At first glance, the NCAA’s decision to extend the recruiting dead period numerous times appears to hold the FIU Panthers back from garnering commitments.
But as time has passed, it’s been the opposite for FIU.
The Panthers’ coaching staff has produced 10 commitments towards their 2021 class despite not being able to have in-person contact with recruits or their parents since April 15.
A large part of that recruiting success has come by pursuing local recruits, with eight of their commits being from the Sunshine State.
“I think the number one goal for any program in college football is to really recruit your local area well,” offensive line coach Joel Rodriguez told 305Sports. “When you are lucky like we are to be in this talent enrichment area, you have great high school programs and a lot of great players [around us.]”
Rodriguez added that if FIU continues to land plenty of top local recruits, they’ll win the C-USA Championship every year.
“It’s because of the sheer level of talent in South Florida,” he said. “High school football down here is a religion.”
And while location, head coach Butch Davis’ legendary resume, the team’s graduation rate and GPA are extremely appealing, Rodriguez acknowledges one thing that stands out the most to recruits.
The 30-24 victory over the five-time national champion Miami Hurricanes last season.
“I can see the appeal and the seriousness that prospects take us now after the Miami win. That really shows a lot. The kids that we’re recruiting all have lower-level Power 5 offers so those kids aren’t going to be very aroused by winning the Bahamas Bowl.”
“But when you beat Miami, that catches their attention and makes them take us seriously. “
In addition, the Panthers are offering themselves as a safety net to parents and families that want to stay close to their son during these unfortunate times.
“With all the uncertainty in the world today with COVID-19 and with quarantine, I think parents are a lot more cautious about sending their kids away,” Rodriguez said.
With the dead period being extended through September 30, FIU will have the opportunity to reel in more local talent towards its 2021 recruiting class.