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Marrone’s Recruiting Class Defined By Character and Leadership

Syracuse landed the biggest signing day class out of any Big East School with a whopping 27 players on Tuesday. Most schools in the conference found themselves at about 20 or so, but very few institutions had to make up for the amount of attrition that SU has gone through with players leaving the team, dismissals, and graduation. Now up to 84 scholarship players, this football team is in the midst of a revolution.

The number of players on the roster is starting to turn Marrone-heavy, if you will. More of his recruits are spreading throughout the program, and if they’re all going to be like the players he signed on Tuesday – look out world.

“This class represents 10 states from the United States of America, including 11 who are from the state of New York, which was our goal coming into the program. Seven of our players have won state championships. The interesting thing about our signees is that every single player we’ve signed was a captain on their high school football team,” Doug Marrone said on Tuesday.

When you talk about the character of an incoming class, that is just a “wow” moment. It’s one thing to say, ‘Hey, this is what we want to do with our program’, and then partially accomplish it. Marrone and his assistants did it 100% with this class.

  • Three of the players are going into the L.C. Smith College of Engineering, a la hoopster Matt Lyde Cajuste.
  • Ashton Broyld, who spoke with Conroy, was New York’s Class AA player of the year. He even called Conroy “Sir.” Sir! The guy from Ask Jeeves is a Sir, not Natty-swilling Conroy. That’s some class right there.
  • Eric Crume told Hoffman when it comes to football or education, it’s all about academics. “There’s a rare chance that anyone’s gonna make it pro in any sport. You gotta get your degree in order to be successful in life.” Tell me how many 18-year-olds you can name that would say that?

The most impressive dynamic is every commit was a captain of his high school team. This means, in theory, that there should be no problem children or Malcolm Cater incidents.

For a man whose job is tied directly to success on the field, Doug Marrone grabbed players with the highest character, rather than just the most talent. That speaks volumes to the direction he’s going.

“Our program, we have a lot of structure and we have a lot of discipline. Our program isn’t for every player out there. They know that and that’s how we recruit. We go right into the home and we tell them that this transition from high school to college is going to be difficult. We tell them that our program has a lot of structure and a lot of discipline and it may not be the right program for them. But I promise you that if you do what we say, the one thing is that you’ll graduate from a fine academic institution with a meaningful degree.”

Sure to excite alums and fans alike is Marrone’s intent on winning the home turf battle. He declined to name Greg Robinson specifically, but did say the program’s focus slipped in recruiting New York kids in recent years.

“When you do a study of this program – I’m talking about from Coach Schwartzwalder to Coach Mac to Coach Pasqualoni – you’ll see that we’ve been very successful in certain recruiting areas. I can’t speak for how that direction changed or what happened to it, but our goal as a football staff coming in was to get back to that foundation that made this football program great. We specifically targeted those areas, with certain coaches, to go in and I think we did a good job.”

He said it started downstate with New York City and Westchester County. Next, Marrone says, is Buffalo. After that I guess the only option left is to just start roaming the Adirondacks to see if there are any football players in mountain towns out there. But something tells us states like Florida and Georgia might be pretty fertile too.

This ‘home first’ strategy is exactly what Randy Taylor, a former recruiter who nabbed a #1 ranked class at UCLA, stressed to The Fizz. You can’t win unless you dominate your home turf.

So, while Louisville may have technically had the highest-ranked class in the conference, Marrone simply dismissed the stars and the rankings and the scales. Because what it comes down to, he said, is what’s in store down the road:

“The difference between us and the people who rate the players is that we are truly accountable for those players and their success. Not only on the football field but, more importantly, what they do in the classroom and in life. We have a much more vested interest in those players and that’s how we recruit.”

Posted: Mike Couzens

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