JuCo Junction: Syracuse Adding Slew of Players to Compete in ACC ASAP

Doug Marrone has been grabbing JuCo prospects like he’s holiday shopping. Syracuse has brought in over a number of junior college athletes over the last few weeks. Two-star MLB Luke Arciniega committed yesterday after a terrific visit on the Hill last weekend, making it five pledges in the last ten days for the Orange. The last commitment before this recent fantastic group was Augustus Edwards… five months ago.

Arciniega’s commitment makes it 13 for this class, with six being junior college transfers. Whether the class abides by Greg Adkins’ 16 recruit cap, at least a third of it will be JuCos. This isn’t a bad thing, and it says Marrone is serious about winning in the ACC. Not in a few years, but right now. The Orange is trying to avoid that 4-5 win “get-your-feet-wet” season. If you bring in the size and athletic maturity Marrone has nabbed over the last few weeks, it shows SU wants a successful ACC debut.

This class was going to be small anyway. SU will probably be in the high teens, after bringing in 22 commits last winter (19 are currently with the Orange after removing Myles HilliardDontez Ford and Ben Barrett). So SU is filling in this class with prospects that can compete right away for starting positions. It offsets the class being so small, and none of these verbals are binding. Every school has a few late switches in the weeks heading to NSD.

Here’s the physical size of the 2013 JuCo commits. Some will fill starting spots next season:

2-star MLB Luke Arciniega               6’4” 245 lbs

2-star OLB Josh Kirkland                 6’3” 215 lbs

2-star DE Trevon Trejo                       6’4” 245 lb.

2-star OL John Miller                         6’4” 310 lbs

2-star DT Wayne Williams               6’6” 335 lbs

3-star DB Darius Kelly                       5’11” 190 lbs

Most of them are already bigger than the Orange players currently at those positions. In terms of height and weight, Kirkland and Arciniega are both larger than SU’s most filled-out LB, Oliver Vigile (6’3” 225 lbs). Wayne Williams is bigger than Zian Jones, 6’4” 315 lbs. on the line. Size alone does not win games, but the addition of that physicality is to try and prevent being pushed around by a stronger football conference. Phil Steele just published his postseason rankings of the toughest college football schedules in ’12. Seven ACC schools made the top 45. The Big East had one: South Florida.

This has been a trend for Marrone. Over HCDM’s last three recruiting classes, he’s brought in 8 JuCos. One in 2011 (Sriki Diabate), two in 2012 (Jones, Markus Pierce-Brewster) and so far these five verbals this year. Diabate and MPB were starters this past fall, and Jones was regularly featured in the rotation. That’s a pretty good history. They will play. It’s just a matter of time, and how well they can adjust during spring practices and summer workouts. It took California JuCo Deon Goggins a couple seasons to adapt. Pierce-Brewster played right away. Sooner or later, they make impacts. 

The most important factor is these players address needs. With the graduations of Diabate and fifth-year senior Dan Vaughn, SU was faced with a big question mark at MLB. Would Marquis Spruill have to move back there? Would Vigile or Cam Lynch have to be converted? The addition of a powerful Arciniega helps solve the problem. The Rocklin, CA native has sideline-to-sideline speed and could step in right away to aid a suddenly thin position.

Williams and Trejo add depth to a defensive line that will be SU’s strongest asset next year. Three-star ACCAC Conference first-teamer Kelly replaces a defensive leader in Shamarko Thomas, and John Miller becomes a necessary addition to the O-Line. In fact, Syracuse didn’t have any DB, MLB or OL commits before this recent JuCo stream.

The only concerning part is that these older additions are flooding in at once. All five recruits were offered in a recent three-week span between 11/16 and 12/7 according to Mike McAlister of CuseNation.com. With National Signing Day around the corner, this could suggest SU realizes it doesn’t have great odds at reeling in more high school products, and is scrambling to fill the class. Regardless, Syracuse is bringing in talent that can play right away.

The term “grace period” may not exist in Marrone’s vocabulary. All he cares about while entering the ACC next fall is winning. JuCos will help him do that.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

Filed Under: FB RecruitingFeatured


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  1. Derek says:

    “The only concerning part is that these older additions are flooding in at once. All five recruits were offered in a recent three-week span between 11/16 and 12/7. With National Signing Day around the corner, this could suggest SU realizes it doesn’t have great odds at reeling in more high school products, and is scrambling to fill the class.”

    Are you just saying this, or is there evidence that this is actually the case? (not trying to be a jerk… I’m a bit concerned now).

  2. Cusealum05 says:

    As a note on the star ratings listed above…..

    Wayne Williams – Listed as 3 star recruit on Scout, Rivals and 247 Sports

    Trevon Trejo – Listed as a 3 star recruit on 247 Sports

  3. mike says:

    Chris Carter is another JUCO player that was brought in by Coach Marrone.

  4. mike says:

    Excuse me, Chris Clarke.

  5. OrangeCrush27 says:

    so was Davon Walls…

    I think we pick up at least 1-2 JUCO’s in Hunter and Savage (O-line).

    Leaves us with 2-3 scholly’s for possibly Laray Smith, Malik Brown and/or maybe EO….

  6. Ron says:

    @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    It’s been a long long time since syracuse has had a 245 lb LB that stood 6’4″. The size of the whole group is impressive to say the least.

    After looking at the list(CUSENATION) of possible recruits, what happens to all of them that don’t get scholarships? Do they go to junior colleges so that they can stay in shape and hope that they get offers again next year? Do they fade away and not play at all? What were they rated coming out of high school?

    I think that they’re all great additions to the team and wish them all well here at Syracuse.

  7. Kevin Fitzgerald says:

    I’ve looked at a ton of recruits at those positions that the JUCO’s have filled and there really aren’t too many other prospects that SU has a great chance at. Especially at the MLB position and in the secondary. That’s why Arciniega and Kelly are big JUCO pickups. SU has its sights set on another O-Lineman as well–Jaylen Hunter–but he is also a JUCO (from Arizona). It may also just be the strategy that Marrone wants to take. I’m fine with it. I’ve always said the best players should play. This works for a small 2013 class.

    Yes, the star rating is unpredictable with each site. Trejo/Williams bring immediate size on D-Line

    Yes, Clark was brought in a few months after the Class of 2012 was finalized in February.

    I also agree SU has a good shot at OL Jaylen Hunter. SU has 13 commits right now…I think Laray Smith, Malik Brown are almost slam dunks…those 3 make it a class of 16. Some dark horses are Ogundeko, 2-star Florida DE Ramar Daniels.

    Will be interesting to see how things play out. I think this class could go as high as 20 commits.

  8. [...] athletes over the last few weeks. Two-star MLB Luke Arciniega committed yesterday after…[read more] Tags: Doug Marrone, Luke Arciniega, syracuse [...]

  9. Russell MacEachern says:

    Im still concerned and unhappy with where this class is going after such a good start!BTW any news on OL Al Officer?…Ron,where can we meet at the bowl game?

  10. Russell MacEachern says:

    I like hearing OLB/DE Justin Brown and Laray Smith are near locks!!!Brown sounds like he could be a steal down the line.I love edge rushers!!

  11. bgogo says:

    Officer committed to Pitt. We’ll see how these guys fill in. It’s been a mixed bag with JUCOs so far. Guys like Goggins and MPB have brought something to the team right away, while guys like Zian Jones and Clarke have shown how quickly time can pass by on JUCOs with limited success. It’s not a good sign to have to bring in this many JUCOs, but it’s where the team is right now. It will take another good season or two before the team is consistently sought after by more top recruits. Hopefully, some of these guys help make that happen.

  12. Section 129 Smitty says:

    I have no problems with the JUCO guys as history has shown these guys can play. Alot of the JUCO kids played this year and played very well. In Marrone I trust. I think we just need to land Smith and EO and this team will be very good for awhile. I got my tixs in the mail yesterday for the Pinstripe bowl section 122.

  13. Ron says:

    @Russell MacEachern;

    Russ we can meet over to the Yankee Tavern if you want to. We’re coming in on one of the Cazenovia Buses. I’ll let you know which one when we get the information. there is a sidewalk vendor right across from where the bus parking lot,we can meet there if you want too or there is a McDonalds across from the Stadium. We can meet there if you’d like.

    Whatever you decide Russell will be fine with me. You tell me where ok.

    I received our tickets in the mail yesterday. We’re sitting in Sec 225 row 6 seats 17-20 on the 2nd level on the Syracuse Side of the field.

  14. OrangeCrush27 says:

    Let’s look at the D-Line alone for next year:

    Bromely, Crume, Raymon, Jones, Brewster, Walls, Williams, Trejo, simmons, Coleman, Robinson, Welsh, Sloan and Manley….

    Wow…Thats a very BIG D-Line. Average of 6’4/285 (+/- height/weight)

  15. Kevin Fitzgerald says:

    The two biggest targets right now look to be Laray Smith and Ogundeko, in addition to Malik Brown. The O-Lineman from Arizona Jaylen Hunter is a JUCO but could provide depth if he choses SU.

    I agree with OrangeCrush and have been saying for a while next year’s defensive line will be scary. The only losses–although they are tough–are Goggins and Sharpe. Last few recruiting classes have brought in a lot of big DE’s.’

    What do you guys think…what will be the scariest/deepest unit next season for SU?

  16. Terry says:

    Yesterday Rivals.com recruiting has SU at #86. Today SU is at #88. dougie’s recruiting is like a shot down plane ready to crash. #88 come on!!! That’s a band-aid approach to recruiting=JUCO’s. Something smells with HCDM’s style of recruiting, yet so far the homers back his methods!!! There is something just not right here!! This is not a way to build a program. What dougie’s done ,so far, is fill holes with 2 star JUCO players. You dougie trolls have backed him and his over 4 million salary for 4 years. Why not question this method. Hell the PS or other media types won’t so I have to!!

  17. Russell MacEachern says:

    Ron,Ill probably stop in the Yankee bar for a corned beef sandwich and brew with my Orange #22 shirt but I’ll finalize a couple days b4 the game so we dont get lost!!

  18. Russell MacEachern says:

    Thanks bgogo,I spoke to soon as CuseOnly explained in a previous thread that we pulled AOs scholly due to his stalling which I found appropriate as some kids think the Cuse can wait forever for them to decide!!Hes not EO so I guess he jumped at Pitt’s offer when we pulled ours!?!?

  19. Cusealum05 says:

    @ Terry

    Presently, Rivals has us ranked #70 in the country ahead of Miami, Purdue, Cincy and other quality programs. Rivals and Scout also take the number of recruits into the equation and if we had more recruits we would be ranked better but this is a small class.

    HCDM has put together a quality class especially if we land Malik Brown and Laray Smith. He has also taken us to two bowl games in four years and a co-Big East championship. He has done an excellent job with the program thus far.

  20. Ron says:

    @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    Your right and you asked as to what would be the strength of the team next year. There’s no doubt that the defensive unit as a whole will be scary,very scary. I will miss both Diabate and Goggins and want to wish them both good luck. Both are quality human beings.

    The offense(led by Charlie Loeb)is going to be alright too. Can’t wait for it all to start in 2013. But first we have to deal with the task at hand,beating WVA in the Pinstripe Bowl and bringing home the trophy with a 8-5 over-all record for 2012.

    @Cusealum05—some people(Terrie)just can’t or refuse to see the improvement that Coach Marrone had made here. The thing to remenber is this team is only going to get better.

  21. Jesse H says:

    I am a huge Marrone fan but am concerned about the recruiting to some degree. The only thing that I consider calming is the fact that this staff has coached up a lot of these kids who came in without the notoriety and pub. One of the biggest things I am looking forward to is the red-shirt freshman that will be on the field next year. Will be interesting to see what our first true red shirt class looks like.

  22. HedgeHog says:

    I for one have no issue with us signing JuCo prospects. All of the other top 25 programs do the same thing. Look at who these fellas had offers from = Oregon, Miami, BYU, Michigan St, Texas A&M, Utah, Arizona, TCU, . . . just to name a few. If you look at the roster of ever one of the top 20 schools, they have at least 5-10 Juco transfers on board. If anything we haven’t had enough recently. If these guys can play and they want to wear Orange – put them on the field !

  23. Terry says:

    Cusealum05 its #71 now at Rivals. That’s after the JUCO’s got awarded their stars!! Still not good in any sense. Hidden issues here some where!!

  24. Cusealum05 says:

    @Terry – #69 now that Malik Brown has given his verbal. You will also notice that our avg stars are higher then several programs ranked above us such as Boise St., BYU, SMU,etc. These sites take into account the number of players that commit, we have a small class which is pushing our ranking down.

    HCDM brought in an excellent class last year and so far a solid class this year which is a mix of future starters like Gus, Malik and Zach and jucos that will compete now. We won a share of the BE title this year. We continue to make progress under him. No hidden issues, only a program that is continuing in the right direction. Things don’t happen over night, takes time. Go Orange!

  25. [...] JuCo Junction: Syracuse Adding Slew of Players to Compete in … OrangeFizz Free Syracuse Recruiting News, SU Sports Rumors, Orange Fizz Radio … Syracuse has brought in over a number of junior college athletes over the last few …[read more] [...]

  26. Russell MacEachern says:

    Ron,nephews tickets came Sec 119 row 17 seats 12-16!!…any HS visitors this week?Not juco’s,unless there AAs!!LOL..merry xmas to Ron,Dipper,Carlton,bgogo,CDL,SmittySec119,Derek

  27. Russell MacEachern says:

    ctd,Malone,CuseOnly,OCrush27,LouR,hedgeH,Terry..yea u too!

  28. Ron says:

    @Russell MacEachern;it sounds pretty good russell. It looks like your seat’s are on the 1st level and we have to be just about in the same area,my tickets are right above you on the second level.

    Going to be an exciting game.

  29. Ron says:

    To all who have made a post on this web site,and especially to all that Russell has mentioned in the above posts,from my family to all of you and your families MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEARS.

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