Change of scenery: graduate transfer Pharoah McKever primed to become key component for Panthers

Celine Burton / FIU Athletics

By Brett Shweky/Sports Director


Tight end Pharoah McKever, who came to FIU as a graduate transfer, looks to establish himself as one of the top receiving options for the Panthers this season.

The former North Carolina State Wolfpack member decided to continue his collegiate career with the Panthers after he completed his eligibility with the program.

During his time with the Wolfpack, McKever saw limited playing time but still showed at times that he could be a force.

When McKever first entered the program, he decided to redshirt and was slotted as a wide receiver. However the coaching staff felt that he could make more of a presence on the defensive line so was moved to that position soon after.

In his redshirt freshman season McKever managed to execute on of the most exciting plays of the year for the Wolfpack when he dropped back into coverage as a defensive linemen and picked off a pass and returned the interception for a touchdown.

The following year, prior to N.C. State’s bowl game, he was moved to his current position of tight end and ended up receiving an 82-yard touchdown pass in the Belk Bowl, the eleventh longest reception in program history.

In his final season for the Wolfpack, McKever was mainly restricted to the special teams unit. The lone single highlight from his redshirt junior season was a blocked fourth quarter punt against Notre Dame which was recovered and returned for the winning touchdown.

Now with the Panthers, McKever is primed to step in as a potential replacement for former tight end Jonnu Smith, who was drafted 100th overall this past year by the Tennessee Titans.

McKever, who has only played three games so far for the Panthers, discussed how picking up the first win of his FIU career was a special moment for him and how he hopes to build off the current momentum going forward.

“It felt good. You know me being the new kid on the block and with me coming to a new program, I’m still trying to get accustomed with everything,” said the graduate transfer. “To go out there as team with all the different circumstances we had to go through and manage to pull out the tough win, it felt really good.”

The tight end transfer went on to say that his shortened Training Camp has had an effect on his slow start to the season, however explained that he is going to continue to work on the steps necessary for him to excel.

“You know just keep going out there and continue to practice and work on things as much as possible. To be honest for camp I was only out there for about five weeks and then we jumped into normal practice, so the overall chemistry with Alex [McGough] and the team will continue to grow from practicing and key moments throughout games,” said McKever.

The Tabor City native went to South Columbus High School and played quarterback and safety under head coach Jake Fonvielle.

During his tenure with the Stallions, McKever and his team managed to achieve 32-8 career record and even reached the state semifinals. He concluded his career by receiving a Region’s Defensive Player of the Year award by the Wilmington Star-News and also was a three time All-Waccamaw Conference selection.

McKever will be back in action for the Panthers this Saturday on Sep. 30 as FIU plays host to the Charlotte 49ers from Riccardo Silva Stadium at 7 p.m.

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