Why Did Dontez Ford Leave Syracuse & How Will Marrone Fix Safety Depth?

Rumors had swirled late last week that Syracuse freshman safety Dontez Ford would transfer, and the school has made it official. The Fizz tried to contact him on the decision, but he’s not speaking publicly right now. He tweeted:

“Not answering any questions about transferring, especially over twitter. If you got my number, text me, maybe I’ll respond. *shrugs*”

The Fizz did indeed reach out via text, but he did not respond. Sounds like he might be getting some heat from Orange Nation. He tweeted:

“Someone said they thought I was a good kid… So I’m not a good kid because I didn’t want to go to your school?”

This tweet wasn’t specifically addressed at anyone, nor was it part of a Twitter conversation. It’s probably just a response to a disappointed fan, and not targeted at the coaching staff. Doug Marrone’s crew has a very strong reputation, so that’s highly doubtful anyway. Scout.com’s Pittsburgh affiliate told CuseNation.com’s Mike McAllister that people inside the Pitt program were surprised at Ford’s intended transfer.

This would seem to suggest that Ford doesn’t have anything decided on where he will transfer. Many believe though, that he’s looking to play closer to home in western Pennsylvania. If he had been talking to Pitt coaches while still on the roster at Syracuse, that would be considered tampering.

Ford’s high school coach told us last summer the Orange found a gem. Disappointing it didn’t work out for him at SU.

“He is a hard worker and very driven. He doesn’t need to be motivated to work. Dontez will excel at the next level.”

Ford came to SU as a terrific all-around athlete, a basketball and track standout, plus a two-way player at Sto-Rox High School. On Signing Day, Ford told The Fizz he built a unique relationship with Dan Conley. But the assistant coach was fired last off-season.

Just by looking at what Dontez has posted publicly, it seems just another case of an 18-year-old missing his hometown. Certainly not rare for young college students. He retweeted a picture of him and his girlfriend yesterday with the title “Finally home.” He’s made a number of suggestions on Twitter that he couldn’t wait to be back in PA at the end of the semester. He didn’t seem to have a chance to play locally. He chose Syracuse over Akron, Temple and Vanderbilt. 

The Fizz met with Ford on his home turf last March while covering the NCAA Tournament. He was really looking forward to his time at Syracuse. He’s a different kind of guy from your typical athlete. He doesn’t watch TV. He writes poetry. He’s a thinker. He was looking forward to his engineering classes as much as football.

The move leaves SU thin at the safety position. Shamarko Thomas will graduate, Shu Mungwa left last off-season to pursue a music career, and freshman Devante McFarlane was moved from safety to tailback. That might have been the reason the Orange pressed hard for JuCo Darius Kelly of Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. He can step in and help immediately. 

With all the talent at running back, it would seem likely McFarlane moves back to defense. Jerome Smith, Steve Rene and Prince Tyson-Gulley have another year left. Adonis Ameen-Moore will be a junior. Ashton Broyld is officially listed as a running back. George Morris signed in February, and Gus Edwards will be entering his freshman season next fall. Plus, speed demon Laray Smith could be leaning Orange.

Well wishes to Ford in his future endeavors. Maybe the Orange will see him in the ACC down the road. He’s back home now.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

Filed Under: FeaturedFootball


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  1. orangeskin says:

    McFarlane will be moved back to safety, and Kelly will be in the mix to start. Based on his twitter feed, it sounds like Ford will be transferring back to Pitt. He better hurry up and do so though. Won’t he have to sit out 2 years if he signs after January 1, 2013? I’m pretty sure the ACC has a 2 year rule for intra-conference transfers, and I believe the rule kicks in January 1 for SU and Pitt, since both schools join the ACC in 2013. No need to harass the kid on twitter, and doing so could hurt SU with future recruits. SU can’t worry about Ford. Instead, the coaches need to get moving recruiting other safety prospects. I do think that Ford should be criticized for trying to get another freshman to transfer. In his twitter feed, he tries to do that. So, while I don’t think SU fans should jump all over him, he should also refrain from conduct that does nothing but encourage SU fans to jump all over him. He can’t have it both ways. If he wants SU fans to leave him alone, he needs to not try to convince other SU players to leave. Best of luck Dontez, but historically, transfers out of SU have not found greatness elsewhere.

  2. Matt S says:

    Take er easy big guy. And there is nothing private about a picture that is posted to Twitter.

  3. Terry says:

    BYE!! BYE!! Don’t let the door hit ya!!!

  4. Terry says:

    Gez I never thought I’d say this but I’m kinda missing AXEMAN. I see that last week and so far this week no programing at all on TWC of the x-AXEMAN show. Where is it?? Or is it ca-put or PFV!!! Let us know please. It was really the only live SU College sporting news we can get in NYS. TY!!

  5. Ron says:

    @DA is a Moron;—why did ford leave? well you didnt give a reason just tried to start usual DA BS drama.

    I believe no one except Dontez Ford knows the reason he’s leaving Syracuse. Could it be because he’s homesick,maybe. No playing time,good possibility,couldn’t get along with other team members,don’t know the answer to that one either. There could be a million different reasons and not one of us will ever know.

    The ownership of that picture of him and his girl friend was forfeited when he posted it on twitter and by doing so gave everyone in the country the right to it. Do I honestly care if he leaves or not? NO!! I have trust in the coaching staff to fill that position before national signing day. Bringing in JUCO player Darius Kelly is a great start and I’m sure one or more players will be signed to fill that position.

    Your opinion on the Fizz being a BS web site is incredibly inaccurate and stupid to say the least. I believe they give us information about the program that no one else does. We may not agree with what gets posted here,but it gives us the right to challenge their point of view. So step back and take some Pepto Besmol for your stomach indigestion and once it’s calmed down reread the article,you’ll come to the conclusion that they actually tried to get in touch with Mr. Ford to see why he was leaving the team.

    But please,take something for your indigestion,you’ll feel better if you do.

  6. Kyle says:

    Did u steal this guys girlfriend back in college or something? haha

    I do agree that the title is a little misleading but ya know what this is a blog, you dont have to pay 10 bucks a month for this info its just what D.A is hearing and then adds his opinion. So if your expecting to hear only top notch breaking news every single post spend some money and go get a rivals membership or something.

  7. Ron says:

    @DA is a Moron;

    Just letting you know,interracial relationships have been going on longer than either one of has been alive and will be going on long after you and I have passed on. That’s not the story here.

    Let’s face the fact that your nothing but a loud mouth freaking bigot!!!!

  8. DA says:

    Wow. This got out of hand really quick. He has made numerous references to missing home. This picture was taken when he returned home to see his GF and posted via Instagram on his public Twitter. It’s only supposed to represent how he misses home. I won’t even address the idea that there is a racial component. That’s just ridiculous. This story was written by Craig Hoffman, as it states at the end of the post. I edited it and published it, as well as chose the pic. We wish him nothing but the best, as it states in the piece. We surmise – as many do – that he left SU because he misses home. Not rare for an 18-year old away for the first time. Not sure how the title is misleading. I’m always open for critique of the website, but let’s be respectful and rational while doing it. It’s also nice that @DA is a Moron used a fake email address to leave a comment. I might have to steal that handle, though. This is a wonderful community of SU fans. We don’t need nonsense hysteria to ruin that. Thanks guys.

  9. Duany says:

    He can’t transfer to Pitt, you’re not allowed to transfer to a school in the same conference.

  10. Terry says:

    DA how about letting us know if there is going to be a replacement for the AXEMAN show. Sent a e-mail to him(Axe) but all I got was a neutral e-mail saying Axe left The Score 1260 from a Mr Tom Mitchell!! Is there a replacement person like Axe said or program cancelled!!! Jeez its like a James Bond thriller here!!

  11. DA says:

    Hey Terry – I’m thinking there is, but they haven’t told anything to me yet. Hope so – always love the local flavor of Syracuse. Until then Plavin is in.

    As for Mr. Nonsense today, as owner of the site I reserve the right to delete any offensive material. Suggesting anything racial is not anything The Fizz will be associated with. So if you have an issue with the site, all readers have my email is above: [email protected]. Until then – these aggressive and offensive comments will be deleted.


  12. Derek says:

    Count it! ‘nother JUCO commit: http://syracuse.scout.com/2/1250139.html

  13. Section 129 Smitty says:

    Hes a young kid and has to do what is best for him. Good luck Dontez Ford

  14. Ron says:

    Thank you D.A. we really don’t need things like that posted here. If it needs to be edited so be it. Take filth like that off this web site.

  15. Ron says:

    I see that you’ve already removed his disgusting post. Thank you very much.

  16. Cuse17 says:

    Homophobic Ron calling someone a bigot! Unbelievable…..

  17. DA is a Liar says:

    Picture isn’t from his instagram account it is from her twitter account.

    DA is lying to all of you, time to come clean liar.

    Why did you take a picture of her account? why not the dozen or so on his account of just him?

  18. DA is a Liar says:

    Picture isn’t from his instagram account it is from her twitter account.

    DA is lying to all of you, time to come clean liar.

    Why did you take a picture of her account? why not the dozen or so on his account of just him?.

  19. DA is a Liar says:

    DA will delete my posts quickly he doesn’t want the truth our there…keep up with the lies DA. Maybe tell us another one while your at it. just randomly selected the picture of his instagram because it was on there right after he got back….

    was not posted on his instragram was retweeted from her account…his instragram has plenty of pictures of just him…you selected that pic for a reason…what is it?

  20. Ron says:


    Homophobic Ron calling someone a bigot! Unbelievable.

    Are you the same guy that told us all to fall in line and shut our mouths? Are you the one that responded by saying you were a grad of Maxwell? If you,are what was your major? A degree in citizenship or Public Affairs? In other words your degree is worthless,right.

    And if you didn’t notice “DA is a Liar” is only focusing on the picture and nothing else and responded with same old BS that probably the both of you learned while in class at Maxwell.

  21. Russell MacEachern says:

    Oh Oh here we go again,some of us cant stay civil!!Come on guys were here for pleasure not strife!!

  22. Russell MacEachern says:

    Ron,I give credit to D.A. for ignoring the accusation yet not deleting it.Though I would delete it as inflamatory!

  23. HedgeHog says:

    Everyone needs to settle down. pump the brakes if you will. Let’s stop the name calling and rude comments. This is a great, great site – let’s keep it that way. I check out all the SU sports websites and in my opinion, this one may be the best. Now, as for Dontez Ford – it’s a bummer he has decided to leave, but if thats what he wanted to do, who are we to stop him or criticize? I would’t want him staying on the team if he doesn’t want to be here. It would inevitably affect his on-field performance, which we don’t need. Seems like Darius Kelly or any of the other potential players will fit just fine. Stay classy Syracuse and go ORANGE !!!!

  24. DA is a Liar says:

    Fact is he lied again as he has in the past

    this site is a gossip site and no more

    there is no news in this article just a lame attempt to capitalize on an espn/parker situation.

  25. DA is a Liar says:

    Notice no comment from DA or anyone at orange fizz on the facts???

    the irony

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