FIU senior quarterback James Morgan describes expectations for this season
The FIU athletic director, speaking to the Miami Herald during Sunday’s “Meet the Panthers” event, said discussions are underway to honor school alumnus and four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts.
“We’d like T.Y. to be the first player in our ‘Ring of Honor,’” Garcia said. “We’re trying to decide exactly where [the Ring of Honor] is going to go in our stadium, and we’re having discussions with him.
“It will probably happen this year. The retiring of his jersey is also something we want to discuss with him.”
Hilton scored a touchdown the very first time he touched the ball for FIU — on a 75-yard punt return as a freshman against Kansas in 2008. He went on to break several FIU reception records for career yards, catches and touchdowns and more.
Current FIU wide receiver Maurice Alexander, who made first-team All-Conference USA last year as a punt returner, knows all about what Hilton accomplished for the Panthers.
“He set the standard here as a great, explosive player,” Alexander said. “When people think of FIU, they think of T.Y. Hilton. It would feel good to put up some of the numbers he put up.”
That quest for Alexander — and other goals for a team coming off a program-best nine-win season — will begin Thursday night in the season opener in New Orleans against the Tulane Green Wave.
Tulane prides itself on its defense, a unit that returns eight starters and ranked fourth in the American Athletic Conference in yards allowed last year. Tulane had 41 sacks, including seven in a 441-24 Cure Bowl win over Louisiana.
“They blitz a lot — inside linebackers, guys in the secondary — and bring a lot of pressure,” FIU coach Butch Davis said. “They’re going to challenge our protections.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Sunday’s event, which was created for fans to meet the players and get photos and autographs, was scheduled for the football field but was moved to a setting under the stadium due to rain.
“We want to create a lot more excitement about our football program,” Davis said.
▪ Davis, 67, who has three years left on his original five-season contract, will coach at FIU “hopefully for a very long time,” Garcia said.