Four FIU football stars selected for preseason All-CUSA teams

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 0 Comments

Four FIU football stars selected for preseason All-CUSA teams
Florida International University junior linebacker and Monsignor Pace High School alumnus Sage Lewis was among his four teammates who earned 12 selections to Phil Steele’s 2019 Preseason All-CUSA teams.
His teammates, junior offensive tackle D’Antne Demery, senior defensive end Teair Tart and senior quarterback and wide receiver Maurice Alexander, also made the publication’s first team laurels for the preseason.
For Lewis and Alexander, the first team honors are the second this preseason for the pair after they were awarded spots on the Athlon Preseason All-CUSA First Team last month. In addition to Alexander's first team honors on special teams, he was also awarded a spot on the third team as a wide receiver.
After making the move to middle linebacker in 2018, Lewis broke the school record in total tackles (132) and solos (83) while ranking first in the league for both of those categories. Lewis' 83 solos ranked 10th in the nation last season, with that same number ranking third in the nation among 2019 returnees. Lewis was awarded C-USA First Team honors following his stellar junior campaign in 2018.
Demery played and started in 11 games last season at left tackle, leading an offensive line that allowed a school-record low eight sacks on the year. The total ranked first in the league and third overall in the country. Demery was awarded All-CUSA Honorable Mention for his efforts last season.
Tart is expected to have a big year after earning 16.5 tackles in his first season with the Panthers last year. Tart led the team in tackles for loss (7.0) and sacks (4), while earning a timely forced fumble against Charlotte that resulted in a 61-yard touchdown return for Lewis to give FIU the momentum early against the 49ers.
Alexander had a breakout season in 2018, after making the move from quarterback to wideout and return man. The Florida City, Florida native was a highlight reel in the return game (when teams were brave enough to kick to him) as he averaged 14.6 yards per punt return to rank fifth in the nation among those with at least three returns on the year. Alexander's breakout game in 2018 came against UMass, as the Panther racked up 136 return yards and scored on a 69-yard scamper to help FIU roll over the Minutemen. Alexander was awarded C-USA First Team honors for his special team efforts in 2018.
James Morgan was the leader in the second team pack, with the Panthers earning three honorees. Joining Morgan on the second team were Stantley Thomas-Oliver III and Jose Borregales. Sterling Palmer, Noah Curtis and Alexander and Alexander claimed third team honors, while Dallas Connell and Isaiah Dallas were named to the fourth team.
Entering its 18th year of football in 2019, the FIU Panthers are coming off a program-best nine wins a season ago. FIU capped 2018 with a 35-32 victory over Toledo in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl to finish the season 9-4 overall. Under head coach Butch Davis, the Panthers have earned back-to-back bowl appearances and 17 wins in the last two years.
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