Cyprien making a splash early in Jacksonville

Credit Rick Wilson/Jacksonville Jaguars

Before the 2012 college football season, not too many people outside of the Sun Belt Conference knew the name Johnathan Cyprien. The FIU standout increased his stock despite having played his senior season during one of the worst ever for the young football program. The squad finished the abysmal season with a 3-9 overall record, including a 2-6 record in their final season in the conference. Cyprien continued to shine during the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., in late Jan., and at the NFL Combine in late March.

 Hard work led the six-foot tall, 220-pound safety from North Miami Beach High School to just barely miss out on being a first-round draft pick. Cyprien was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first pick in the second round, becoming the highest draft pick ever out of FIU.

 Cyprien is one of the most decorated Panthers of all-time, his name shows up countless times in the FIU record book.Some of the records he holds include: total tackles (365), solo tackles (213) and forced fumbles (6). Cyprien also logged in 45 starts at safety, the most at that position. The 45 starts are third all-time regardless of position.

 While at optional team activities (OTA’s), Cyprien expressed his excitement about representing FIU at the professional level.

“As of right now I’m working with the first team defense,” Cyprien said. “I am excited to show what I can do at this level and prove that I am worth where I was taken (in the draft.) It is great that I will get to represent FIU at the next level.”

 Cyprien, who wore the number seven during his tenure at FIU, recently had to change his number to 37. His former number is one that cannot be worn at the safety position in the NFL. According to league rules, defensive backs are only permitted to wear jersey numbers 20-49.

 Cyprien is not the first player to go into the AFC South division out of the Panther football program. T.Y. Hilton, who was a rookie sensation and arguably the greatest Panther football player of all-time, was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round just last year. Cyprien will now have to face his former teammate twice a year. Their first meeting as opponents will be on Sept. 29, in Jacksonville.

 “He (T.Y.) was one of the first people I talked to leading into the draft and after I got selected by the Jags in April,”Cyprien stated. “I am looking forward to playing him and challenging him to do better just as I know he is going to do to me. That is a matchup that I know will be an important one to me, but I won’t let my past with him get in the way of playing my best and helping my team to win.”

His last season at FIU left a sour taste in Cyprien’s mouth and he does not want to  continue to lose at such a high level.Cyprien also had some advice for his former teammates who remain at FIU.

 “I was disappointed in the way my senior campaign went there and I am going to make sure that I don’t let myself be involved with that kind of season because I will be doing whatever I have to, to help my team win,” Cyprien added. “All I can say to the guys who are still there (at FIU) as they go into a new conference with a new coach is to buy into what the coaches are selling. That is what we did with Coach Cristobal when I was there and we were winning and with Coach Turner and his staff coming in with the experience that they have it just adds to the fact that they have to buy in to the system that they have brought to the university.”

About the Author

Rhys Williams
: Sports Director, Class of 2016, Physical Education: Coaching (Major), Communication Arts (Minor), Sports Enthusiast with a Focus on Football and Track & Field.

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