting Indiana Hoosiers.

Cushion, a 5-8, 175-pound junior from Miami Central, has played 10 games for FIU, making one interception.

Aside from being less experienced, Hall, at 6-4, 190 pounds, is also a whopping eight inches taller than Cushion. Hall is also seven inches taller than Tyree Johnson and five inches taller than Richard Dames, two other safety candidates.

FIU coach Butch Davis compared Hall to former NFL safety Merton Hanks, who won a Super Bowl and was a four-time All-Pro in a stellar nine-year career. Hanks was listed at 6-2, 185 pounds as a player.

“It gives you some advantage,” Davis said when asked about Hall’s height. “He has a gigantic wingspan. He has also improved dramatically from last season, and he is alternating in and out [with the first team].

“Two safeties are not enough. Last year, we played some defenses with three safeties, taking out a linebacker.”

THIS AND THAT

FIU redshirt senior defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, who tied for the team lead last year with seven sacks, sees a potential position change for himself next year.

At 6-3 and 285 pounds, Johnson could play defensive end if he can get drafted or signed by an NFL team.

“I keep bothering [FIU defensive line coach Kenny Holmes] about playing end,” Johnson said. “He said he might throw me in here and there, but it seems like I will play mostly tackle.”

Ike Brown, FIU’s top cornerback, said wide receivers C.J. Worton and Austin Maloney have been his toughest teammates to cover. “I have been having a lot of challenges with C.J.,” Brown said. “He’s a very fast guy.”

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