National signing day 2017 preview

FIU Football HelmetPhoto by PantherNOW

Peter Holland, Jr. // Staff Writer 

With National Signing Day approaching, an annual event when college recruits all over the country sign their letter of intent to play at the next level, head coach Butch Davis and his coaching staff are making some last minute visits and phone calls before Feb. 1 when the recruits make their final decision.

So far, some high school recruits are all in with the system Davis is creating. The Panthers have 25 verbal commits, 24 from Florida, and is ranked number two in Conference USA in recruiting.  Despite a competitive market in recruiting Florida, Davis focused the entire recruiting process on local players with the hopes of convincing them to stay home.

“Where would you rather be in trying to recruit and build a football program than in Florida?” asked Davis.

“The talent level in this state gives you a chance. So is it going to happen overnight and we go 12-0 next year? I love it to be and we are going to try to be, but it’s going to take a little bit of time but of those programs can do it, there’s no reason we can’t do it.”

Davis has been very busy as soon as he got hired a few months ago with assembling his staff, meeting his new players that are returning, and recruiting.  With high expectations in turning this program around, Davis is looking toward the future in rebuilding the football program and making it a powerhouse.

“Everything in every program is a process,” said Davis. “It takes some time to do it. It starts with building a great assistant coaching staff. That’s the first block of the foundation. You get great coaches that can teach.”

Davis has brought in a why-not-us mentality to FIU with a plan of bringing everyone with ties to the campus together in one stadium and with confidence in taking the football program to an elite level. Davis has mentioned that in order to do so, it starts with selling the fan base and convincing them to support the program.

“It has happened in a lot of places,” said Davis. “We got over 54,000 undergraduate students here and a quarter million students in Dade and Broward county graduates that live here. Why can’t we build the enthusiasm, the fan base and the electric energy for us to have a great football program?”

One of Davis’ assistants, defensive coordinator Brent Guy, understood Davis’ vision first hand before he got hired.

“The pieces that are in place here are farther ahead of what we were there,” said Guy. “We didn’t have the recruiting area here in South Florida than in Boise, Idaho. We had to go other places in long distance to get those kids.”

Guy wasn’t around to coach Boise State University as a national football powerhouse as it is now, but as a two-time conference champion for the Broncos, Guy believes it’s plausible for FIU to be the next Boise State of the south.

“We did not have the weight room and some of the facilities as big and diverse as this is. Not saying disparagingly by Boise St, we won two conference championships there. In my case, I have seen it and I know it can be done. I wouldn’t have come here if I did not believe we have the things in place to get that done.”

National Signing Day will be all day beginning on Feb.1.

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