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The Fizz’s Syracuse Orange National Signing Day ’11 Coverage

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11:49p – Finally time to shut down The Fizz headquarters for the night. Sixteen hours of coverage from live blogging to FizzCasts with nine commits has the modem melting down. Stay tuned for our Signing Day Fizz Recap with analysis and interviews tomorrow morning. Many thanks to Fizz Nation for making this our most read day ever.

8:20p – Looking for beef in the Syracuse trenches? Ryan Sloan has you covered. Add the 310 lb. ox to the defensive line. Listen to The Fizz’s conversation with yet another big man to plug the interior of the defensive line.

7:15p – National Signing Day is normally a celebratory one for commits. Cheering sections, exuberant coaches and congratulatory classmates mark the holiday. But it was a bittersweet moment for Syracuse commit Terrel Hunt. While he realized his dream of playing at the D1 level, he also mourned yesterday’s passing of his father.

In fact, Hunt is no stranger to tragedy in his family. The Fizz caught up with him following his signing today. Sounds like a remarkably strong young man, the type of student-athlete Marrone is constantly looking for and challenging his players to become.

4:45p – Looking for an inspirational football quote Orange Nation? DE recruit Donnie Simmons just delivered it.

“Once Doug Marrone came on to the scene, I knew he had a mission for this team to pursue greatness.”

Listen to The Fizz’s chat with Simmons about speed-rushing off the end and the feel of family that Doug Marrone’s staff has created at SU.

4:14p – Rochester-area QB and NYS player of the year Ashton Broyld believes he’s a signal caller for a reason.

“I never tried out for quarterback; I was put there. I feel like that’s where I belong,” said Broyld.

Listen to The Fizz converse with Broyld about his belief in himself, the Orange and his Doug Marrone’s coaching staff.

3:26p – The dust is starting to settle on Syracuse’s 2011 recruiting class. It’s been ranked 4th in the Big East by ESPNU. We’ve been tracking down the best stories and biggest impact commits all morning and afternoon. Get to know your newest Orange by listening to the SU commits we’ve spoken to exclusively here at The Fizz:

3:03p – Syracuse is used to battling UConn and Rutgers on the recruiting trail. The Orange is not usually grabbing kids away from Stanford. But that’s exactly what happened with safety Shutang Mungwa, a top 5 player of SU’s incoming class.

“I called Coach Shafer and said ‘this Stanford thing is tentative as of right now. Because just in case Stanford doesn’t fall out, I’m comin to you goes pronto, ASAP. As soon as possible!'”

Listen to The Fizz’s conversation with the Oradell, New Jersey product as his entrance to Stanford fell through, opening the door to Syracuse. The Cardinal’s loss is the Orange’s gain. A big gain.

2:42p – Some questions have popped up concerning the amount of openings the Orange has on its roster. The Fizz’s Ted Conroy crunches the numbers. “SU should have had two open scholarships heading into today. With the early signees counting against 2010, Syracuse has 29 spaces in what is usually 25. Subtract the 6 early enrollees, and you get 23, the number of players counted against 2011.”

2:24p – Interesting conversation on ESPNU’s Signing Day Coverage on the success of Charlie Strong at Louisville. The Cards have far and away the top recruiting class in the Big East and both Randy Shannon and Robert Smith stressed how important the diversity on the coaching staff is. Strong and most of his assistants are African-American, and Shannon and Smith underscored how that resonates in the black community. Strong has gone into Miami Northwestern – one of the most talented pipelines in college football – and grabbed major commits like WR Eli Rogers. The Fizz has a feeling UL is going to be a beast on the recruiting trail for a long time.

1:49p – ESPNU has currently ranked Syracuse’s incoming class as the 4th best in the Big East. As The Fizz noted weeks ago, Louisville has the most impressive haul in the conference – ranked as high as #20 in the country by some services (including ESPNU). Rutgers is ranked 2nd, with the crown jewel being the best prospect in New Jersey and one of the elite recruits in the country, Savon Huggins. West Virginia rated third, SU 4th, USF 5th, Pitt 6th (despite getting Freezer Grigsby), UConn is 7th, while Cincy is dead last.

While nabbing the fourth-best class in the least heralded BCS football conference in America is not a home run, it’s a large step in the right direction. The Cardinals have a Florida pipeline, Rutgers still crushes its backyard and West Virginia always brings in talent. Syracuse needs to be able to beat Pitt, UConn and USF regularly. The Orange seem to have done that this year.

1:26p – Syracuse continues to add depth along the defensive line. First it was Ivan Foy from Fort Hamilton, now throw Eric Crume into the mix. The Detroit product says his decision came down to academics and the coaching staff.

Listen to The Fizz’s conversation with Crume on the program’s ascent. Expectations are high for the big man. “Hopefully we can make it to the BCS in one of these four years.” The guess here is Marrone has been selling that to this incoming class. Postseason has become a reality with the Pinstripe Bowl, now it’s on to winning the Big East.

“Detroit made me mentally tougher. There’s lots of bad things you can get into in Detroit, but you just have to stay focused.”

The Orange doesn’t land McReynolds, but Foy and Crume are now in the mix.

12:43p – As expected, Kevin McReynolds did not sign with the Orange. Unexpectedly, he chose UCLA over Mississippi State. Just last week the #5 DT in the country talked about how “blown away” he was with his trip to Starkville and his conversation with Dan Mullen. However, just moments ago in a televised decision on CBS College Sports Network, K-Mac donned the powder blue.

McReynolds said he did not make a final decision until last night and doesn’t expect anything to be handed to him. “I felt it was the best decision for me and my academic future. I just felt comfortable with it. I definitely don’t want to walk into a situation, ‘I’ll promise you this spot.’ I like to take the hard road to success. Anything in life that is good needs hard work.”

It looked unlikely towards the end of the recruitment process that McReynolds would end up with the Orange. Don’t discount the weather factor. K-Mac tweeted the only negative from his official visit in December was the delay because of snow for his return trip to D.C. Hey, palm trees does sound kinda nice right now.

Marrone has clearly made inroads with elite talent, getting SU into the final group for both Ishaq Williams and McReynolds. But Syracuse is not quite at the point where its winning big boy battles yet.

12:39p – “They treated me like royalty.” Those were the words of Fort Hamilton DT Ivan Foy. Interestingly, as Orange Nation was salivating over the prospects of the #5 defensive tackle in the country, Kevin McReynolds, Foy is actually larger. K-Mac tips the scales at 6’1″, 280. Foy is a monstrous 6’5″, 285.

Listen to The Fizz’s conversation with Foy on how nervous he was earlier this morning, his trip to campus and why not being highly recruited was no problem for the big man. SU needs depth on the line, and while McReynolds isn’t coming north, Foy should be a nice addition.

12:08p – The Fizz just spoke with big play WR Brandon Reddish. The family dynamic of the program attracted the NYC playmaker to ‘Cuse.

Listen to Reddish’s reasons on joining the Orange and what kind of role he may play with the offense. Reddish also was eager to know if McReynolds had committed anywhere yet.

There’s no question, SU’s attack lacked a deep threat all season. Reddish represents Marrone’s ability to recruit NYC and potentially the biggest impact commit of SU’s class.

11:39a – Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post tweets: “I’m told former Tenn player Nu’Keese Richardson (once a UF commit) isn’t signing. Is eventually expected to go to FAMU if he qualifies.”

The story of Richardson bounces between exciting talent and cautionary tale. According to his high school coach, Syracuse had an offer to the former Tennessee Volunteer. However, SU officials would not confirm it. The story became increasingly murky. Nu’keese has dragged immense baggage across the country, but has always had the athletic gifts.

There were conflicting reports from all sides regarding whether he was offered by any school. After yet another soap opera, it would be surprising if a major college still grabbed him. FAMU feels like a more realistic fit.

11:24a – As a reminder, a source who has spoken with SU athletic department officials and people with knowledge of the situation tells The Fizz the point-shaving rumor is false.

That didn’t stop one commenter with a Pocket Fives email address from posting this illiterate missive.

“pocketfives.com is in now way a gambling website give me a break you chirp the journalist for using weak sources.Then dont even resarch the website you are slandering. Give your head a shake and everybody ese in the nation is loving the slide ‘cuse is on Hope they lose 5 ore games and get bounced 2nd round of the NIT-“

For the record, Pocket Fives has the tagline “Online Poker Forums and Rankings.” Way to represent a baseless report from a poker website with a comment using grade-school syntax and without punctuation. Well done.

10:58a – So Syracuse’s lone 4-star commit according to one scouting service, may not be an Orange after all. The enigmatic DeFarrel Davis appropriately has turned into a Signing Day mystery.

The Post-Standard’s Nolan Weidner: “Davis’ coach at NCC, Jermaine Miles who is normally very talkative, wouldn’t talk about Davis. When I asked what was up, he referred all questions to SU coaches. Efforts to reach Davis, a 6-2 185-pound receiver from Melvindale, Mich., have been unsuccessful. He didn’t return phone messages when his verbal commitment was announced in September, and he hasn’t gotten back to me on this, either.”

Who smells academic issues with the JuCo transfer? Bizarre that one service had Davis as the only 4-star commit in Syracuse’s class. Multiple other listings have him as a 2-star. Interestingly, in nine games for Nassau CC, Davis had only 19 catches for 325 yards and two touchdowns. That’s an average of 2 catches for 38 yards per game. Could that possibly warrant a 4-star rating?

10:45a – The Fizz just spoke with Ritchy Desir, a North Miami corner who signed with Syracuse this morning. Here’s what Desir said about his decision to brave the cold, focus exclusively on corner and why he waited so long to commit.

Once again, props to Marrone and co. for grabbing talent out of the Sunshine State. Charlie Strong and Louisville is impressing everybody by their ability to farm Florida. It’s become evident in recent years, Big East difference-makers (Noel Devine, Geno Smith) are coming out of FL.

10:26a – Here’s a terrific nugget to warm you up on a cold, snowy Wednesday. In the aftermath of Savon Huggins’ commitment to Rutgers, a stat you’ll enjoy courtesy of the New York Times “Quad” blog. “Since the (highly regarded) signing class in February 2007, Rutgers has consistently had top 40 recruiting classes yet only once in that stretch has the team had a .500 record or better in Big East play. Which is especially glaring given the recent weakness of the conference.” Crazy Eyes Schiano can recruit, but can he coach?

10:21a – The small chance Nick “Freezer” Grigsby would land with Syracuse was officially erased yesterday as the elite LB committed to Pitt, as expected. Big win for the Panthers after the coaching shake-up. Despite a new staff, Pitt jumped across state lines and grabbed an Ohio kid.

From Pitt Script, “A 4-star guy according Rivals and a 3-star man on Scout, Grigsby seems to be the first high-level recruit of the Todd Graham era. Grigsby fielded offers from Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Louisville and Kentucky among others.  Conspicuously absent from that list is Ohio State, or any Big 10 offers for that matter.  The 6’1″, 210 senior could come in and play right away due mainly to his speed.”

10:08a – Important news out of the Big East is Rutgers once again landing a Top 25 recruiting class. The biggest fish is elite running back Savon Huggins from St. Peter’s Prep (NJ), who was a 5-star recruit and committed Friday. Huggins had been recruited by USC, Florida and Penn State. It marks the first time the Scarlet Knights have landed the top prep star in New Jersey. While RU slid to a 4-8 season and Marrone is now 2-0 against the Knights, Greg Schiano continues to have success on the recruiting trail. As long as Rutgers keeps Jersey kids in-state , the Knights will be highly competitive.

9:42a – The list of 3-star recruits Syracuse has landed is filled with kids from New York and Florida. Well done by Marrone. Close the borders on the Empire State and make sure UConn, Penn State or Rutgers doesn’t poach New York kids. Then try to pluck a few from the Sunshine State where talent is teeming. Twelve NY kids, four from FL in SU’s top 22 commits. See a theme trending?

9:31a – Syracuse’s highest-rated commit according to 247 Sports is Denver RB Adonis Ameen-Moore. The Fizz grabbed an exclusive with him after he gave his verbal in December.

“The Mullen Prep star ended his recruitment when he called SU assistant coach Tyrone Wheatley on Monday and committed. He chose the ‘Cuse over offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Northwestern, and Utah. It was his last visit was with the Utes which he says sealed the deal for his college decision.

I’ve been playing football since I was six years old, so of course I’m gonna try to go in there, and try to throw my tail in, and try to get in there and be able to start. I really just want to play, I don’t care if I start or not, I just want to play. When I was driving back from Utah, the trip to Utah made it official to me.”

The Fizz also broke the story that Averin Collier’s dismissal helped entice Ameen-Moore to come east. “Yes, of course, it’s gonna draw me to it. [I’m] sad to see him go, but happy he did leave.”

9:24a – Funny how subjective rankings can be. By some accounts DeFarrel Davis was SU’s highest-rated recruit and its only 4-star commit. 247 Sports has Davis listed as a two-star recruit. He’s a JuCo kid from Nassau Community College, so clearly Marrone had an inside track to him. He’s a 6’4″ wideout, so no matter his ranking he joins the Orange at a position of need.

9:17a – Just so you can rest easy during this Signing Day, a source who has spoken to athletic department officials and people with knowledge of the situation, tells The Fizz the point-shaving rumors are false. Irresponsible and ridiculous “reporting” on that story by some websites. What a hellish week it has been for the basketball offices, though. Quentin Hillsman and harassment allegations, Dion Waiters’ expletive, point-shaving rumors – oh, and a four-game losing streak with UConn tonight.

8:57a – Tyree Smallwood’s high school Cornwall Central is closed due to weather, and The Fizz believes the three-star recruit’s signing ceremony has been canceled.

Jamie Newberg of ESPN tweets: “Hearing that DT Kevin McReynolds will likely choose UCLA today. He’s announcing at Team USA vs World Game today.”

Follow The Fizz on Twitter for late-breaking news all day long. Use #fizzmas to search for our coverage all afternoon.

8:49a – Good morning and welcome to The Orange Fizz’s coverage of National Signing Day 2011. Couple of early news and notes. SU Athletics released an official list of the nine players who have now signed National Letters of Intent (NLI).

“The 2011 Orange National Letter of Intent signing class has grown to nine with the addition of quarterback Terrell Hunt and defensive back Shutang Mungwa. The pair joins seven student-athletes who had submitted their NLIs earlier this morning. The class also includes offensive linemen Kristofer Curtis, Nick Robinson and Rob Trudo, linebacker Cameron Lynch, running back Tyree Smallwood, wide receiver Keenan Hale and punter Jonathan Fisher.”

“The Orange already added six student-athletes to the program with the enrollment of tight end Louis Addazio, defensive backs Siriki Diabate, Jaston George and Dyshawn Davis, wide receiver Jeremiah Kobena, and offensive lineman Lou Alexander in January.”

No real surprises there. The big targets and drama to keep an eye on are Kevin McReynolds, Freezer Grigsby and Nu’keese Richardson.

Posted: D.A.

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7:20p – It was a bittersweet day for Syracuse commit Terrel Hunt. While he realized his dream of playing major D1 football, Hunt is dealing with the recent passing of his father.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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