Conference USA announced its preseason football all-conference teams recently and seven FIU Panthers were among those recognized as some of the best players in the league.
Senior wide receiver Thomas Owens and senior linebacker Anthony Wint were named to the second team; senior linebacker Treyvon Williams and junior defensive lineman Fermin Silva were selected to the third team while Kai Absheer, Isaiah Brown and Alex Gardner were placed on the fourth team.
Making his second appearance on the All-C-USA second team, “Ant” Wint has put together a productive career during his time at FIU. In 2016, Wint started all 12 games and finished the season with 108 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2016 and ranked in the top seven in the conference and top 40 in the country for total tackles.
Owens, who also received preseason third team honors as a kick return specialist, led FIU in all major receiving categories in 2016. He finished his junior campaign with 47 receptions for 652 yards and seven touchdowns – earning him All-C-USA Honorable Mention credentials at the end of the year.
The 6-foot-1 multi-tooled receiver also led the team with a 12.5 yards per punt return mark while also finishing just one touchdown shy of tying the school’s record for touchdown receptions in a single season.
FIU’s two third-team selections could’ve easily been rated higher, but accolades aside – both Williams and Silva are still integral parts of the Panthers defense.
It was Williams that led FIU in total tackles this past season with 109 stops. He also added three sacks while Silva recorded 42 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2016.
Fourth-team running back Alex Gardner became FIU’s all-time leading rusher this past season, as his 930 yards pushed him to 2,272 yards for his career. He also owns the record for most carries (504) and was an All-C-USA Honorable Mention in 2016.
Helping pave the way for Gardner was fellow fourth-teamer, 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive lineman Kai Absheer – who started 11 games for the Panthers this past season.
Cornerback Isaiah Brown’s team-leading three interceptions and seven pass breakups were enough to earn him fourth team honors. The 6-foot-1 defensive back came on strong in the second half of the 2016 season and will be counted on once again lead the Panthers secondary this coming season.