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Speed Merchant: Syracuse Closing in on Big Play Brooklyn Back Laray Smith?

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Syracuse continues to smash the recruiting trail of the speediest player in the Big Apple. Rest assured Orange Nation, Doug Marrone is still large and in charge in New York CityThree-Star Xavarian HS RB Laray Smith reiterated to The Fizz Syracuse is still high on his list. But not for all generic reasons you’d expect.

“It’s not just about [knowing] people there, and it’s close to New York. It’s more about the respect [SU] has shown me, and the love they show me. They make me know that they are interested in me and like me a lot.”

Other schools that have offered Laray can’t keep up with SU. When we asked the 6’1”, 190 lb. Brooklyn native if Syracuse and Tennessee were still his top two schools, he replied, “Yes. Especially Syracuse.” Smith talks with John Anselmo and the Orange coaching staff twice a week. The senior admitted this connection sets SU apart from other interested schools.

Smith also tells The Fizz he has two official visit dates set for Syracuse and Tennessee. He’ll be down in Knoxville either the weekend of November 23rd or the 30th, and will be on the Hill December 7th. SU QB commit Zach Allen also confirmed to The Fizz that’s the weekend he, Austin Wilson and Augustus Edwards will also be on campus. Smith said Coach Anselmo wants to bring up all the top recruits at once.

The Fizz also talked with Laray about another big time NYC recruit, 4-star Ebenezer Ogundeko. Ebo still has Syracuse amongst his top schools with Florida, Arizona State, and Mississippi. But could SU be emerging as the favorite? The two talk frequently, especially about SU.

“We talk about games, Syracuse, us going there. [Ogundeko] brings it up once in a while.”

You be the judge Orange fans. We remember the E&E Boys, Ebenezer and Edwards, were supposed to be a package deal this summer. With Ebo talking more about going to SU with Laray, there might be a new deal on the horizon.

According to Laray, there might also be fewer schools Syracuse has to battle with. Oregon has not offered, but has been expressing interest in him for months. Now the Ducks seem to be backing off. Laray hasn’t talked to the coaching staff out in Eugene in about three weeks, and doesn’t think an offer is likely. West Virginia is also high on him, but has not offered yet, either.

On the field, Smith has torn it up, and is improving game by game. Last week, in a 53-12 drubbing of Holy Trinity HS, Laray carried the ball 9 times for 209 yards and 3 TD’s. The speedy back broke touchdown runs of 65 and 75 yards. Once he gets past the front line of the D, there is no stopping him. Defensive backs are not quick enough to bring the senior down.

“This last week, I was in a different zone. Last game I just had fun. I felt like I had to step up for my team and try to lead us to a championship still, because we still have the opportunity.”

Xavarian is only 2-5 on the season, but will be playoff bound after its regular season finale this weekend against St. Anthony’s HS. Smith did not play in the Clippers’ first two games of the season, after suffering a high ankle sprain, but feels like he’s now. Laray has a confident swagger to his game. It’s what allows him to take his athletic ability to the next level. One aspect that has improved is his versatility and vision.

“I always had good field vision. It was always about me having the opportunity to get to the secondary. In my head, once I get to the secondary it’s a different show. It becomes me against the safety, and I’m pretty sure a safety isn’t going to tackle me”

The tailback also has worked extensively on putting on some more muscle and bulking up before heading to college next fall. It’s the more physical aspect of his game he’s worked on this season, like hitting the holes harder and blocking.

After Smith finishes up his senior season, he’ll head out to Arizona to play in the Semper Fi All-America Bowl. Fellow Brooklyn native Wayne Morgan played in it last year. Morgan was actually the one who convinced Laray that he’d be good enough to play in the game.

So as Laray gets better and quicker on the football field, Syracuse is getting closer and closer to reeling in New York’s fastest recruit.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

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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