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Can Syracuse Nab Hard-Nosed Lineman “Nasty Joe” Scelfo From Georgia?

Syracuse is recruiting offensive lineman Joseph Scelfo out of Georgia and his head coach tells The Fizz, contrary to popular belief, SU is still very much in the race. What’s the connection for the Orange? Recruiting Coordinator Greg Adkins coached at Georgia in the late ‘90s. So did current Falcons Tight Ends Coach Chris Scelfo.

That sounds inconsequential, except that Chris has a son, Joseph, an offensive lineman at North Oconee High School in Georgia with a “nasty” streak. Adkins’ connection to the 6-foot-2, 276 pounder’s father put the lineman recruit on SU’s radar, and vice versa.

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The Fizz spoke with Joseph’s head coach at North Oconee, Terry Tuley, who says that Scelfo’s recruitment is still wide open. Contrary to what Scout indicates on Scelfo’s profile page (that he is most interested in Southern Miss), Scelfo has yet to really narrow down his choices, according to his coach.

“Joseph still has an open mind. I think he’s really interested in going to school where he’s comfortable, and he’s comfortable with the staff.”

Adkins, who conveniently coaches the offensive linemen at Syracuse, visited North Oconee last spring to help develop that comfort. Tuley says that Scelfo (rated three stars by Rivals and two by Scout) is much more impressive to watch in person than he looks on paper. He attributes that to a modern-day obsession with sheer size. Recruiters and scouts are more worried about physical attributes than who can actually play.

“We’re in the age of ‘bigger, faster, stronger,’ and he’s 6-foot-2, and everybody wants 6-7.”

Scelfo plays guard for North Oconee, but Tuley found an easy solution to make him a more attractive recruit – groom Scelfo at a different position, as well.

“We really project him as a college center and most of the college centers are in that 6-foot, 6-foot-1, 6-foot-2 range, so he fits that criteria a whole lot.”

As it happens, Scelfo is nearly identical in size to current Orange center Macky MacPherson. And just like Macky he’s been working on long snapping to make himself more versatile. Macky handled the field goal snaps last season for SU.

What’s the biggest reason why schools should be coveting the lineman?

“He’s a player. The size of the dog in the fight – that’s what people are into right now. Versus the size of the heart of the dog in the fight. And that’s the strength of Joseph. Off the field, he is just genuinely ‘Yes sir, no sir,’ and raised right. With academics he knows his priorities – he does it all. But he crosses the white lines and he becomes a really nasty football player.”

Scelfo possesses a laundry list of offers, almost all of them from southern schools besides Syracuse. Just like summer sensation Ben Lewis, none of his offers are particularly flashy. In fact, SU is probably the biggest name on his list.

Tuley doesn’t know when Scelfo plans on making a decision, but he insists that the recruit is not waiting around, hoping for a bigger-time offer from a likes of Georgia Tech or Georgia. Scelfo has discussed a potential “grayshirt” situation with Florida State and Clemson, in which he’d postpone his enrollment until 2013. Neither of those schools have officially offered a scholarship to the lineman.

The Fizz is scheduled to talk with Scelfo himself next week to get a better idea of when and where he’ll end up committing. For now, Syracuse has as much of a chance as any other school to land Nasty Joe.

Posted: Andrew Kanell

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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