SU Adds Jones & Garick: Why the JUCO Route is Perfect for the D-Line

The Syracuse defensive line is in desperate need of bodies, and Doug Marrone is looking at the JUCO route to help fill the need. SU’s recruiting class added two more names as the Orange reeled in Mark Garrick and Zian Jones from the California junior college ranks. They’ll be asked to step in right away and help shape up a unit that loses Chandler Jones, Mikhail Marinovich and Torrey Ball.

Both Garick and Jones have tremendous size, and will likely see playing time next season. Picking up the commitment from Georgia’s Josh Manley was also a big addition for the line. Let’s break down Syracuse’s sudden West Coast flavor.

  • Zian JonesDT (West Los Angeles CC)

Jones stands 6’3” 325 lbs. Let that sink in for a moment. The difference he could make at nose guard with just his size is tantalizing. His coach Marguet Miller also praised his freakish athleticism when he chatted with The Fizz this week. 

“He has glaring size, of course, but has great athletic ability to go along with that. You can’t run at him because he is so big, and he’s able to go sideline to sideline to make tackles. He’s athletic enough that you couldn’t run away from him.”

In ten games this season, Jones recorded 4 sacks and 45 tackles, 15 of those for a loss. His most impressive stat? He runs a 4.8 40. He’s 325 pounds and runs under a 5. Amazing. The 3-star recruit brings the experience that is needed right now at the position. The advantages of his physical maturity and two years of experience already under his belt is welcomed by the coaching staff. Zian was set to visit San Diego State and Fresno State over the next few weeks, so it was crucial he commit to SU now.

  • Mark Garrick, DE (Sacramento CC)

“Gucci” Garrick is also a monster. At 6’4” 270 lbs., he’s already bigger than any of the other DE’s on the Syracuse roster. The South Carolina native wanted nothing more than to come back to the East Coast to play college ball. Mark calls himself a “run-stopper,” but is also able to get to the quarterback. Garrick had 54 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in ten games this season. Mark has said he and Zian wanted to play together at Syracuse. Mission accomplished.

Some people may be concerned about having these two for only two years on the Hill. But the Orange needs quick fixes and experience on that line right now. This duo clearly has outstanding physical ability, and great football knowledge. Guys with their size are vital, even with their junior status. Deon Goggins didn’t play one snap his junior season, but don’t expect that to happen to these two. 

The Orange is also heavily pursuing JUCO DE Marcus Pierce-Brewster from San Francisco City College. MPB visited the Hill last weekend, but is also strong looks from Indiana, Oregon State, and Mississippi. The 6’4” 235 lbs. speedster was the Northern California DL MVP, and registered 62 tackles, 18.5 for a loss, and 8 sacks in ten games. Watch for the inside scoop on Marcus later this week on The Fizz.

These three could create a mammoth defensive line for the next two seasons. This may be why SU retracted its scholarship offer from Florida DT Yoshoub Timms last week. Fans should love bringing in JUCOs at a position like D-Line, where the physical maturity is so advantageous. Goggins was SU’s gateway out West. Now Garick and Jones could be huge for an improved D next season.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald


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  1. bruce says:

    great recruiting for quick fixes, and probrably should do more of that really. as long as the players can handle the academic side of things.

  2. Connor says:

    fizz u need to do ur projected depth chart things like last year once signing day comes and goes I’m interested to see who you think gets called up to start and who needs to wait another year… defense would be tremendously improved if we could bring in Wayne Morgan, Pierce Brewster, brantley, Manley, Garrick, Jones, Whitehurst, owens, washington, barn well, ford, and whigham also is Dan Vaughan back next year?

  3. Ron says:

    Hey guy’s,are you leaving anyone off the JUCO list? I was told that there were 4 defensive line players from California that was interested in coming to Syracuse. If this is true, then from what I’ve been told Marcus Pierce-Brewster will be the third to sign from this group.

    We need the size up front, good job to Coach Marrone and staff. keep up the good work.

    GO CUSE.

  4. chad says:

    Any recent news on Bryan Johnson from Nassau Community College. He seems like a freak athlete who tore up this year. Only problem is something with NCAA transfer guidelines because he left school for a few years to work

  5. Terry says:

    Is this a quick fix for the program or HCDM job??? The class if it stays this way is better than I thought, but still not top 30 in rankings. Other BE/ACC programs are ahead of us. Huge year this year coming up.

  6. Fitz says:

    Bruce/Connor:
    Absolutely agree that the D vastly improved this week. I am fan of the “quick fix” by adding JUCO’s to fill the void on the D-Line. In two years, just think of the combination of Jones, Garrick, Manley, Brantley: insane. So much size and athleticism. Morgan would no doubt be the cherry on top for this class. And we’ll definitely get on that depth chart.

    Ron/Chad:
    Only MPB, Jones, and Garrick were the JUCOs from Cali that were offered. Same with Johnson from Nassau CC; SU has not offered the big guy.

  7. Terry says:

    Sorry Manley is not certain to sign as of yet!!!

  8. Hyungjin says:

    Nov08Nicole Lavoie Haha I’m DEFINITELY going to watch this and probably bring some fry bread as a movie snack! I got some awemsoe fry bread skills too! But I don’t do beauty pageants LOL

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