Jaymz Cosme | Staff Writer
The first of the two announcements came earlier in the day from James on Instagram.
Standing at 6-3, James joined the team in 2021 and was ranked a three-star prospect by 247Sports coming out of high school. Over his three year tenure, he started 12 games and totaled 2,342 passing yards.
Most of his offensive production came in the 2022 season, as he started in ten of the 11 games he appeared in. That season he threw for 1,962 yards and 11 touchdowns, as his play dictated the result of the game.
In games where James had at least three all-purpose touchdowns, FIU was undefeated and held a 4-0 record that season. If he turned the ball over, they struggled to win, as they held a 1-6 record whenever he threw any interceptions.
Despite starting the first game of the 2023 season, he only made two more appearances in 2023. After passing for four yards in the season opener, he was benched for freshman quarterback Keyone Jenkins and saw limited time off the bench.
Appearing in 20 games over three years, James saw the least playing time in 2023 and opted to enter the transfer portal only one week after the season’s conclusion.
Mitchell’s announcement was the second of the two and came later in the day on his Instagram.
Measuring in at 6-1, Mitchell joined the team in 2019 and was redshirted in his freshman season. Since 2020, he made 38 appearances for the team and started in 25 games.
In 2023, he started all 12 of the Panthers’ games and shouldered a majority of their offensive load. That season, he set the program’s new single-season record for receiving yards and collected 1,118 yards.
Beyond setting school records, he also finished the season with the thirteenth most receiving yards in the FBS. Ranking among the top receivers in the country, he proved himself to be more than a school standout, but a national standout.
Acting as Jenkins’ default target, whenever FIU needed scoring, Mitchell would find an opportunity.
Against the Maine Black Bears, Mitchell tallied 201 yards, two touchdowns and tied FIU’s single-game receiving yards record. In their final road game against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Mitchell finished with six catches for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Over his five year career with the school, he totaled 1,663 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. With the majority of his production coming in 2023, the Panthers will have a hole to fill at wide receiver.
As two of FIU’s offensive contributors announced their departure, they’re left with many questions to address in the offseason.
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