Cyprien projected as second-round pick in NFL draft


(Jasen Delgado-FIUSM)

Jonathan Jacobskind/staff writer

Johnathan Cyprien is on the verge of turning his dream into a reality.

The 6-foot-1, 210 pound strong safety is working tirelessly with an intensive workout regiment just months away from the 2013 NFL Draft. The bone-crushing safety is set to raise the bar T.Y. Hilton left in last year’s draft who was selected in the third round as the 96th pick by the Indianapolis Colts.

According to ESPN’s pre-draft analysis, Cyprien, who’s the all-time leader in tackles for the Panthers with 353, is projected to go as high as early second round.

“I’ve been training every day of the week, just working really hard,” Cyprien said.

In response whether or not he has heard from any NFL team, FIU’s leading tackler is solely taking care of what only he can control and letting things play out.

Cyprien has graced the FIU football program for the previous four years not only with his abilities on the gridiron, but as humble leader both on and off the field.

“He is a great leader on the field and the locker room, and he’s an extremely hard worker,” said Markeith Russell, teammate and linebacker. “All throughout college he has done exactly what has been asked of him and never takes any short cuts and always puts in the extra work.”

Despite a 3-9 season where FIU missed out on the possibility of three straight bowl game appearances, Cyprien did not show any signs of slowing down as he lead the Panthers with 93 tackles and four interceptions.

Cyprien certainly lived up to all the preseason season expectations as he was voted Blue Ribbon’s Sun Belt Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named to the Jim Thorpe Award 2012 Preseason Watch List for the nation’s best defensive back.

After a standout senior year, Cyprien was named to the Bleacher Report’s national ‘Best of the Rest’ Preseason Defense First-Team, which landed him an invite to the annual 2013 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. With scouts from all 32 NFL teams, Cyprien lived up to the hype after a stellar performance where he registered five total tackles, two of which were solo tackles.

Cyprien will be joining teammate Tourek Williams as the pair of Panthers will showcase their speed, strength and skill at the NFL Combine on Feb. 23-26 in Indianapolis, Ind.

FIU kicker Sergio Sroka isn’t sure where Cyprien will land, but knows he is going to be a good addition anywhere.

“I really don’t know where he will get drafted, but he is very enthusiastic and is a team leader,” Sroka said.

Cyprien’s talent begs no question, but the possible teams who are interested in services of this local product out of North Miami Beach, still remains up in the air.

According to starting quarterback Jake Medlock, he can almost guarantee that by drafting his former teammate, that lucky NFL team will receive an NFL-ready, highly talented, athletic specimen out of Cyprien.

“He is very athletic and does not receive enough credit for how athletic he actually is,” said Medlock. “He is an amazing open-field tackler and does not let anyone get by him in the open field. Some of his qualities rubbed off on me as he has taught me how to be a better leader and stay humble and never give up no matter how tough things get.”