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Final Push: SU Now Has Open Offers, But Did Marrone’s Honesty Close Doors?

Suddenly, the Orange has opportunities that can push this class forward before Signing Day.

Doug Marrone wants to do things the right way. He has prioritized building honest, trustworthy relationships with high school coaches around the country. He wants those coaches to respect the way Syracuse does business, and hopefully that leads to pointing recruits in his direction. It’s good karma. Treat people the way you want to be treated. This builds momentum for the program and organically creates influential people spreading your gospel.

But with five weeks to go before National Signing Day, the Orange is in an awkward recruiting position. Last month a handful of talented players were seemingly eliminated by SU because of the school’s scholarship limitations. However, today the Orange finds itself with a potential bounty of opportunities. From the Post-Standard:

“The one-year suspension of free safety Phillip Thomas, which almost certainly ends his days at SU, a career-ending injury to fullback Adam Harris and the planned departure of junior receiver Dorian Graham means at least three scholarships become available. The uncertain futures of junior strong safety Shamarko Thomas and defensive end Chandler Jones, could open up two more.”

SU currently has 20 verbal commitments, with between 24-26 available scholarships (24 gets the Orange to the NCAA’s 85, but there are rumblings two may not qualify academically).

Two highly prioritized players left for Marrone are NYC defensive back Wayne Morgan and Georgia running back George Morris. Morgan is still looking at UConn, but his coach told The Fizz SU has “an outstanding chance” to land the DB following his official visit. After losing out on Boom Perkins, and running an offense heavy on the ground game, Morris represents an enormous need.

But back to doing things the right way. Before the suspension of Thomas and the injury to Harris, the Orange apparently pushed away Ohio running back Lakeith Walls and middle linebacker Tyrone Neal because of scholarship limits. Walls is a 3-star athlete at a position of need. The Orange has good incoming numbers at linebacker, but how many recruits like Neal – Nebraska and West Virginia are his final two – can SU afford to turn away?

Marrone’s integrity is refreshing in a college football cesspool that rewards creeps like Todd Graham for his broken moral compass. Long term, The Dougie’s approach will create far more friends than enemies. And on the recruiting trail, you need allies.

But sometimes you get the feeling Marrone may be sacrificing success for “the right way.” Should Thomas’ Syracuse career really be over? Is DM honoring scholarships for less talented players simply because they committed first? Should the SU coaching staff be a little more flexible knowing things can change any minute?

Had Marrone and co. remained active for Walls and Neal, today they’d have the available scholarships to offer, instead of pushing away two talented kids. Maybe there was something in each athlete the coaching staff didn’t feel would be the right fit. There’s always behind the scenes machinations we’ll never be privy to. There’s certainly a value in keeping your word and Marrone’s approach makes me proud to call him a fellow alum.

But the Orange would be well served keeping all doors open until National Signing Day, and be working the phones on Walls, Neal and others over the next month. Some tough recent luck for SU has actually turned into a terrific opportunity to finish strong. Programs are built the first week of February, and SU has a fresh chance to have a big final push.

Posted: D.A.


17 Comments on this Post

  1. First time writing here. “The Dougie” thing is really gay. Please stop. Thanks!

  2. Any chance ‘cuse can haul in some PA kids?

    http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1309279

  3. Agree with gogo. Call him Marrone instead. Your a journalist, not his best friend who talks to him in a colloquial manner

  4. GoGo & Chad-
    By my count: Marrone – 6 references in this post.
    The Dougie – 1
    DM – 1
    I do have to thank you for using the term journalist for me. Ted Koppel is rolling his eyes. Anyway – come on, please? Just one “The Dougie” per week? Month? I’m begging! He IS my best friend (I wish)!

  5. I love “The Dougie.”

    But seriously, are there any other big recruits that Syracuse stands a chance of landing that haven’t been covered recently by the Fizz? Can ‘cuse cash in on Pitt’s and Penn State’s misfortunes?

  6. I agree with gogo drop the Dougie. It’s Doug or Coach Marrone to you. And nowe aren’t going to cash in on Pitt or Penn State. Anyone thinking Perkins should be placed in restraints and heavily medicated for delusional behavior.

  7. it is Coach Marrone… we need to find out about Chandler and Shamarko also.

  8. TIM TEBOW

    DOUG HAS DONE A GREAT JOB WITH THIS CLASS.

    THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT AFTER NEXT SEASON THERE ARE SOME GOOD YOUNG COACHES OUT THERE AND WITH THE ACC MONEY GROSS WILL BE ABLE TO HIRE A GUY WHO CAN PUT TOGETHER A BAD STAFF WHICH IS SIX STEPS UP FROM THE GROUP OF PEOPLE DOUG CALLS A ‘STAFF’.

    AS FOR PA DAN CONLEY HAS THAT STATE ON LOCKDOWN. HE IS OUT DOMINATING ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL AND HAS FROM DAY 1. LOOK AT HIS WORK WITH THE LINEBACKERS AND SPECIAL TEAMS HE IS AN AMAZING COACH. THIS IS ALL A RESULT OF HIS LONG AND LEGENDARY COACHING CAREER.

    OH WAIT HIS COACHING EXPERIENCE IS AT WAGNER, OH WAIT SU HAS ONLY PULLED IN THREE KIDS(WELL TWO HAVE GIVEN VERBALS ITS TOO EARLY TO TELL IF THEY’LL ACTUALLY ATTEND OR IF DOUG WILL KICK THEM OFF THE TEAM BEFORE THEY GET TO SYRACUSE) ONE OF THOSE THREE WAS A LONG SNAPPER, FROM PA. WAIT THE LINEBACKERS GOT WORSE AS THE SEASON PROGRESSED? WAIT SPECIAL TEAMS WERE A DISASTER OH WAIT CONLEY STINKS AND GOT CANNED.

    NO WAY DAN SHOULD’VE BEEN FIRED. I MEAN THE STRUGGLES WITH THE LB AND SPECIALL TEAMS WAS HACKETTS FAULT AND A RESULT OF POOR PLAY CALLING OF THE OFFENSIVE SIDE OF THE BALL.

    GOOD NEWS IS THAT DOES OPEN A SPOT FOR A LINEBACKER COACH. AS IN SOMEONE WHO HELPS PLAYERS IMPROVE OVER THE COURSE OF THE SEASON.

  9. Morris from Georgia committed–reported on Scout.com

  10. This is the second time I’ve heard that conley was fired. Brent Axe said last week that Conley and Brumbaugh(sp?) were canned. Is this true? I haven’t found any evidence of this.

  11. He’s called HCDM to me. And at times other names. The players love Conley!!! But your friend HCDM doesn’t see that. DA you need to question HCDM instead playing these friendship games. But your other buddy Axeman plays the same game with both coaches(JB and HCDM). The biggest story and you refuse to see it is, why no top NYS talent??? Morgan has slipped in ability to many from the NYC area. So he’s a decent get, but not prime rib.I know our home grown talent is limited. Yes NYS is not known for its FB prowess, Brown, Davis, Mackey(I think) and Moore are a few decent talented players from NYS. That’s all I heard when HCDM was hired was his connection to the apple and talent. That’s a joke!!! And one other question DA how are your Dougie T-shirts selling. LOL!!!!

  12. saltine44

    I have a feeling the firings had a lot to do with Scott Shafer. He has proven his worth as DC and is now on the hunt for new position coaches on defense. No way Doug fires Conley without strings attached.

    D.A., I like “the Dougie” reference but I want to know when we’ll get the “I’ll be your Doug” reference (Hangover)? Now, that would be classic.

    Still say Boom Perkins could be ours if they would let him wear “44”. Who in their right mind would turn that down. C’mon Man!

    Hey, when are we going to have a “Weekend at Bernie’s” reference. Seems like that might be a little crazy with Linda around:)

  13. I vote stop calling him “Dougie”.

    Neal was a matter of numbers, too many linebackers already verballed. They all can’t play and someone would end up leaving anyways for lack of playing time. Also having too many LB’s on the roster could hurt next year’s LB recruiting.

    If Conley goes it would be Shafer’s decision.

  14. Yeah seconded on the George Morris coming to Cuse. Like that pick up alot. Now if we can pull in Wayne Morgan will be looking good. We just got listed at #50 on recruting classes for next year, thats a huge step up. Sky is the limit.

  15. I like this poll on whether to continue using “The Dougie.” Good to get some feedback on this. Orange Nation has spoken! @Saltine44 – thanks brother. @Terry – I know you’re on Marrone’s case alot, but how can you say I’m being too friendly with him when this whole piece was about how he seemingly made a big mistake in the numbers game? Also, the Morris commit is HUGE. They couldn’t lose out on him too knowing the RB situation coming in. BIG to reel him in – more love for Wheatley. Dude’s a beast on the recruiting trail.

  16. brooklynite1

    @saltine44
    Not really sure how relevant the #44 jersey is to a lot of kids nowadays. I think we as Cuse football fans have to detach ourselves from the program and look at certain aspects of the recruiting game realisticaly. We have to consider the fact that the program hasn’t done much of note in recent years and these are 17-18 year old guys. They may or may not know that much about Cuse’s history on any deep level. Maybe you can influence them during visits or with mailers or some well put together powerpoint presentation/video montage. But for the majority of these younger fellas, you have to appeal to them in other ways. Thats not to say that the 44 can’t be used in some aspects of recruiting. The number 44 being that its retired should only be taken out for runningbacks who have performed incredibly well on the field. Let us recruit a guy, Have him put forth a really strong season or two, then reward him with the jersey. If he continues to perform at a high level(and goes on to become a Cuse All timer and legit NFL prospect), then the 44 might gain more relevance with the modern day young recruit. Some young cat could then have a current figure to look at and say “hey, I can be as good as that guy and add my name to the list of #44’s”.

    and @DA, I am definitely WITH honoroing the scholarships even for players who are less talented. I mean unless we all want to be honest with ourselves and state the fact that winning and playing well is all that matters for college athletics. If I have a subpar player but a guy who is busting his backside in the classroom, I would not be the one to tell him that he is off scholarship. Especially if I allow some guys to slack through school or cause problems in the community stay on. And for early commits, how can I preach integrity and LOYALTY when I pull the rug out from under them because someone with a bigger name decides to look at us late in the game.

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