Multiple sources have confirmed Rochester’s Jarron Jones, a 5-star Syracuse target, has committed to Notre Dame. Most recently the Chicago Sun-Times reported the Monster from Rochester is headed to South Bend. Doug Marrone has to be sick of Brian Kelly by now, since this is the third potential game-changing recruit the Orange has lost to the Irish in the last two seasons. Earlier this summer, Jones’ coach told The Fizz Jarron “loved Syracuse.”
“He really likes Syracuse. He really likes Coach Wheatley and the d-line coach there. He thinks Coach Marrone is a really great guy and one thing he thinks is that if he goes there he can play early and that might have a big influence on him.”
Ishaq Williams memorably spurned the Carrier Dome for Touchdown Jesus at the last minute last year, and 4-star running back David Perkins chose being a Golden Domer over an Orange earlier this summer, after declaring SU his favorite barely a week earlier (although The Fizz is not convinced that race is over).
It’s hard to fault Marrone for losing top recruits to the most storied program in the country, but this is a story Syracuse fans have heard before. Notre Dame has the best tradition and best television exposure of any program in the country, and unfortunately Syracuse is not even near that landscape. But Jones adds to another growing trend that Syracuse is dying to break – star players leaving the New York State borders and choosing a high profile BCS school over SU.
After Ishaq headed to Indiana and Chad Kelly chose Clemson as his preferred shade of orange earlier this summer, Jones was Syracuse’s last chance to buck the trend, as The Fizz wrote back in June:
“The kid is a difference maker and if SU lands him it fills the void Chad Kelly and Ishaq Williams left. A New York kid who stayed in-state and has the chance to be be the focal point of the Orange. He would be a trend setter in SU recruiting. I know, I know. You’ve heard this one before Syracuse fans. But the buzz is Jones just might be different.”
As it turns out, Jones was not different at all, opting for the glimmer of Notre Dame over the nearby Dome. Orange fans are starting to tire of this trend as evidenced by message boards, talk radio and always lively Fizz commenters.
Notre Dame has obvious advantages over Syracuse when it comes to recruiting, but in these cases SU hopes that a hometown discount could be the equalizer. The Orange would have almost no chance at out-recruiting the Irish for a five-star lineman out of Chicago, but an upstate New York product gives SU a much better shot. With The Dougie’s current class recently ranked last in the Big East by CBS Sports, Jones would have been the type of star to change that perception.
The reason star recruits keep crossing the borders of New York is twofold. The truth is, right now, Syracuse is still a couple steps away from being an ideal destination for five-star recruits. But we may also overvalue the pull of staying close to home. With today’s technology the world is a much smaller place, and communication between say, South Bend and Rochester is much easier than it used to be. Maybe the appeal of being closer to home for a generation weened on Facebook, iPhones and FaceTime loses some of its luster. Given the recent exodus of top SU targets out of state, it’s clear a shorter commute does not trump nicer facilities, greater exposure, and a chance to compete for BCS games and national titles.
The problem Syracuse faces is a chicken-egg type of dilemma. While Orange Nation waits for that first high profile recruit to propel its program to the next level, the truth may be that the program needs to reach the next level so that it can start landing top recruits.
As Marrone told The Fizz last month:
“In my studies, there’s always 12-14 players (in New York) that can play D1 football. We have to get them first from our state, before we can go outside our state to get those 5-star kids. Someone is going to have to make that commitment. People are going to hit him with ‘how can you go to the Big East?’ Hopefully one of these days, one of these young men will step up and say, ‘we’re going to Syracuse University because I want a great education, I want to stay in-state, I want to play and I want to win a championship’. Easy said, hard to do publicly for these kids nowadays because there’s so much pressure on them to go visit the top 5 schools in the country.”
Add Jones to that list of kids.
Posted: Steve Niekam