Junior DB Richard Leonard was the first player in C-USA history to win Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week twice in the same season last year. He registered four touchdowns on the year (two INTs, one fumble recovery, one punt return), recorded a school-record-tying five interceptions and averaged 25.7 yards per kickoff return and a nationleading 23.8 yards per punt return.
Junior TE Jonnu Smith finished the 2104 season with 61 catches for a team-best 710 yards, the most ever by an FIU tight end. His eight receiving touchdowns led all FBS tight ends in 2014 and set the school mark for receiving scores in a season, breaking the previous mark set by T.Y. Hilton (2008 & 2011) and Cory McKinney (2002). He enters his junior season ranked second all-time among tight ends at FIU in career receptions (100) and career receiving yards (1,098).
In 2014, FIU’s defense made an impact. The Panthers ranked No. 35 in the nation in total defense (363.8 ypg), No. 40 in scoring defense (24.8 ppg), No. 28 in third down conversion defense (35.8 percent), and scored a conference-best six defensive touchdowns (No. 2 in the nation), including a school-record five interceptions for TDs.
FIU returns 95.1 percent of its total rushing yards, 83.3 percent of its passing yards, 66.1 percent of its total receptions, 59.6 percent of its receiving yards and 87.0 percent of its total scoring from the 2014 season.