NCAA

Florida International, of All Schools, Is Florida’s New ‘QBU’

James Morgan led Florida International to its biggest victory in school history when the Panthers upset the Miami Hurricanes last November. Nearly six months removed from that historic night, Morgan is an NFL rookie and the New York Jets’ newest quarterback.

When the Jets used a fourth-round pick on James Morgan in the 2020 NFL draft, Morgan continued FIU’s rise as the state of Florida’s new Quarterback U.

None of the state’s other six teams have had as much success sending quarterbacks to the NFL as FIU.

Alex McGough and James Morgan have made Florida International proud

Each of Florida International’s last two starting quarterbacks have been drafted. James Morgan took the reins as a transfer in 2018 and led FIU to consecutive bowl appearances.

A Bowling Green transfer, Morgan completed 61.5% of his passes for 5,312 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 12 touchdowns in two seasons at FIU.

Morgan’s predecessor, Alex McGough, is arguably the best quarterback in FIU history. McGough completed 60.4% of his passes for 9,091 yards, 65 touchdowns, and 37 touchdowns in four seasons with the Panthers.

Seattle drafted McGough in the 2018 NFL draft’s seventh round. McGough split last season between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans.

Florida International is the new ‘QBU’ in Florida

Jets rookie James Morgan became Florida International's latest quarterback selected in the NFL draft.
Jets rookie James Morgan became Florida International’s latest quarterback selected in the NFL draft. | Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Simple math dictates that FIU, of Florida’s seven FBS programs, is indeed the new ‘QBU.’ Florida International has had two quarterbacks drafted in the last three years.

Only one of the state’s six schools has had a quarterback drafted in that time. Detroit used a sixth-round pick on Miami’s Brad Kaaya in 2017.

All of those schools have had talented quarterbacks. USF’s Quinton Flowers broke records there and briefly played quarterback for the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers earlier this year.

Florida’s Feleipe Franks had a stellar 2018 season but missed most of last year with an injury. Franks joined the Arkansas Razorbacks as a graduate transfer earlier this year.

Which Florida schools will produce the next NFL quarterback?

It might be a little bit before FIU has a quarterback drafted. Redshirt sophomore Kaylan Wiggins is the early favorite to replace James Morgan behind center.

Wiggins completed 15 of 27 passes in relief duty last year. He also ran for three touchdowns and averaged 6.6 yards per carry on 49 rushing attempts.

FIU also has redshirt freshman Caleb Lynum in the mix.

The Miami Hurricanes have the best chance of seeing a quarterback drafted next year among in-state teams. Houston transfer D’Eriq King posted video-game-like numbers in 2018 — King threw for 36 touchdowns to six interceptions and ran for another 14 scores that year — and is the favorite to win Miami’s starting quarterback job.

Florida State‘s James Blackman is talented and has been successful at times. Blackman isn’t guaranteed the Seminoles’ starting role under new head coach Mike Norvell, however.

Florida’s Kyle Trask impressed last year and could rise on draft boards with a successful 2020 season. The 6-foot-5 Trask completed 66.9% of his passes for 2,941 yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

Barring a grad transfer, USF won’t have a quarterback eligible for the 2021 NFL draft.

The dark horse could come from FIU’s rival: the Florida Atlantic Owls. Redshirt junior Chris Robison had a tremendous 2019 season and packs a cannon for an arm. Robison earned first-team all-Conference USA honors and deserved to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Although Robison has two years of eligibility left, he made impressive strides last year and began his career at Oklahoma. A stellar 2020 campaign might be enough for Robison to be drafted next year.