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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Florida International
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  SEPT 28 CONFERENCE USA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: FIU sophomore KR Lexington "Flex" Joseph opened FIU's 2020 campaign with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, as the sophomore tied a school record in the process and put the Panthers up 7-0 at Liberty last Saturday. Overall, the Miami native finished the game with 255 yards in kickoff returns, earning a 42.5 average per return, which ranks fourth in the nation. The 100-yard return is tied for the longest in the nation this season, while Joseph's 255 yards are the most in a single game so far in 2020. - Conference USA Football

(DS#999 RB) So/2023 RB Lexington JosephFlorida International
News Source: Conference USA Football
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  Two FIU running backs signed as undrafted free agents - Anthony Jones (Seattle Seahawks) and Napoleon Maxwell (Chicago Bears). Senior D'vonte Price will finally get a chance at being the full-time starter, although he has no less than six scholarship challengers. Price has six career starts and 960 total rushing yards. His 6.2 yards per rush is on pace to become a school record, but his 5.0 average last year reflected an overall disappointing season (just 249 yards). Maleek Williams, a transfer who rushed for 144 yards (5.3 average) with two touchdowns in two years at Arkansas, is an intriguing option. The other challengers are sophomores Lexington Joseph, Shaun Peterson and Demarcus Townsend and freshmen Kejon Owens and Eric Wilson. - Miami Herald

(DS#62 RB) Sr/2021 RB DVonte PriceFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  2020 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM (COACHES): OL D'Antne Demery, Sr., FIU,...Demery, a 6-5, 320-pound senior offensive lineman from Brunswick, Georgia, played in all 13 games last season while starting 12 times at left tackle. Demery earned All-Conference USA Honorable Mention in 2019 after aiding an offensive line that allowed just 14 sacks on the year, which tied for the fifth-lowest in the nation and led the league. - Florida International Football

(DS#41 OT) Sr/2021 OT DAntne DemeryFlorida International
News Source: Florida International Football
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  2020 OUTLAND TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: OT D'Antne Demery, FIU,...Demery, a 6-5, 320-pound senior offensive lineman from Brunswick, Georgia, played in all 13 games last season while starting 12 times at left tackle. Demery earned All-Conference USA Honorable Mention in 2019 after aiding an offensive line that allowed just 14 sacks on the year, which tied for the fifth-lowest in the nation and led the league. - FIU Football

(DS#41 OT) Sr/2021 OT DAntne DemeryFlorida International
News Source: FIU Football
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  Former Nebraska defensive back Henry Gray is the latest transfer to sign with FIU and coach Butch Davis. There are 12 Football Bowl Subdivision transfers on the current roster, including nine who were able to come back home to Florida by signing with FIU. Ex-Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager, who is from Indiana, is FIU's other transfer who arrived on campus this summer. Gray, a 6-1, 185-pound freshman, signed with the Cornhuskers in December, but he announced in May that he was leaving the Nebraska program. The reason why is unclear. Gray told the Miami Herald he "didn't want to speak on that" but did say it was for family reasons. Gray, who played the past two years for Miami Central High - winning his first state title in 2019 - said he was recruited by FIU running backs coach Tim Harris Jr. "He's been recruiting me since my sophomore year at Miramar," Gray said. "We've built a good relationship." - Miami Herald

(DS#16 FS) Fr/2024 FS Henry GrayFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  FIU had nine athletes named to Phil Steele's Preseason Conference USA All-Conference Team. The Panthers were led by First Team selection D'Antne Demery. Demery, a 6-5, 320-pound senior offensive lineman from Brunswick, Georgia, played in all 13 games last season while starting 12 times at left tackle. Demery earned All-Conference USA Honorable Mention. Demery was named to Athlon's Preseason All-Conference First Team last month. - Miami Herald

(DS#41 OT) Sr/2021 OT DAntne DemeryFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  With three key returners - cornerback Rishard Dames and safeties Richard Dames and Dorian Hall - the secondary figures to be the best part of the FIU Panthers' 2020 defense. The Dames twins, who are seniors this year, have nine combined career interceptions. Rishard led FIU last year with four picks, including a one-hander against Western Kentucky that he returned 80 yards for a touchdown. He also had a career-high 10 tackles against Florida Atlantic. Meanwhile, Richard Dames had a career high 11 tackles against Louisiana Tech, including 10 solo stops. - Miami Herald

(DS#43 FS) Sr/2021 FS Richard DamesFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  Former Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager has transferred to Florida International as a graduate student, according to report from SB Nation's Underdog Dynasty. Bortenschlager is eligible to play immediately and will have two seasons of eligibility, according to the report, after announcing his decision to leave Maryland in January. A former three-star prospect, Bortenschlager played in 19 games for Maryland, throwing for 1,522 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He started eight games in 2017 after Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome each suffered season-ending injuries, passing for 1,313 yards and 10 touchdowns, including a career-high 255 yards and three touchdowns against Northwestern as the Terps finished 4-8. - Baltimore Sun

(DS#999 QB) rSr/2021 QB Max BortenschlagerFlorida International
News Source: Baltimore Sun
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  Over the past three years, only three schools have had multiple quarterbacks drafted - reigning national champion LSU, perennial power Oklahoma … and FIU. FIU's two QBs drafted - Alex McGough in the 2018 seventh round and James Morgan in the 2020 fourth - are almost as many as the entire Atlantic Coast Conference's three passers selected during that span. To be fair, two of those ACC quarterbacks were first-rounders, including 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. Still, FIU's recent success at the position is a nice feat, especially for a mid-major program, and, once the new season gets underway, the Panthers will again be looking for a new quarterback. FIU coach Butch Davis, hired in November of 2016, will have a lot to choose from because he has signed one freshman quarterback in each of his four recruiting classes - Kaylan Wiggins in 2017, Caleb Lynum in 2018, Stone Norton in 2019 and Haden Carlson in 2020. Those four passers figure to battle for the starting job, although it's also possible that a graduate transfer could be brought in this summer. - Miami Herald

(DS#999 QB) rJr/2022 QB Kaylan WigginsFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  As a kid, Kaylan Wiggins would play tackle football in the street, without pads. "We didn't play two-hand touch," said Wiggins, who is from Sanford, located 20 miles northeast of Orlando. "You had to be tough. "If you saw you were going to get hit, you did your best to get to the grass, near the sidewalk. "Playing on the street is where I learned to make people miss because the consequences of getting hit were felt a lot more than in regular football." Those lessons from Sanford have helped shape Wiggins into, potentially, FIU's next standout quarterback. FIU's two previous starters at the position were Alex McGough, a 2018 seven-round pick who is a backup/practice-squad player for the Houston Texans; and James Morgan, who was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Jets last month.

For perspective, the Hurricanes haven't had a quarterback drafted since Brad Kaaya (sixth round, 2017). FIU, meanwhile, has had two straight starting QBs drafted, and Wiggins hopes he's next. Wiggins showed what he could do when he earned what is - so far - his only collegiate start, a 30-17 win over New Hampshire on Sept. 14. Using the make-you-miss skills he learned on the streets of Sanford, Wiggins ran for 187 yards - a school record for a quarterback - and two touchdowns. He also completed 12-of-18 passes for 127 yards, giving FIU its first win of the 2019 season. - Miami Herald


(DS#999 QB) rJr/2022 QB Kaylan WigginsFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  James Morgan's two-year run as the quarterback for the FIU Panthers was one of the most prolific in school history. Now he's the second FIU quarterback to be selected in the NFL Draft. The New York Jets took Morgan with the 19th pick of the fourth round - No. 125 overall - on Saturday in the 2020 NFL Draft. The quarterback is the ninth player in Panthers history to be selected in the Draft and the first since Houston Texans quarterback Alex McGough was a seventh-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2018 NFL Draft. "My top strength is my preparation," Morgan said. "I'm a really good leader... My biggest asset is my hard work."

McGough is the owner of most career and single-season passing records at FIU, but Morgan made a run at most of the single-season records throughout his two years in Miami. Morgan, who began his career with the Bowling Green Falcons, broke McGough's single-season record with 26 touchdown passes in 2018. Morgan also threw for 2,727 yards in 2018 before missing the Bahamas Bowl because of an injury, leaving him less than 100 yards short of McGough's single-season record of 2,791 yards. - Miami Herald


(DS#8 QB) rSr/2020 QB James MorganFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  At FIU, defensive tackle Teair Tart is one of those players who could have used a pro day to better showcase his skills. Instead, Tart - who led FIU with 12 tackles for losses last year - performed a "virtual" pro day in which he said he ran a 4.9 in the 40-yard dash with a 31-inch vertical leap, impressive numbers for a man who is 6-3 and 302 pounds. So, where does Tart expect to get selected when the draft begins Thursday? "I think I'll go between the fourth and sixth rounds," said Tart, hoping to be one of those draft surprises who can make an NFL general manager look smart. "It would be great to hear my name called. "[If not], I will live with it. I just want an opportunity." Tart is one of several ex-FIU players who hopes to get drafted this week, a list that includes quarterback James Morgan, cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver and middle linebacker Sage Lewis. In the lead-up to the draft, Tart worked in Connecticut with trainer Rob Mangino and agent Viral Keshwala. Among other things, Tart did pilates and yoga to improve his flexibility. - Miami Herald

(DS#23 DT) rSr/2020 DT Teair TartFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  Cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver, who competed in the East-West Shrine Game in January and ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February, has been getting extra attention from the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers. Both of those teams have conducted video interviews with Thomas-Oliver, who could be a late-round selection during this year's NFL Draft, set for April 23-25. "I've been getting a lot of positive feedback," Thomas Oliver said. "A lot of teams look at me as a developmental player since I've only played cornerback for two years. They believe I can play special teams while I continue to develop as a cornerback, gaining as much knowledge as possible."

Thomas-Oliver was a wide receiver until FIU coach Butch Davis moved him to cornerback for the 2018 season. That turned out to be a genius move as Thomas-Oliver started the final 11 games of FIU's 2018 season, leading the team with 10 pass-breakups. He had seven tackles, four pass-breakups and one interception that year in a breakout performance against Western Kentucky. This past season, Thomas-Oliver started all 13 of FIU's games, leading the team with eight pass-breakups. He ranked sixth on the team with 54 tackles, and he also added a pair of sacks, making second-team All-Conference USA. He scored a late invitation to the East-West Shrine Game, playing that contest "with a chip on my shoulder," he said. - Miami Herald


(DS#25 CB) Sr/2020 CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver IIIFlorida International
News Source: Miami Herald
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  So far, such teams as Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, Miami, New England, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Buffalo, New York Jets and New York Giants reportedly have shown interest in the 23-year-old Morgan. That's because the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Morgan is a prototypical NFL quarterback. Just ask Marshall University fans. The Thundering Herd managed to defeat Morgan and his FIU teammates in 2018 and 2019, but it wasn't easy. Marshall won 28-25 in 2018 at Miami and 30-27 in overtime last season in Huntington. In 2018, Morgan struggled vs. the Herd, completing 21 of 33 passes for 177 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.

But, although he fought some nagging injuries in 2019, Morgan played well in the rain and cold at Joan C. Edwards Stadium last November. The FIU star completed 21 of 37 passes for one touchdown and one interception. The interesting part about Morgan is he actually began his collegiate career at Bowling Green in 2015. Morgan was the Falcons' starting quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2016, but midway through the 2017 season he was replaced by a young quarterback whose name is very familiar to West Virginia University fans - Jarrett Doege. Doege, of course, transferred to WVU, started the Mountaineers' last four games in 2019 and is the odds-on favorite to be WVU's starting quarterback next season. - Charleston Gazette


(DS#8 QB) rSr/2020 QB James MorganFlorida International
News Source: Charleston Gazette
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  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: James Morgan, QB, Florida International,...Morgan earned the Pat Tillman Award prior to his successful week at the East-West Shrine Game, gaining national buzz from media and scouts. The QB led the Panthers to back-to-back bowl games, throwing for 40 career touchdowns at FIU to rank third all-time for the program. Morgan racked up over 5,000 career passing yards at FIU in just two seasons to also rank third, while his 143.4 passer rating with the Panthers set a new school record. - Florida International Football

(DS#8 QB) rSr/2020 QB James MorganFlorida International
News Source: Florida International Football
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