Big Apple Bond: Ishaq Williams’ Dad Advising Ogundeko in Recruiting Process

Shaun Williams tells The Fizz Syracuse is first rate football school & NYC kids have to pass it down.

Syracuse has branded itself as New York’s College Team. Daryl Gross has marketed it, but Doug Marrone has embodied it. He’s used it to dominate the recruiting grounds in NYC, and most importantly Brooklyn. The Fizz has highlighted Marrone’s success in this regard over the last few years. In 2010, HCDM’s first full recruiting class, he reeled in just one recruit from New York that was ranked in the state’s top 10, John Kinder. Over the next two years he brought in five. And on the eve of Ebenezer Ogundeko’s decision day, The Dougie has a chance to bring in three of the state’s top eight recruits in the Class of 2013, all of whom hail from NYC.

Year after year more recruits from the Big Apple show up on New York State’s top ranked prospect lists. The talent level in the five boroughs is increasing, and SU is tapping into that. One person tracking this trend is a familiar face to the Fizz Fam, Mr. Shaun Williams – Ishaq’s dad.

Williams may seem like an ordinary Syracuse alum. He’s a teacher in the New York City Public School system, and also teaches GED classes at York College. But he is also a mentor to dozens of PSAL football recruits who are looking for guidance during their recruiting processes. On player in particular is Ebenezer. The Fizz caught up with Williams during SU’s 38-14 victory in the Pinstripe Bowl about his relationship with the state’s top ranked recruit. Ogundeko reached out to Williams for help, knowing that his son Ishaq (who was also the top ranked NY prospect in 2011) dealt with the months of the national scrutiny before deciding on Notre Dame.

“I said to [Ebenezer], let’s just have a weekly breakfast date and we’ll sit and we’ll talk about what your thoughts are for the previous week, what your calendar is looking like, and I’ll make sure you’re looking at the situation the right way.”

The city’s recruits know that Williams is willing to help since he’s familiar with the process and aided Ishaq two years ago. In fact, Shaun was the one who drove players like Ebenezer and other SU recruits to the Pinstripe Bowl and up to Syracuse for unofficial visits. On Saturday, he, Ebo, SU commits Wayne Williams, Augustus Edwards and others all sat in the same section at Yankee Stadium. It really is a NYC brotherhood and Williams tells The Fizz he will help any recruit who reached out to him. It’s not only a great service to have Shaun available to players looking for guidance, but it’s tremendous to have him representing Syracuse as an institution. He cares about those who come after him, and he’s a terrific torch-bearer for the university.

Williams wants what’s best for these young teenagers. Lucky for Syracuse, Williams says he roots for the state’s top players to go to SU.

“Absolutely. To think that Syracuse now is second rate, that’s a misnomer. Syracuse is moving to the ACC, they had a first round draft pick in Chandler Jones last year, they’re constantly putting guys into the [NFL], Syracuse is as good as any place, anywhere in the country.”

Whether Ogundeko chooses SU remains to be seen. But it’s already a victory for the Orange to have made Ebo’s final list of two schools with Clemson.

But Williams stressed that if Syracuse gets theses top recruits from NYC (like Wayne Morgan last year), Marrone and the coaches must make them feel at home.

“When you go to some place like Syracuse from Brooklyn they have to take care of you. Syracuse’s bread and butter is right here in Brooklyn. If they don’t take care of [the NYC recruits] they have egg on its face.”

Williams isn’t saying these kids should be pampered compared to other recruits, but any problems are within “shouting distance” from home. This theory has worked in SU’s favor over the last couple seasons. Every recruit The Fizz has spoken to from Brooklyn or Staten Island says there’s a current Orange player in his ear telling selling him on the program.

Williams used Morgan as an example. One of the top five prospects in the state last year got immediate playing on special teams this season. Morgan also occasionally made his way onto the field with the secondary. This brotherhood, Williams alluded to, blazes a trail for all NYC recruits.

“It behooves us to remind the young men, that they’re not just getting recruited for themselves. They’re going to make sure, that if they carry themselves the right way and conduct themselves the right way, the guys behind them are going to be recruited.”

It’s simple. You perform on the field, and more coaches from national programs will be knocking on the doors in the Big Apple. It’s the reason New York City alone has produced a four or five-star players three of the last four seasons. The Ishaq’s and the Ebenezer’s become the role models for an entire city not known for football prominence. And fortunately for SU, these players are right in its backyard.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

39 Comments on this Post

  1. LilJoe47

    I am sure that Mr. Williams’ heart is in the right place, and everything he is doing is above board, but is anyone from the university monitoring this situation? It is very easy to cross the line with the NCAA, and the one thing this rebuilding process doesn’t need are sanctions. Even “getting a ride to the pinstripe bowl and recruiting trip”, could be deemed some type of infraction (Here’s a question that needs to be asked and answered; Who is paying for the breakfasts?). In this day and age of “street agents”, someone needs to make sure no infractions are occurring. It doesn’t matter if your heart is in the right place, it’s a fine line to walk. I hope Coach Marrone has had a sit down with Mr. Williams to discuss what is okay and what is not.

  2. Still don’t trust this guy. He feels like a posse leader. His word to these recruits seem a little to strong for me. That’s why his son went to ND. He likes to play games. HCDM/dougie has lost more NYC talent than he has signed. His son was one of them!! For a so called NYC guy dougie has lost to many city kids. Even some upstate players were lost too!!

  3. Why do I have te feeling that this mentoring will come back and bite the Orange in its butt?

  4. If he comes he comes. If he does not then he loses out in playing immediately and is just a number at Clemson.

    Mr williams is doing the right thing in helping these young men out and his son did not come here and he could have made his debut 2 years ago but this is water over the dam.

    HCDM has to remain here and Gross and Cantor need to make him a deal he can’t refuse. GO SU!!!

  5. Some of you guys live to troll. I respect what he’s doing for the community first. Leave the man be.

  6. Steve Leahy

    I have already read that Ebo has made his decision on the school he will attend and that he has already advised the coaches at each school. This makes me believe that he has chosen Clemson and gave DM no reason to wait until signing period to interview with NFL teams. I am not saying that DM is interviewing because Ebo is not coming, I am saying that if he thought Ebo was coming then he may have waited to interview. Just my opinion.

  7. Steve go smoke more crack lol. Yea DM is basing his lifelong decision on a 17 year old kid’s decision. lol what planet do you live on?

  8. Steve Leahy

    Vito, read what I wrote you uneducated buffoon. Man, some posters on here are just so slow and narrow minded.

  9. Vito … this Steve is a tool..

  10. Steve = Florida Steve from

  11. Did you guys not read what Steve wrote? Reading comprehension must not have been a strength in your education.

  12. 4orty4our

    @Chris, I hope not! That dude’s on his 15th or 16th name by now. I can no longer tolerate the constant trolling on that website.

  13. 4orty4our

    I read what Steve wrote. I understand his point. I think he’s 100% wrong, but who am I to say?

    HCDM is not going to the NFL. He has to take these interviews because it helps the program. When Mort reports on ESPN that HCDM from Syracuse University has interviewed for multiple NFL jobs, it helps the branding of Syracuse football on a national level.

    HCDM is smart. He knows that by having his name tossed around as one of the top NFL ready college coaches,top recruits will take note and Syracuse at the very least may begin to intrigue them.

    We can all speculate but that’s just what it is, speculation. Let’s wait until tomorrow when EO makes his decision on which orange to wear.

  14. HCDM’s name being tossed around only helps if he stays, and at that, it would be better if he was offered and turned it down. I don’t see that its good to be out there and have him leave. Marrone was an NFL HC candidate before he took the job at SU. This may be more publicized, but it isn’t new. I think it could hurt recruiting, and to that point, I understand Steve’s comment, but I don’t think it’s true.

  15. If an NFL team calls to interview you for their newly opened HC position, you tell them OK, but wait till Saturday. You don’t do that to the recruit who woudl commit to play for you and then find out you’re lelaving, or yourself, (the position might be filled by the time the recruit makes his decision). EBO does not figure heavily in this decision, it is bigger than that, and any time he talks to a deep pocketed potential employer, the possibility is there that he might get an offer he can’t refuse.

  16. Smitty Section 129

    Talk to me Monday after EO committs and the Dougie stays .

  17. Kevin Fitzgerald

    First off, Ishaq’s dad isn’t committing any violations. He is just an SU alum and isn’t connected to the football program in any way. That’s why he can give Ebo rides to the Pinstripe bowl or up to campus for an unofficial visit, etc. The work he does for these kids is great. If they reach out to him he’s more than happy to help.

    And Terry:
    I don’t understand your beef. If Syracuse only reeled in NYC recruits, I have a feeling you’d be upset Marrone didn’t go after enough recruits OUTSIDE of NYC. You know there has to be a happy medium. You go after the handful of prospects you like from NYC…you don’t every prospect from one area. That doesn’t make any sense. Marrone has brought in players over the last few recruiting classes from Florida, Kansas, Texas, PA, California, Arizona, Georgia, etc. You want the diversity and you want to grow in different areas.

    I also agree with 4ourty4our. It’s a process an Marrone has his feet in the water for next year. I think he’ll get through the wave on interviews thus year but will stay with SU. Next season, he’s fair game in my opinion, and baring a complete disaster season, uses those NFL connections to grab HC job in 2014.

    One thing we have to realize though is, it’s going to happen. He’s going to get an NFL HC job bc of his connections sooner or later. Deserves it as well.

  18. With all of the rumors of Marrone leaving cant be good for EO to commit to cuse.

  19. Hey KF!!! Other than a roller coaster seasons(win then loose), one reason that the Dome is not a sell out at “BIG” games and 1/3 sold for meaningless games is that there is hardly any local player connections to the team. And with dougie going outside the famous 3/4 hour drive radius means that hurts the domes attendance to. Upstate, L.I., NYC, Buffalo area, Albany area, and the Southern Tier talent would not hurt attendance at all RIGHT!! Wake up!! On a decent year there are 12/13 4 to 3 star talent in NYS. dougie is lucky to get 4 or 5 of these guys, if that!! Yes we have NYS players now, but dougie loses to many of them recently and history proves that!!

  20. I appreciate most of the articles written on this site so i will say one thing before completely ignore the comments section going forward….

    This terrie guy is the king of all douches.

    Keep up the good work, fellas!

  21. I can’t think of any recruit I have ever wanted SU to land more. Bring Smith in as well, because I think he is a lot better than most people give him credit for. This has the makings of a special recruiting class.

  22. Cuse Don't Luse

    if syracuse doesn’t land EO we are simply fucked in the ACC not because his play alone will dictate our success (but he could be very crucial) its just that if we dont land this ny fish before the acc then we get there and get slaughtered with no nassib then it will be a lot harder to get that fish so he is a must have player

  23. So Terry, I am not sure I understand your argument since it seems to be all over the place. I want to try and distill it and make sure I have your point.
    1. The Dome doesn’t sell out because there are not enough players on the team from the Syracuse metro area.
    2. Doug loses too many recruits from this Syracuse metro area and history over the last four years proves that, even though your numbers suggest he is landing 30%-45% of the local talent while competing against Clemson and Notre Dame. He brought in Greg Paulus.
    3. Doug should be cheifly concerned with filling the Dome, even if it means recruiting inferior talent and posting losing records, after all it is the lack of hyper-local talent that is keeping the fans away, and having fickle fans is more important than recruiting and winning. It is more important to have 50,000 people buying Dome dogs than millions of TV audience buying ad time and expanding our brand.

    Come on man!

    How many ND fans do you think there are and how many of them live in a 30 minute radius of South Bend Indiana? How many of their players are from that same radius?

    Dorsey Levens didn’t go to SU, did the fans revolt by boycotting the Dome?

    Nobody was complaining in the 90’s when the team was McNabb, Harrison, Konrad, Ismail, Graves, Tebucky Jones, Darius, etc. How many of those guys are from NYS?

    Is that why we can’t sell out for hoops too? oh wait, we can. Too bad we had all those Philly guys, or DC or Sherm, or Moten, or Carmelo, or Billy Owens and Stevie Tompson, wait till California native Mike Hopkins takes over, my god wasn’t Seikaly from Greece? attendence must have really sucked in the mid to late 80’s…

    It doesn’t add up Terry.

  24. To the powers that be at Syracuse University especially Dr. Gross and Nancy Cantor.

    “The decision came after the university put together what one source called a “massive push” to keep O’Brien in State College. He and his staff are expected to receive significant pay raises, although details haven’t been finalized”.

    GET THE IDEA YET!!!!!!

  25. Jesse H

    I wish someone either a recruit, player, Gross or Marrone would give us some word of what is going on. This definitely blows. Is it normal that there is absolutely no word at all from anyone? I was trying to take a calm approach to the whole thing but when I hear that the recruits are concerned that Doug may not stay, it pushes me to “the sky is falling” mentality.

    As I stated before, these interviews could be great for recruiting IF Marrone and staff made those that are about to sign knowledgeable of such a plan. The fact that it sounds like the incoming class have as little of an idea as to whats going on as you or I does not put me at ease.

    I am freaking out man!

  26. @ Ron – I think that is a large partof what this is. HCDM is trying to secure a more lucrative contract and making sure that the administration taking advantageof him because he is an alum and this is his dream job. I think his interest in the NFL is genuine, but I don’t think he wants it yet. Three to four years for that. I think if the Jets asked, that would be a different story. Maybe he is just keeping his name out there for when Rex gets fired. The threat of him leaving is really only from the NFL and he and Dr.G know it. This is the biggest chip he has at the table. The problem is that he can’t tell the recruits or he loses his position with Dr.G.

  27. Jesse H

    Tom Withers [email protected]
    #Browns others lined up to speak with Oregon’s Chip Kelly. Understanding is Doug Marrone not leaving.

    So I just saw this tweet. Could be promising.

  28. @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    If Shaun Williams is telling all of these recruits that Syracuse is the place for them to go for an education and to play football. Then why didn’t he give his son that same advice a couple of years ago? Has he changed his mind because his son didn’t get a starting position and isn’t/hasn’t played hardly at all his first 2 years at Notre Dame?

    The thing about Terry is no matter what happens at Syracuse is never going to make him happy. I think he’s lying to us and himself when he says that he’s a big time fan. When there’s nothing new to complain about he starts to renew the old complaints all over again. It gets old,real old really fast.

  29. @Ron – To both your points, I had the same thoughts on Shaun Williams and I think Shaun felt the program was too down/unsettled when his son was being recruited. That is the only assesment I can come up with for an alum to do that. It is possible he was right then too.
    That gets me to the second point; Terry. I don’t want to give him too much attention (already have) but he needs to remember where the program was when HCDM took over and be reasonable when considering how long it can take to change perceptions. Nobody that was top 10 in any state wanted to go to SU when he took over and that was towards the end of the recruiting season prior to his first year. Lose chunks of that class due to reputation, turnover, and the unknown (Doug himself), and the following class suffers due to losing reputation still, as well as Doug’s hardline discipline scaring people (it still had yet to be proven the right move). There was also still a lingering effect of the slow process of rebuilding area recruiting bridges. All told, this coming class is maybe his second true class.

  30. @Malone

    I’ve said all along that Terry doesn’t or hasn’t made for a good argument ever. He’s constantly making my point every time he makes a post. There is nothing Coach Marrone or any of the players will or can do that will ever make him happy. I think for anyone to spill that much hatred towards a croup(football team) or person(Coach Marrone and PTG) needs professional help. I hope he gets some.

    But I liked your response to his latest post. Thank you.

  31. Calling all cars,calling all cars,please be on the look out for Dr.Gross the athletic director for Syracuse University. Where are you Dr.Gross? Please come out from where ever it is your hiding,the fan base are in desperate need for your plans to keep Coach Marrone and his staff intact.

    You see,when you first got here you wasn’t afraid to let a coach go that worked the program 24/7 365 days out of the year and truly bled orange. Loyal to Syracuse Football as a ST.Bernard is to it’s owner.I’m talking about Coach Pasqualoni. I see history repeating itself here because you see we have another Coach that bleeds orange,an alumni and past player that your not willing to support and because of your silence are willing to throw away like you did with Coach P. The way I see it Dr. Gross, is maybe he isn’t the one that needs to go,maybe just maybe everyone is looking at this wrong. Maybe your the one that need to go. I might be in the minority here,but with a $2 Billion endowment fund drawing 3% interest a year can afford to give this coaching staff the money it so deserves.

  32. @Ron – Maybe that’s the point that we are missing! Cantor is not renewing her contract, and maybe Dr. Gross believes that new chancellor will want a new AD.

  33. Cusealum05

    Sorry to get off subject, but just wanted to share. My guess is Ebo will choose Clemson at tonight’s game. He said he has already informed the school that he has chosen to attend.

    He is currently listed in the Clemson student phonebook. See link below.

    Hopefully we can keep all our current recruits and add Laray Smith for a solid class.

  34. @Malone;

    You remember the old saying that Academics and Athletics just don’t see eye-to-eye on things. Well we’re watching it unfold before our very eyes on a daily basis.

    Remember Phil Wilcox who set the bench for 3 years and then led the team in 1988. Went to the NFL as a backup quarterback for 10-12 years,only started maybe 10 games in his whole career and made more money than anyone up on the hill working today. The people working in academics are jealous/upset at the amount of money that these athletes are making.

    For me it’s about time the academic side stepped aside. Dr. Gross needs to pay Coach Marrone and his staff more.

    Think about it, I know of a lot of ways to get the money to pay these guy’s,but I don’t want to get personal. But when you have an $2 Billion endowment drawing approximately $60 Million a year in interest,wouldn’t that be a great place to start?

    Think about the money alone Dr. Gross is spending promoting Syracuse as New York’s College team down in the big city. Advertisements are not cheap especially inside the Yankee Stadium and on every yellow cab.

    And yes,I believe if Dr. Gross screws this up the way he screwed it up with Pasqualoni he’s history.

  35. How many of you watched the Louisville vs Florida game the other night and was at the Louisville vs Syracuse Game? have you realized just how impressive a dismantling that game was and come to the conclusion that, “YES WE DO HAVE A GOOD TEAM LED BY A GREAT COACH HERE AT SYRACUSE”.

    ACC better watch out,Syracuse,Pittsburgh and Louisville in the league is going to be real interesting. Don’t you think that 2 out of the 4 Co-Big East Champions beating teams from the Big 12 and SEC give them things to worry about?

  36. @Cusealum05 – I got nothing on that site. Not sure what I may have done wrong, but a verbal would not constitute enrollment so even if you got something, it is a coincidence or wishful thinking.
    @Ron – That UF vs UL game got me all kinds of happy about the state of the program. All I could think of was that this was proof we could run with the big boys. Also made me sad we stumbled in the beginning of the season, but I will leave the past in the past. If we can get Laray, the speed will be there and the strength of a Smith and PTG’s experience… the future is bright.

  37. Orange FB fan

    About Shaun Williams not landing his son for SU:

    As a parent I personally would give my son all of the information about his options. I’d let him know about my alma mater but I would let him decide for himself where he wanted to play/attend school. At the end of the day, Ishaq decided that ND was where he wanted to be and no one can fault him nor his dad for that. Teens decide to go away for school every year. I’m from Brooklyn NY. I stayed local for college and a had a cousin went down to DC. I have a cousin from the DC area who played bball and attended college up in LI. Just because a parent attended a university does not always correlate to some pipeline.

  38. I am all for a father giving all the options in the world to his kid, but SW based on the decision they made should stay out of SU recruiting as quite frankly, its not about trust, its about perception. I am talking that even if he pushes a top recruit to SU or our direction, who has egg on his face Mr. Williams, the Alumn that sent his own kid to Notre Dame, and now is telling another one that SU is the place for them? No, wish the best to your son, maybe he will actually start in the near future, then again maybe he won’t. If you really care about SU athletics, you should stay out of its affairs at least until your son finishes at Notre Dame.

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