FIU coach Butch Davis says their defeat against the Miami Hurricane will only make their team better
The game against the Miami Hurricanes was already out of hand in the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, but FIU wide receiver CJ Worton wasn’t ready to give in just yet.
“I don’t stop playing until the clock says zero,” Worton said.
So he kept battling.
And the former Florida Gators wide receiver ended up turning heads in the process during the Panthers’ 31-17 loss to the crosstown Hurricanes. Worton caught two touchdown passes in the final seven minutes and finished with a game-high 123 yards on five catches.
“CJ, he’s a phenomenal receiver,” quarterback James Morgan said. “He went up and got those two at the end. I was like ‘All right. This is pretty nice for a quarterback.’”
It was a pretty nice feeling for Worton, too, who is attempting to make the most of his final season of college football.
The fifth-year senior and former South Dade standout sat out the 2017 season after transferring to FIU from Florida. Worton has one last chance to make an impression on the field. He doesn’t plan to waste it.
“You definitely feel more pressure to take advantage of this one,” Worton said.
So far, it’s working out.
Four weeks in to the season, Worton is averaging 21 yards per catch, a mark that leads the Conference USA and is 12th nationally among players with at least 10 catches. Six of his 14 catches have gone for at least 20 yards. Half of those came against the Hurricanes on Saturday.
“The plays that he made [Saturday] do not come as a surprise,” FIU coach Butch Davis said. “He is a very, very good receiver and we are glad to have him.”
Worton’s road to FIU started at the University of Florida, where he signed as a three-star prospect out of South Dade. However, Worton primarily served as a reserve receiver for his first three seasons there. Outside of a highlight touchdown catch in the 2015 SEC Championship Game, the Homestead native spent the bulk of his time at UF on the sidelines either buried on the depth chart or hampered with injury. His final totals in three years at Florida: 10 catches, 126 yards, two touchdowns.
He announced following his junior season that he intended to transfer.
That decision brought him closer to home with an opportunity from Davis and FIU. He sat out the 2017 season and spent his time on the scout team, working against a young defense that needed to grow up fast.
“He gave them fits every single day,” Davis said. “He didn’t just punch the clock, go through the motions and say ‘OK, my season is next season.’ He worked on his craft.”
So much so that Davis put Worton on full scholarship for this season, making the announcement during a team meeting in June.
He’s making the most of his final opportunity.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a top-caliber player,” Worton said. “I’m really lucky to have this second chance and for coach Davis to believe in me and let me come here and be part of the team. He made it real clear that I would have to earn everything that I’ve been given. I think I’ve done a really good job of taking the ownership for that.”