Thus ends Max Beaulieu as the next great quarterback terror for Syracuse – the highly-touted defensive end has been switched to tight end. Beaulieu arrived at SU with big expectations, some considering him another Dwight Freeney. He was the jewel of Doug Marrone’s second recruiting class, choosing the Orange over Purdue, Wake Forest, Louisville and UConn. He also had offers from powerhouses Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
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Beaulieu has always been light for the defensive line (6’3″ 240), but Freeney (6’1″ 265) was around that weight in his college days as well, and without Max’s height. Freeney, of course, parlayed his smaller size and speed into a strength on the D-Line – making him far more nimble and explosive than the offensive hogs trying to block him. With his ability to wreck the pocket in high school, many believed Beaulieu could do the same.
The move of Mad Max is both impressive and disappointing. The fact a defensive stud who was named to the Miami Herald’s All-Broward County First Team (which is always one of the most talented groups of prep stars in the country) is athletic enough to become a pass-catcher is exciting. But his promise of hounding opposing backfields is over.
By November of ’09, Beaulieu was considered one of the top prospects in the state of Florida. Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services said:
“We watched Max last year and throughout the spring and summer and felt that he was a top-flight college football prospect. He’s one of the state’s better players.
This is not just one of those ordinary talents who schools from the Northeast come in and get. This is an athlete who was being heavily recruited by schools such as Purdue, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina and Nebraska.”
Marrone said yesterday Beaulieu suffered as a ‘tweener, but sounded encouraged by Max’s attitude about the switch.
“He was caught a little bit in between at defensive end and the defensive tackle position. We have some guys who are playing well at those positions. Max is a very good athlete. He’s extremely smart, extremely willing and we’ve had him out there and he’s done some nice things and is picking things up well.”
The legacy of University School (Ft. Lauderdale) for Syracuse continues to be a strange one. First, after two of his players chose SU, Suns head man Roger Harriott took a position coaching running backs on Marrone’s staff. He abruptly returned to Florida just a few days later, taking back his old position where the seat was still warm. One of the U-School players who came north was Brice Hawkes, who proved to be a knucklehead of the highest order and was dismissed by The Dougie this spring. The other was supposed quarterback-eater Beaulieu who is now a tight end.
The good news? Max is still young enough (redshirt freshman) to become an impact player at his new position, which is also one of need for SU. So far his attitude has been positive. And Harriott’s last second exit from the coaching staff opened the door for Tyrone Wheatley, who has been terrific as a recruiter. Here’s hoping Beaulieu’s switch ends so well for the Orange.