FIU football coach Butch Davis discusses the fall season
They weren’t the biggest names in recruiting, but three FIU Panthers freshmen have emerged as contributors this fall.
Offensive guard Sione Finau of Texas, H-back Kamareon Williams of Delray Beach and defensive end David Reynolds from Nashville are the three freshmen set to make an impact this season as of now, according to coach Butch Davis.
None of those three players were ranked among FIU’s top four recruits in this class — but that hasn’t stopped them.
“Sione is battling to be second team at guard, and that’s really good for a true freshman,” Davis said. “Kamareon is doing an excellent job on special teams, and Reynolds is running on the second team at defensive end.”
With just over a week before FIU kicks off its 2019 season with a Thursday night game against host Tulane on Aug. 29 in New Orleans, Davis also mentioned a pair of second-year players who have improved tremendously since last fall: 6-2 cornerback Jamal Anderson from South Dade High and 6-1 corner Jesson Walker of Rockledge.
Davis also praised three redshirt sophomores: linebackers Tevin Jones and Jamal Gates and offensive lineman Mershawn Miller.
WINT BIDDING FOR NFL
Former FIU linebacker Anthony Wint has a strong chance to make the New York Jets roster. Last Thursday, in an exhibition game against the Atlanta Falcons, Wint — formerly of Homestead High — had a sack and recovered a fumble.
James Burgess, another ex-Homestead High player who is also competing for a Jets linebacker job, had a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Falcons.
Wint and Burgess both moved up on the depth chart following the ACL injury that will knock Jets starting linebacker Avery Williamson out for the season.
“Anthony is 100 percent committed to football,” Davis said. “He’s a guy you can count on, and, even when I talked to him over the summer, he felt he had a chance to make the Jets regardless of injuries to other players.”
Also in the Falcons game, former FIU wide receiver C.J. Worton — an undrafted rookie free agent — caught two passes for 20 yards against the Jets.
Other ex-FIU players on NFL rosters include four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (Colts); safety and tight end Jonnu Smith, a projected starter with the Titans who is currently out due to a knee injury.
At least five more ex-FIU players are battling to make NFL rosters as backups: quarterback Alex McGough (Jaguars); tight end Paroah McKever (Packers); offensive tackle Dieugot Joseph (Falcons); cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon (Eagles); and safety Johnathan Cyprien (Eagles).
In addition, cornerback Richard Leonard has been playing in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tiger Cats since his big-time rookie year of 2017, when he intercepted seven passes.