Butch Davis’ new challenge: recruiting in South Florida

Alexander Del Valle // Contributing Writer 

After signing a five-year contract to coach FIU football, newly hired Head Coach Butch Davis expressed how enthusiastic he was about his decision.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be the head coach at FIU,” Davis said. “I love this opportunity. I am grateful to be here.”

Quarterback Alex McGough said he is ready to work with Davis.

Coach Davis is passionate about FIU,” McGough said. “When he met with the team, you could tell that he wants to be here and that he believes in us. I’m excited to play for him next year.”

Davis earned a 51-20 record during his time as head coach of the University of Miami; he also led the charge in securing some of South Florida’s top talent while coach at the U, including Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Andre Johnson and Clinton Portis.

The head coach said recruiting in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade is on his agenda now.

“I don’t care about the name of the school they all go to,” he said. “Were going to get some of those [players] and we just have to draw a fence and keep local kids and make them passionate that they want to be apart of this program.”

It’s easier than done since FIU is currently ranked 82nd on rivals.com, a national recruiting site, in the 2017 team rankings. But Davis’ desire of putting up a fence and locking athletes into the Panther way is actually in full effect with the current coaching staff ; nine of the 13 kids that are expected to attend FIU on football scholarships reside in Miami-Dade and Broward county.

There is more to college recruiting than just sending a sealed envelope with a scholarship enclosed; building a relationship with a recruit, maintaining and nurturing that relationship during the recruiting process means the world to a high school player who wants to continue on his path toward a hopeful future in the NFL.

But Davis knows what it takes to be a successful recruiter because while coaching at University of North Carolina, he and his staff were able to put together three recruiting classes that would be ranked in the top 30 with his highest ranking coming in 2009 when the tar heels recruiting class came in at No. 9 on rivals.

FIU football, however, has a long way to go. But South Florida is the breeding ground of some of the best athletes in the country. So if Davis can convince these young recruits to play for FIU, there’s a possibility that FIU football will be put on the map.

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