Florida International U

This is how the FIU Panthers’ C.J. Worton caught the attention of pro scouts last week

Butch Davis on his team: “We got off to a good”

FIU Panthers head coach Butch Davis talks to media after the first day of spring football practice at Florida International University on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in Miami.
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FIU Panthers head coach Butch Davis talks to media after the first day of spring football practice at Florida International University on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in Miami.

Ten FIU players worked out for pro scouts last week Tuesday, and the most impressive appears to have been wide receiver C.J. Worton.

A former South Dade High standout who played 13 games in three years for the Florida Gators before transferring, Worton caught the attention of scouts by running the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds.

“I was happy with the number,” Worton said. “I’ve run even faster in training, but that was my fastest official timing.”

In March of 2018, Worton ran a 4.48 in the 40 as timed by FIU coaches. He then played his one FIU season, catching 37 passes and leading the Panthers in receiving yards (627) and receiving touchdowns (six).

Then, immediately following FIU’s Bahamas Bowl victory, Worton started working with ex-Miami Hurricanes strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey.

“His reputation speaks for itself,” Worton said of Swasey. “We’ve been working every day for (nearly three) months. We worked on my running form. I’m a faster player overall, not just in the 40.”

Worton, 23, joked that he got this fast because — as a kid — he would annoy his two older brothers and run away. JJ Worton, 27, played wide receiver at Central Florida and briefly in the NFL. Cody Worton, 30, was a safety for the Gators.

On Tuesday, besides the 40, Worton also did 11 reps on the bench press with the standard 225 pounds. He posted a 33-inch vertical leap and had his hands and arms measured.

From there, he did cone drills to test his change of directions, and he caught passes from former Marshall University quarterback Rakeem Cato.

“I was very fortunate to get him to throw to me,” Worton said of Cato, who played at Miami Central High. “He threw a beautiful ball all day.”

Besides Worton, the other FIU players who worked out for scouts were offensive linemen Kai Absheer and Jordan Budwig; defensive linemen Jermaine Sheriff, Anthony Johnson and Milord Juste; defensive backs Tyree Johnson, Emmanuel Lubin and Lewlin Irving and punter Stone Wilson.

FIU coach Butch Davis said 23 of the 32 NFL teams were present for Panthers “pro day.” In addition, scouts from other circuits, such as the Canadian Football League, were also present.

“That’s awesome,” Davis said, “because not everybody gets the opportunity to play in the NFL. Sometimes a player may need one or two years of experience before he’s ready for the NFL.”

Davis raved about Worton first and then Wilson. Some scouts might not have been too excited about scouting a punter, Davis said, at least initially.

“But after about three kicks,” Davis said, “guys were grabbing their stop-watches and seeing 4.7 hang-times, 53 yards …”

THIS AND THAT

Lubin, a 6-1, 190-pouner, was impressive in the weight room, benching 225 pounds 18 times.

Davis said scouts like the versatility of Budwig and Absheer, who have shown they can play multiple positions on the offensive line.

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