A strong receiving corps can be the key to FIU football’s resurgence next season.
The Panthers will presumably return Glenn Coleman and Willis Wright, both of which were ineligible last season due to academic reasons, redshirt sophomore T.J. Lowder, in addition to adding University of Miami decommit Dennis Turner.
Coleman and Wright have already expressed through Twitter that they have improved their grades and will suit up this upcoming season.
“Grades was better than I thought” tweeted Coleman. When Fall Term grades were released, he tweeted, “It feel good looking at them grades.”
Wright tweeted, “Got My Grades Back, All I Want To Say Is, DEAR GOD–THANK YOU!!!”
The Turner Era
Turner, who has already drawn comparisons to FIU great T.Y Hilton, is a product of Fort Lauderdale Dillard High and is rated a three star recruit by 247Sports.
Though UM recruited 5-11, 175-pound Turner as a defensive back, he averaged 21.1 yards per catch as a wide receiver and scored 10 touchdowns on 54 catches during his junior and senior years at Fort Lauderdale Dillard.
For some recruits, FIU’s horrific 1-11 season this past year could diminish their interest. This was not the case for Turner, he experienced similar growing pains when it came to winning during his first couple of years in high school.
“I’m ok with it [FIU’s struggles last year] my first two years at Dillard we went 3-7 and 2-8,”
Turner said. “So I know how to deal with that.”
Turner’s experience on less-than stellar teams could prove beneficial as he knows what it takes to turn the misfortunes around. Dillard went 8-4 this past season, and 6-6 the year before that.
“It’s gonna take a team effort, no one man can take on a game by himself. Everyone has to believe in coach Turner’s plan. ” Turner said. “I do, but I’m gonna try to build chemistry with the team so I can have a bond with teammates. I can’t just go in there with cold feet and know no one it’s going to be chaos.”
Lowder is another 5-11 speed guy that can burn you down field. He along with Turner will give opposing defenses fits, and will spread the field for an inevitable improvement in a lackluster FIU running game.
Lowder was second on the team in catches (24) and yards (307) last season, but led in touchdown receptions (3).
The return of the giants
Coleman and Wright are the giants of the group, both standing at 6-foot-2. They were supposed to be the two-headed monster that no defensive back unit wanted to match up against last year, but, we all know what happened there. This season, though, that dream can become a reality.
Wright, FIU’s first four-star recruit on offense, would have been FIU’s leading returning receiver last year. He capped off the 2012 season with a solid 25 catches for 633 yards and five touchdowns.
The potential unit of Coleman, Wright, Lowder and Turner can provide the Panthers with the scoring punch that they lacked throughout the entire 2013 season. FIU ranked 96th nationally in yards per completion last year.