Peach State Package? SU Has Interest from Teammates Peters/Thompson

Could a pair of defensive studs both be knocking on Syracuse’s door from Georgia?

Over the last year and a half, it seems Doug Marrone has had one mission on the recruiting trail: build a dominant defensive line. Judging from this past season the concept looks to be paying off. The Orange has been trying to reel in big ends like 4-star Ebenezer Ogundeko and Justin Moody of Pittsburgh, Syracuse is also moving higher on the radar of 3-star Georgia pass rusher Rakim Peters. The Fizz caught up with Peters, who says he plans on making an official visit to the Hill soon now that his season at Apalachee HS is over.

The 6’3” 245 lb. senior piled up 72 tackles and 7 sacks for the Wildcats this year. Peters has a ton of raw talent and is very agile for his size. His athleticism carries over to the basketball court, where he’s been a varsity starter as well for the last four years. His football coach Shane Davis says his year round training and versatility is keeping him in great shape. It showed on the gridiron this season. Davis experimented with Rakim at OLB as well. But he tells The Fizz he’s more effective on the line.

“I think he’s good enough to play the DE position. He’s bigger right now than he’s ever been. I feel like his best position in on the defensive line. He’s very tough to block, he makes plays in space, and he’s just a really good athlete.”

Peters has always kept the Orange at the top of his list. The Winder, Georgia native has only taken one official visit to Purdue this fall, but plans on taking his others to Syracuse, Colorado State, UCF and Western Kentucky. For a player with over a dozen offers, Rakim stressed that he wants to find “a home.” It doesn’t matter how flashy the program is, what’s most important is that he can find a football family. During the season, Peters and Greg Adkins seemed to have built that strong relationship. The two kept in touch every week or so. But Rakim tells the Fizz he hasn’t heard from Adkins or the SU coaching staff in about a month. Although it’s not uncommon for a coach to back off of a recruit during this time of year, it’s something to keep an eye on now that SU has nabbed a few recent commits, most notably California DE Trevon Trejo.

It’s a numbers game for Syracuse since this year’s class may only consist of 16 recruits. The Orange already has ten commitments, and has a good shot at landing other defensive line targets such as Ogundeko, Moody or Florida prospect Malik Brown. He, like Ebo, visited SU this past weekend and had a terrific time (if Brown does commit to SU, it may be simply for the BBQ). Since last year’s class, The Dougie has received nine D-Line commitments (Myles Hilliard, Markus Pierce-Brewster, Marcus Coleman, Josh Manley, Zian Jones, Isaiah Johnson, Wayne Williams and Trejo).

It will be interesting to see how much interest Syracuse shows in the 6 weeks until Signing Day. Peters has no clear favorite, and is still taking his time with his officials. The 3-star prospect is very soft spoken, but is still a motivator on the football field. Davis tells The Fizz he’s a team player and doesn’t beg for the spotlight.

“Rakim is not a rah-rah guy. He’s more likely, after he makes a big play, to go pick up the opponent and pat them on the back than he will be to jump and down and try and grab the spotlight. Not a trash talker, but when the balls snaps, the boy’s going to play.”

To twist the Peach State plot even further, there is another 3-star Apalachee HS defensive stud that cold be taking an official visit to the Hill. Johnny Thompson verbally committed to Purdue back in July. But after the Boilermaker fired head coach Danny Hope three weeks ago, Thompson is unsure. Syracuse was the first program to offer Thompson last year, and the 6’2” 205 lb. prospect likes the thought of playing college ball up north.

“I have tons of family up there. I actually have a cousin that went to Syracuse. I enjoyed [the campus]. I liked the academic side of it, it was a good place for me. If I needed any support I had family.”

The bad news is that Thompson hasn’t heard from the SU coaching staff since the summer. The reason could be that Syracuse gave him an initial verbal offer then, but never extended to him an official written one by the August deadline. Thompson was unsure if he had received an official offer. Nonetheless, the LB said he wanted to visit Syracuse, Colorado State and Louisiana-Lafayette because of the Purdue coaching change.

It shows SU’s ascent that it might have to turn away good talent, including top defensive prospects from a football mad state like Georgia. But the numbers game is at the discretion of the SU coaches. Syracuse could try for the 2-for-1 Apalachee Special with Peters and Thompson. If the Orange wants the duo, it’ll have to show them some love.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

22 Comments on this Post

  1. Just a thought but with all the attempts at going after all these long fast DE’s could Shafer be looking at implementing more 3-4 defensive packages? It would fit in with his attack style.

  2. …..
    This is further fanning the “flames” in the Juco vs. HS talent
    debate! The best talent who wants to play for HCDM should get the scholarship, giving out spots to lesser talented players makes no sense. But evaluating jucos vs HS kids is tricky… “potential” would lean toward the high schooler..unless juco was highly rated prior!

  3. Clearly the coaches are concentrating on the DEs they are talking with. If defense is the focal point some work in the secondary would be appreciated. A little help at the MIKE might work as well. Doug has fone good work on offense with two quarterbacks an d a quality RB but nothing as yet in the WR position unless Laray Smith is being looked at there which might be a factor. Regardless of his position Laray must put on some body mass without losing speed. At 175lbs he is wanting there.

  4. Orangeinva

    We’ve got a pretty good supply of WRs…
    West,Clarke, Kobena, Hale, Foster, Fundaburke, Flemming….I think we’re set.

    Do we have a QB that can gtet the ball to them? That’s the issue.

  5. First, please stop shoving “the dougie” down our throats. It doesn’t work. Next, it appears that SU coaches have moved on. It’s clear they like the JUCOs they brought over, and if they had wanted these two still, they would have been brought up last weekend. Third, Schaefer doesn’t play the 3-4 in regular situations and that won’t change. Finally, Myles Hilliard dropped off the face of the earth two-months ago, and it appears he’ll never play here. And, yes, we have plenty of QBs. One or two will emerge and do well next year.

  6. Kevin Fitzgerald

    I like it. I like that a lot. There’s really no reason why to change formations to a 3-4….but with all these “hybrid” rushers that’s a pretty interesting idea. Let’s wait and see how this class ends up. Ebo is a DE, but might see some time possibly at OLB, Moody plays on the line, etc. But it’s an interesting thought, one certainly up for discussion.

    That’s what I’ve been preaching all along. I think the best player should play. If the best DE is a JUCO from Cali I want that player. There is no harm in bringing in a few JUCO’s every year to make an impact now. Besides, this class is only going to be about 15-16 players. Small class. So why not have a few players be able to play right away. The JUCO route works in that sense.

    Laray is about 185lbs, 6’1″. He has played a lot in the slot this season at Xaverian and that could be an interesting switch. Regardless, I think WR is a position they might not fill in this draft class.

    Do agree with Orangeinva that the receiving core next year is pretty solid.

    A lot of people aren’t realizing that this team next year–ESPECIALLY THE DEFENSE–is going to be very deep. Very experienced and skilled.

  7. Does anyone have a link as to what actually happened with Hilliard ?

    I haven’t heard anything but rumors and every recruiting site still shows him committed to SU.

  8. i hope hilliard is still coming to the cuse. i want to see some offensive lineman commit. were getting good depth across the board. lots of competition for next year??

  9. IT’s official, just posted by

    Hilliard no longer coming to SU, bummer but it does open a spot for another recruit.

  10. That’s really too bad, and not just because he won’t be on the Hill. It sounds like he’s not going to be using his talents anywhere and missing out on a good education. Hopefully he gets his act together and has another go before it’s too late.

  11. Kevin Fitzgerald

    Derek, CuseOnly, Everyone,

    Check back on the Fizz tomorrow for the ENTIRE inside scoop to what happened to Myles.

  12. Russell MacEachern

    @Bgogo,welcome home long time no see,we’ve missed ur insight!I hope u enjoyed the season!I like this GA kid Rakim Peters,hope he visits w/his teammate soon while we still have a few schollies left!

  13. Russell MacEachern

    @bgogo,Norma Stits also disappeared since late Sept?

  14. Russell MacEachern

    Peters,Brown and Moody would shoreup the DE/OLB for 4 or 5 yrs and Im not confident about EO but who knows?Anything could happen w/him but he seems stuck on the FB factorys!!

  15. We already have a few DE’s that have committed to Syracuse. If we get anymore players at that position,chances will be, they gain weight and move to the defensive line or move to the linebacker position. Think about the possibilities of having line backers 6’4″ and 245 lbs on the team.

    Jayson Bromley came to Syracuse as a 6’4″ 245 DE. Gained weight and was playing the line at 285 lbs his 1st year and is now at 305 lbs. I see that happening with some the these recruits.

    All I can say is that the future for Syracuse Football is looking real good.

  16. Hey Russell MacEachern,have you noticed “bgogo” is back talking again.

    Welcome back old buddy.

  17. Again the QB situation is lacking for 2013. No real quality staring QB in stable. I’m saying now not in future!! 2013 will/could be another roller coaster ride named the “dougie”!! One decent year then a 5 win season the next year. All the good showing of 2012 will go out the window unless dougie gets it together for a 8 win season in 2013!!

  18. Thanks Ron and Russell. Nice to be remembered and back. Last thing I remembered, I was with Norma Stitz at a seedy bar in the Philippines. She was standing over my sunken body on the floor and looking like she’d just been drugged. Then I saw pirates grab her and throw a burlap bag over her head. Then, I blacked out. I awoke to blackness two nights later in a deep forest as a bonfire roared and naked pirates danced around it with machetes and hatchets. That’s when I noticed the burnt leg on the rotisserie over the bonfire. The pirates were all eating strange meat as they danced. I knew it then. It was Norma they ate. And I was next. I don’t know how I made it out alive, but I crawled for three weeks out of the forest, living off of crickets and bugs. I’m sorry about Norma, but it’s nice to get caught up on SU football again.

  19. @bgogo;

    Great imagination and an incredible story. I for one am relieved that you made it out of the jungle unharmed and have returned to the Fizz where the civilized world debates each other on a wide range of issues.

    It’s nice that you’ve returned bgogo, welcome home.

  20. @Russell MacEachern;Russell the kid(bgogo) has a great sense of humor. I’m laughing real hard at the story he’s just told us.


  21. 4orty4our

    @Chris…check out….LaMichael James, Noel Devine, Jacquizz Rodgers, Kendall Hunter, Darren Sproles. I could name a dozen more but I think you get the point. Just because a RB/WR scatback doesn’t weigh 200+ pounds doesn’t mean they can’t play football. Quite laughable how you constantly use outdated and refuted arguments. It’s like saying you have to be over 6’4 to play basketball. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You either have it or you don’t, and that applies in sports and life in general.

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