Day 4 of FIU football training camp welcomed a new player to the Panthers team. Defensive tackle Imarjaye Albury joined FIU after transferring from West Virginia. Albury redshirted as a freshman last season in Morgantown, West Va.
Albury, a 6-1, 295-pound defensive tackle, arrives at FIU with noteworthy credentials. Albury played high school ball locally at Miami Northwestern High where he was a Class 8A-6A All-County Second-Team honoree after recording 65 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and four sacks. Albury was rated a three-star prospect by several recruiting publications. Whether Albury has to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules or is eligible for this season will be determined later.
Running back Jakhari Gore returned to the team Thursday morning and practiced. Gore will not be in full pads like the rest of his teammates on Friday morning as he will need a few days to get acclimated. FIU will don full pads for the first time in camp on Friday.
Thursday’s practice saw the Panthers defense allow little room for the offense to run during team drills. The defense was consistently stopping the run near the line of scrimmage and getting into the offensive backfield.
Isame Faciane got his big hand up and knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Paul Crawford recorded a sack.
FIU running backs did have some success despite the run defense’s productive day. Freshman Silas Spearman had a good run for nine yards. Lamarq Caldwell made a nifty cut back and made a defender miss to get 12 yards.
The Panthers defense also displayed some pesky pass coverage.
Freshman cornerback Brad Hyman-Muhammad intercepted a pass. Linebacker Michael Wakefield had a pick six when he stepped in front of the receiver to snatch the pass.
Along with Richard Leonard, cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon has been having an outstanding camp defending the pass, especially the deep ball.
McKinnon broke up two long passes. Later, on a running play McKinnon teamed up with Greg Hickman for a stop in the offensive backfield.
Safeties Justin Halley and Demarkus Perkins smothered Dominique Rhymes on a deep pass. If it had been a regular season game, pass interference would not have been called. Just good old-fashioned tight pass coverage by the safeties.
FIU quarterbacks did connect on a few deep passes Thursday morning. Jake Medlock hit Clinton Taylor for a 30-yard gain down the seam.
E.J. Hilliard could have sold ice to the Eskimo with his play-action fake. Hilliard adeptly fooled the defense thinking it was a hand-off and pulled it back to find Rhymes for 49 yards downfield.
FIU tight ends showed good hands. Ricky Fernandez made a one-handed grab by the sideline. Freshman Jonnu Smith followed fellow tight ends Cory White and Jonathan Pavlov’s catches in traffic in past practices to make one of his own. Defenders tried to bat the ball out of Smith’s hands but the freshman tight end held on to the pigskin.