Florida continues to be a priority for Doug Marrone. Speed was a central component in the win over West Virginia and Syracuse is plucking talent in the Sunshine State for more of it. Take a look at the 2012 verbal commits: there’s four from Florida already. SU is also looking at two more in Rodney Singleton (pictured) and Marcus Gordon, both out of Hawhorne HS. The Fizz caught up with the Hornets HC James Sims, who described the impact that both of his players make on the field.
“Marcus Gordon is like a conductor out there on the field. He knows when the plays are coming, he is just a leader. And I tell you he just makes big play after big play. He led the team in interceptions from the middle linebacker spot last season. He is on punt team. He is on kickoff. He is always making tackles on special teams. He will come and play tight end for us and block. He will play wide receiver for us. He has that type of ability. “
Gordon is coming off a 70 tackle and five-interception junior season. He has taken his game to a different level this season being a vacuum in the middle (74 tackles through six games). MG is garnering more attention from offenses, and still making big plays.
“He can run, he cares about no one, he runs through blocks to make tackles. Every team we play, they are looking for him. They try to send two lineman down him to block him, We are talking about a kid that is doubled team all the time. He always knows where he is on the field and he consistently makes 15 or more tackles a game.”
Gordon reads plays well and is a good open field tackler, but lacks a quick burst and top end speed. Sims said a lot of teams are looking at him at outside linebacker because of his size at 6’1’’ and 215 lbs. But Sims thinks moving him from the middle would be a mistake.
“Certain things are born naturally. A running back is born to be a running back. A linebacker is born to be a linebacker. Marcus is born to be a middle linebacker.”
Singleton is also a big time player for the Hawthorne squad. Rodney is a very versitle athlete that can play any position on the field.
“We move him around because he is such a good athlete. 6’ 1’’ 190 lbs. Very physical. We have played him at quarterback, we have played him at tail back so he can run the ball. We put him at tight end and throw to him. We put him at wide out. Wherever he is needed he steps up and plays in. One game last year, he went to the sideline and got #50 because one of our lineman got hurt and we need some help. So he volunteered and did it. He’s one of those type of players.”
Sims says Singleton is being recruited to play safety but is also Hawthorne’s leading recieiver. RS has good speed, field instincts and isn’t afraid to stick it to a ball carrier. Sims says coaching Rodney is a coach’s dream.
“He will step up to the plate and do anything you ask for him. There are not a lot of guys in high school football that wear #1 that would take it off and put on #50 and commit to do what it takes for the team to win. He is unselfish and does what ever it takes for the team, and that is something that some of these unviersties need these days.”
Syracuse has shown a high interest in both Gordon and Singleton. However, neither player has been offered an official scholarship by the Orange.
Middle Tennessee State, Iowa State and Jacksonville University have been recruiting Singleton hard. Jacksonville is the only school that has given a formal offer. As for Gordon, he has an offer from North Carolina Central to come in right away and start as a freshman. The Orange is waiting on how the players’ senior seasons play out before extending an offer. But SU better act fast if they want either Marcus or Rodney to wear an “S” on their helmet.
“Whoever shows them love, that’s where they are going. They are not the typical kids that have this school they have their heart on and will turn everyone else down when they get that offer. They are going to go where they feel love and play their best football. And for all the other schools that don’t take them, they are going to regret it because they have to play against them for the next four years.”
Show these kids the love Dougie!
Sims has a connection to the Syracuse program. He coached former Orange Mike Holmes in Pop Warner and high school. Sims would like to see more of his kids go play for SU.
“I’ve talked to Mike’s mom a couple time and she said he was very happy at Syracuse. He loved the school more than anything: the education, the way the fans treated him. It was all good feedback about the program and I have passed that on to Marcus and Rodney. So if Syracuse comes through and shows them the love and respect they are looking for, they are going to come and be an Orangemen and give them the best football they seen.”
That’s encouraging for Syracuse. When the biggest school in on a recruit is Iowa State, there’s certainly a chance for SU. But the Orange has had success offering kids early in the process. If Marrone and co. are serious in Rodney and Marcus, a scholarship offer would be a nice start.
Posted: Dave Van Moffaert