By Brett Shweky/Sports Director
History was made for the Panthers’ football program, as Alex McGough became the first-ever FIU quarterback to be selected in the NFL draft.
McGough was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 220th pick in the seventh round, and will likely fight for the backup spot for starter and Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson.
With the selection, he became the eighth Panther in school history to be drafted and also gives FIU two consecutive years with a player selected. Last season, tight end Jonnu Smith was a third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in the 2017 draft.
“Thank you to FIU and all the coaches that believed in me and trusted me to go out and win games,” said McGough. “I would also like to thank my family and support staff for the consistent love and support. I feel honored to have the opportunity to play for a great organization like Seattle. I’m ready to come in and learn from a great like Russell Wilson and help the team win ball games.”
As a four year starter for the Panthers, he ends his career as the school’s all-time career leader in touchdown passes (65) and second in career completions (806) and passing yards (9,091). McGough is also tied with former running back Julian Reams for sixth all-time in career rushing touchdowns (11).
In his final season, the four-year starter led the team to an 8-5 record, while also bringing the Panthers back to a bowl game for the first time since 2011. The former Panther ranked in the top five in Conference USA in passing yards per game (215.2) and also passing efficiency (142.8). He also set a single-season school record for total offense with 3,029 yards.
“I couldn’t be happier for Alex. His passion, leadership, and performance last year was incredible,” said Panthers’ head coach Butch Davis, who is a former assistant and head coach in the NFL. “He played a huge role in our team’s success, and he absolutely earned his opportunity to play in the NFL.”
During his time with the program, he overcame significant adversity to establish himself as a potential pro prospect.
McGough hit a road bump when he suffered a broken collarbone in his final collegiate game, the Gasparilla Bowl. After running for a 17-yard pick up on the third offensive play of the bowl game, he was unable to return due to the injury.
The injury, however, didn’t derail his thought process on potentially reaching the professional level.
“I feel the injury made me focus more on my training for this,” said McGough, following his Pro Day workout. “I think the injury made me a tougher person mentally then I was previously.”
Regardless of the injury, the Tampa, FL native began to trend up team’s prospect boards, as he visited with eight teams before the draft. McGough most notably met with the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, and the Seattle Seahawks.
The former Panther even received high praise from league analysts prior to the draft.
“McGough looks like a professional. He has a prototype body and can really move. Played under Butch Davis so he has been taught like a pro,” said NFL analyst and former quarterback Phil Simms via Twitter.
With the draft now over, McGough must prepare to fight for a spot on the 58 man roster. The backup quarterback competition will also include former Miami Hurricane Stephen Morris and former Southern Miss Golden Eagle Austin Davis.
Following his first day at the Seahawks’ Rookie Minicamp, the Seattle coaching staff was impressed with his early performance.
“Probably the surprise of the day was Alex. I thought Alex did a very nice job,” said head coach Pete Carroll to the media. “He showed really good arm strength. We know that he’s very mobile.”