The FIU Panthers lost a handful of key players to the transfer portal and injuries this offseason. More pressure will be put on experienced, returning players to excel and help the Panthers exceed last season’s four wins.
FIU Panthers Top 10 Returning Players in 2023
Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes that were included on each team’s roster page to open fall camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.
1) Donovan Manuel, RILB
Donovan Manual, the 6’1″, 230-pound linebacker from Georgia, is the Panther’s top returning player for 2023. The senior quickly became a star after just one season at FIU, starting in all 12 games of the 2022 season.
He is FIU’s leading returning tackler, after finishing with the second most tackles last season. Manuel should be the star of a loaded linebacker group.
2) Josiah Miamen, TE
Last season, Josiah Miamen was a five-game starter for FIU, played in all 12 games, and had the fifth-most receptions for the Panthers.
The junior is listed as a starter this season and has made it onto the 2023 John Mackey Award Watch List for the nation’s most outstanding tight end.
3) Kris Mitchell, WR
Kris Mitchell will be a key player in an offense that struggled last season. He’s a big downfield playmaker and will be a primary target for quarterback, Grayson James.
Last season, Mitchell made big plays like a 46-yard, fourth-down, touchdown reception against Bryant to help set up overtime and an eventual FIU win. He also broke out for a 34-yard touchdown reception against Louisiana Tech, beginning FIU’s comeback and leading to their eventual overtime victory.
4) Jamal Potts, DB
Jamal Potts was a star defensive back last season and should replicate that success this season. This season, he’s listed as the starter at the Nickle position.
Potts is great at getting in on the action. He had five passes defended last season but also got into the backfield, generating 6.5 tackles for losses.
5) Adrian Cole, DB
Adrian Cole, the 5’11” junior, is the starting cornerback of the FIU Panthers. He makes a great pairing with Potts in the defensive backfield.
Like Potts, Cole had five passes defended last season but also had a pick-six against North Texas.
6) Jordan Guerad, DL
Jordan Guerad racked up three sacks, second most for FIU, and 34 total tackles in 11 appearances and eight starts last season.
Guerad had a couple of big games last season, including six tackles and a sack against Louisiana Tech and a seven-tackle performance against UTEP. The redshirt sophomore will be a starting defensive lineman this season.
7) John Bock II, C
John Bock II made the Conference USA All-Freshman Team last season after making 11 starts and 12 appearances. Bock was a key part of a FIU line that allowed the 34th-fewest sacks in the country.
Last season’s starting running back, Lexington Joseph, is out for the season, meaning Bock’s role at offensive line is even more important as they try to open holes for the younger running backs.
8) Elijah Anderson-Taylor, LB
Elijah Anderson-Taylor is a transfer from Northern Colorado. Anderson-Taylor will be a great addition to a strong linebacker corps.
At Northern Colorado, Anderson-Taylor led the team with 111 tackles and had seven double-digit tackle games.
9) Chase Gabriel, K
Last season, Chase Gabriel hit a 28-yard field goal with seconds remaining against Louisiana Tech to send the game into overtime. He finished the season 23-of-24 on extra-point attempts and 7-of-12 on field goal attempts.
10) Grayson James, QB
James started in 10 games last season. He had three games with multiple passing touchdowns. FIU went 3-2 in the five games where James completed over 60% of his passes.
Grayson James will be the starter in Week 0 against Louisiana Tech. He has the capability to have big games. He accounted for all three of FIU’s touchdowns in last season’s win against New Mexico State.