It looks like the FIU Panthers have found another winning quarterback.
The Panthers, who helped send Alex McGough to the NFL Draft this past April and have Conference USA’s Newcomer of the Year James Morgan as their current quarterback, are set to sign Nashville pro-style passer Stone Norton on Dec. 19.
Norton, a 6-3, 190-pounder who is ranked the No. 2 quarterback in Tennessee, just wrapped up his senior season, leading Davidson Academy to an undefeated record and a state title.
Davidson, which entered the championship game leading the state by averaging 53.5 points per game, defeated defending champ Friendship Christian 39-27 on Nov. 30.
Norton, named the state’s Division II-A Mr. Football, passed for 377 yards and four touchdowns to lead Davidson (13-0) over Friendship. Norton completed 19-of-30 passes and was named MVP of the state final.
It was Davidson’s first state title in 10 years and its first unbeaten season ever.
Norton — who had offers from Yale, Temple, and other schools — was coached in high school by Jonathan Quinn, who played quarterback in the NFL.
FIU’s starting job at quarterback will swing open in 2020. Morgan has one more year of eligibility remaining, but, after that, Norton would likely battle Caleb Lynum (Class of 2018) and Kaylan Wiggins (Class of 2017).
Norton is not the only standout recruit who has vowed to sign with FIU on Dec. 19. Here’s a look at the rest of the players on the team’s commitment list:
▪ Lexington Joseph, a 5-6, 170-pound running back from Miami Central, had offers from Buffalo, FAU, East Carolina, and Boston College.
He was spectacular on Nov. 16, when he ran for 270 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-21 playoff win over an outstanding Carol City team.
Central coach Roland Smith compared Joseph to former Rockets star running backs, such as Davonta Freeman, a two-time Pro Bowl star for the Atlanta Falcons; Dalvin Cook, drafted in the second round last year by the Minnesota Vikings; and Anthony Jones, now at FIU.
For the season, Joseph ran for 1,658 yards, a 7.9 average, and 16 touchdowns. Including receptions, he had 1,850 scrimmage yards, 19 touchdowns, and a pair of two-point conversions.
▪ FIU has landed two players from Jacksonville Mandarin: 6-1, 170-pound wide receiver Kris Mitchell and 6-0, 185-pound safety Deshaun Davis. Together, they led Mandarin from 2-8 in 2017 to a state title win over Miami Columbus on Dec. 8. That stands as the first major-sport state title in Mandarin history.
Mitchell, who had offers from Connecticut and Colorado State, benefited from quarterback Carson Beck, who is a University of Alabama recruit.
But the reverse is also true. In a 45-31 state semifinal win over Sarasota Riverview, Mitchell turned a short Beck pass into a 91-yard TD. Mitchell finished with seven catches for 197 yards. Against Columbus, he had seven catches for 118 yards.
Davis, who had offers from UAB and Troy, is known as a big hitter.
“I’m not the fastest,” Davis said, “but I have good speed, I can cover, and I can play in the box.”
▪ Wide receiver Nate Jefferson, a 5-11, 170-pounder from Longwood Lyman, had offers from Air Force, Appalachian State, and others. He was the MVP of the 2017 Central Florida Combine.
▪ Tight end Joseph Hocker, a 6-6, 235-pounder from Cincinnati Deer Park, showed his athleticism as a junior when he won a state title in basketball, compiling a combined 28 points and 20 rebounds in the state semifinals and final.
Hocker, who also plays defensive end in football, had offers from Akron, Bowling Green, and other mid-majors.