Did Marrone’s NFL Interviews Push Ogundeko & Laray Smith Away from SU?

Questions around Marrone and Shaun Williams’ involvement are buzzing around Orange Nation.

After Syracuse was left without Ebenezer Ogundeko or Laray Smith last night a common refrain from Orange Nation has been the uncertainty around Doug Marrone scared off both. While pass rusher extraordinaire Ebo chose Clemson on national television, the speedy running back Smith delayed his decision without explanation. Marrone’s NFL interviews may have slightly affected Ogundeko, but almost definitely did Smith.

For Ebo, Clemson was always considered the strong front runner. The Tigers are a perennial ACC contender, one of the most exciting teams in the nation to watch, and are competing for BCS bowls. While Ogundeko’s reasoning included proximity to his home in Brooklyn seems a bit silly, how do you compete with the aura of Death Valley? Yes, many of Ebo’s buddies had committed to SU (including close friend Gus Edwards). And even he admitted his official to the Hill was fantastic. But the feeling among recruiting insiders was that Syracuse was going to have to pull off a major upset to grab Ebo. Put it at about a 35% chance. The 65% won.

Could Marrone’s NFL news have affected Ebo? Of course. But even had Marrone come out last week and said he’s not going anywhere, the odds were overwhelmingly in favor of Ebenezer choosing Clemson. This is not to say Syracuse wasn’t a legitimate contender. It was. SU has clearly ascended, winning two bowl games in three years, and become a hot destination for kids of the five boroughs. Unlike the Ishaq, Jarron Jones and Chad Kelly decisions, SU had a legitimate shot at Ebo. So maybe smoke surrounding Marrone was the final log on the fire. But the guess here is Ebo goes Clemson no matter what Marrone had said. 

As for Smith, it seems likely he delayed at least in part because of the coaching situation. Which program of his finalists is in the best position to success? Tennessee is now an afterthought in the SEC, a place where even the Louisville coach isn’t interested. Purdue has been a non-bowl team in four of the last six years, and just got smashed by Oklahoma State in the postseason 58-14. UConn is a program without a home. Syracuse has been seen as the clear front runner for Laray for weeks now. For him to delay his decision last night seems to speak to Marrone’s dalliance with the NFL.

As long as Marrone stays at SU, expect Smith to commit to the Orange. There’s a slew of New York City players that are already on the Hill, and more to come with this class. Syracuse is in a position to enter the ACC and be successful. There’s a momentum for this program right now. Should Marrone leave for the pros, it’s anyone’s guess for Smith. Although the promotion of Scott Shafer, which The Fizz suggested last week if Marrone did leave, would likely keep enough consistency within the program to reel in most if not all of the existing verbals.

There are some critics on the message boards who wonder if Shaun Williams, Ishaq’s dad, is steering players away from Syracuse. I don’t believe that’s the case. Shaun is a proud SU alum. Ishaq essentially had Syracuse as a finalist with Penn State and Notre Dame simply as a favor to the program. While Shaun tells is straight, I believe he is an asset to these young men and wishes they would all attend SU. But he’s not about to put his own interests above these players’ and demand they join the Orange. 

Unfortunately, Syracuse loses out on Ebo and still must wait on Laray. But unless Marrone decided to leave for the money of the NFL, SU is simply in a waiting pattern and will eventually land Smith.

Posted: D.A.

31 Comments on this Post

  1. Concerning Shaun Williams; as he is an SU Alum, if a player he is mentoring goes to SU would this be a questionable NCAA violation similar to Michael Oher going to Mississippi?

  2. Marrone is not the best recruiter in the world lets face it! he is mediocre at best. Don’t get me wrong he is a good COACH but not a good recruiter. Obe should have been ours and Laray shouldn’t even hesitate at a program on the rise heading into the ACC…

  3. priestP

    I love that Mr. Williams has helped to get the “S” hat on the table. I think it looks good for the program to be in the discussions, guy may be 0-2, it does help us…..right?

  4. Orange FB fan

    I’m torn about Mr. Williams involvement….but not because I am critical of him. I like the fact that a man is taking an interest in the lives of the young athletes from the city. Growing up in NYC(Bed Stuy in particular), I have seen firsthand the end result of young men growing up without guidance. A guy like Mr.Williams can step in a fill a void in many cases. That said, I’m very wary of the NCAA and how they issue violations. If a guy with ties to SU is constantly around local recruits, the NCAA may start trying to investigate the man.

    Maybe the fact that Mr.Williams hasn’t delivered the top NYC guys to SU is a good sign, because if he did the NCAA would certainly put the bulls eye on him.

    Btw, the conspiracy theories about Williams secretly telling kids to go elsewhere seems kind of out there. I don’t get why he would have an ax to grind with his alma mater. Was Williams supposed to hand deliver his son to the Orange? If Williams is anything like the men in my family, he essentially provided the information to his son and let his son make the decision. If I had a son that was a highly sought after recruit, I would not attempt to steer him to the school I wanted him to go to. I’d prefer that he chose the school that he felt most comfortable with. Some kids want to get away from home and experience life away from mom and dad.

  5. Statesman1

    Marone is apparently interviewing for every team with a vacancy in the NFL. South for ‘Cuse being his “dream job” where every move he made was designed to get him the head coaching job on the hill. After four years I guess a lots changed.

  6. Orange FB fan

    C’mon statesman. Its been said over and over again, but dreams can change. Or better yet, guys can have multiple dreams. Its a business. When he took the job, it was his dream. He got to be at the helm for his alma mater and see it rise from a losing program with no bowl appearances in a while into a program with a couple of bowl victories and optimism. But if you are in any field there is a chance that you want to chase the ultimate dream of reaching the pinnacle of your industry. Even taking a lower tier head coaching job and failing can be ok for Marrone’s future job prospects. Coaches are constantly recycled. And if he is remotely successful, he can move into better gigs. Worse comes to worse he can always find a college HC gig or be an NFL coordinator.

    A guy may initially want to become a lawyer and work for his dad’s lawfirm. Then later on he can desire to work for some high profile lawfirm. It doesn’t mean his initial dream was a lie, it just means things change and aspirations grow. I can’t fault the man for wanting to pursue a larger salary or higher profile opportunity in hi particular field.

    It does suck that there is no way for a college coach to leave a program without potentially turning off fans, recruits and players. Jobs generally become available right after the NFL season and ofcourse it can overlap with the recruiting period when players are making their choices. In addition, the longer it takes for the college coach to decide one way or the other, the longer it will take the college program to adjust. The bad timing can leave alot of qestions going into the next college season because verbal commits may decide to seek other offers, and the administration has to try to find a suitable replacement for the outgoing coach.

    At the end of the day, it has happened at larger programs…so it can happen to us. I’m not personally hurt by it. I just hope that we have a headcoach that is able to build upon what was in place. Keep some level of continuity. Perhaps, ADs and coaches need to talk about contingency plans for situations like this. Maybe develop some “succession plan”, if the AD truly likes one of the asst coordinators as a potential head coach. That would probably open up another can of worms….

  7. Williams will never help SU!! SU will never be in the room only Mr. Williams, the NYC player and his parents. The discussions there are in private and we’ll never know what is said or should we know!! History has shown this guy is a alum but not a loyal alum at all. Kinda sounds like dougie doesn’t it. This also has killed any recruiting that dougie has gained on recently. But again the MEDIA will refuse to ask both of these mentioned men why the are acting the way there are!!

  8. Terry, I thought DM doesn’t know how to recruit… this should be good news for you, man!

    We’ll be fine… Shafer will move to HC. Henderson will move to DC or someone will be brought in. The staff that does the most recruiting outside of HCDM will still be in place. The sky is not falling.

  9. HedgeHog

    I’m torn on all of this. I’m a big fan and huge supporter of Doug Marrone and I hope by golly that he stays put at SU. That being said, not sure if any of this really influenced the decision of Ebo or perhaps Smith. I find it ironic that the staff just signed two defensive ends in Malik Brown (6’3″, 220) and Trevon Trejo (6’5″, 245). Not sure they would have gone after them so hard if they felt Ebo was coming as well. Looking at their size and video clips, both these dudes could be easily as good if not better in the long run than Ebo and less of a headache.

  10. Orange FB fan

    Welp….expect a mountain of criticism. A tweet from Schefter has Marrone heading to the Bills. Interesting. If there are any Cuse fb/Bills fans..this might be somewhat of a dilemna for them.

    I just hope Nassib somehow ends up a Bill in the 3rd round or so. If not, let him supplant Sanchez at qb with the Jets. I also hope that Sharmarko ends up a NYG(my rooting interest) or a Bill. My NYG could use a vicious hitter in the secondary. Maybe Lemon and Sales get camp invites up in Buffalo lol. I’d actually pay attention to Bills games if they became the pipeline from Cuse to the NFL.

  11. Orange FB fan

    Tressel has been the “name” thrown about when people were calling for Marrone’s head a few months back. I doubt he is the guy, but for continuity I would go with promoting Shafer(not a shocker). He can atleast touch base with all the verbal commits and reassure them about SU. Hopefully, Shafer will allow Broyld an opportunity to compete for a spot at qb. I just feel like he can be a dynamic playmaker from that spot. If he loses let him work with the wr since Lemon and Sales will be gone.

  12. I hate to say this but Marrone will be looking for a new job in three or four years. Buffalo can’t win against the likes of New England, or the rest of AFC. sorry Doug.. good luck.

  13. Jimmy C.

    Doug, enjoy Buffalo rotting away…Syracuse ain’t Buffalo’s slave or the butt of their jokes. F You Buffalo!

  14. Dr. bill

    Where are all of the Skip Holtz fans……….Is Skip still your boy for the Cuse job?…LOL

  15. Orange FB fan

    Possibly Dan. But, even if thats the case he has atleast put himself in a better financial situation. Besides, with the way NFL HC are recycled he can join the revolving door of head coaches that bounce around the league. At worst he becomes the position coach or coordinator at some NFL team in a few seasons….perhaps even return to the NCAA as a HC someplace.

    It does hurt as a fan, but I realize that its a business. My only gripe with the situation is that the timing couldn’t have been worse. And I’m not blaming him for the the timing. I mean the time when positions become available unfortunately coincides with the time period when recruits are still making their college selections. So losing a coach can potentially set back the next coach and a program. Timing also puts the outgoing coach in a position to piss off the players who are left behind. I believe Jeremi Wilkes tweeted his displeasure about the manner in which he found out.

    The players often find out that their head coach is gone via the sports news instead of directly from the man that coached/recruited them…in other words the guy they committed themselves to. In an ideal world, the athlete should not commit based solely on the coach…but that is generally the most important factor. Thats probably my only issue with the decision. He doesn’t owe me anything more as a fan. I just feel like HC recruits and builds bonds with the player. He encourages loyalty, etc. So once a guy knows for a fact that he’s gonna leave, I feel like he should atleast contact his AD and atleast his captains to let them know what he is up to. Hell, I’d even extend myself to the incoming recruits letting them know that they should still stay with the program. Go ahead and do what you have to do for yourself and family because thats the first loyalty one has. Just don’t let your extended family of players, staff and recruits built a bond with find out in an impersonal way. I think they’ll respect the decision alot more that way.

  16. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t one of the asst. Coach tell one of our current recruits that Marrone wasn’t interviewing for NFL jobs?? I believe it was reported here on this web site.

  17. When your man dougie lifted that Pin-Stripe Bowl trophy up over his head was he smiling for the players delight or he knows he is history at SU and is leaving??? He knew then as now!! If your support this guy after this move that’s your right. But a real lifer would not do it now. A .500 record coach is not your best example of HC for NFL. He thinks the pressure should be better at the Jills. I hope not. We all will be watching him at Buffalo. God I hate to say this being a GGGGGG-MAN fan but I’ll have to root for the JETS,PATS,DOLFINS and even the Cowgirls,Yellowskins and Eagles too when they play the Jills. The hole he is leaving after this cowardly move of his will take years to fill. I just hope the next coach is more of a man than dougie turned out to be!! P.S. since Syracuse is a T-shirt kind of town I would like to wear a shirt stating “I survived the dougie dump” with pride!!

  18. Dr. bill

    Let’s be real here!!!!!!!!!!!! Coaching is a profession, and as such, you have the right to seek advancement!!! The entire process for getting these coaching jobs is cloak and dagger ..the NFL teams don’t announce who they are interviewing..it is typically some “Leak” to the press. Marrone did what all of us who have jobs and families to support should do….seek a better paying job when the opportunity presents.

    The time and the place to tell the players is after he has the deal and not before. I am sure he will do that. He does not owe it to the players to tell them first!!! Says who? The deal still has not been officially announced yet….only leaked to the press.

    As a fan, I am nervous about what happens to the Cuse…and recruits…etc./ etc. but that is the nature of the game. We may lose some recruits..they have a right to seek new teams now that their coach is gone…and they would be crazy to not look at other options since they committed to a school and a staff that is now in question. We all need to look at this as an OPPORTUNITY to get new leadership and go in a different direction. This is a great time to Be a CUSE FAN!!!!!!!…..Go CUSE!!!!!!

  19. OrangeCrush27

    I want answers… That’s it. I want answers from gross and Marrone. I’m done reading side stories about the what if’s…I want direct answers from the people causing this. They owe the fans an explanation ASAP!!

  20. * fizz bite my balls!
    * $5 million earned, 2 bowls + 2 losing seasons, 2013 recruiting class is the worst(of 4), did bad press, is losing his best group of seniors + Pugh, no facility upgrade $$$(gross/cantor), FSU/VT/Clem/ND/UofM….thats five NE Patriots?

    *he owes no explanation… to those who felt a supreme connection to him, wipe the egg off your face, its business. HCDM went about instilling discipline, he won 50% of the time, he left, he handled his BUSINESS! Whose fault? CANTOR & GROSS

    * CANTOR & GROSS upon HCDMs success, pre- Pinstripe, should’ve locked him up! No contract talk in 4 years? 25-25 which followed GROSS’ 1st hire HCGRs 10-37…….Outright disrespectful….he wont make that much more $$$ at BUF, so why no extension? CANTOR & GROSS BLEW IT….AND THE REACTION WAS HCDM TURNING HIS BACK ON SU!

    When coaches dont care about recruiting,on the way out the door….theyre usually pissed off? Coach Pasqiloni ring a bell………………………

  21. Orange FB fan

    Dr Bill I agree with most of what you said. But I do believe that you owe it to the guys you coached and or recruited once you know you have made your decision. After all, these are the people you have built bonds with. These are the guys whose parents your promised to treat as your own son. These are the guys whose performance has allowed you to seek career advancement. I mean, I do not knock Marrone’s decision nor his contribution to the program in the least. You can’t control leaks, but I’d have the NFL team agree to give me a day or 2 to give my resignation and speak to my boys. Don’t let them find out via the media.

    Once you have sealed up an agreement in principle you call your AD and let him know that he has to find your replacement. You can then contact a couple of your team captains and let them know so that they can pass the word to the rest of the boys. Me personally, I would go even further and try to re-affirm my recruits decision to commit to the school. But then again, I’m different. I’d probably be the same coach, who explicitly told recruits and their families that they should not choose my school because of me, but because of the totality of what the school had to offer. I know that its not realistic, but thats the way a lot of students choose their schools. And it cuts both ways, I’d also be the coach who would give any player a free pass to transfer to any school if he so desired…whether in conference or not. I’d be the same coach who encouraged his star player to go pro if he were projected to go high in the draft.

  22. Orange FB fan

    but I do agree with Dr Bill that this is still a great time to be a fan despite the uncertainty. I’m personally looking at the qb position even more. Not dissing Loeb..but if the coach comes from the outside, there may not be any inherent loyalty to him above the young guns. I think each guy from the 2 freshmen, Loeb, the 2 NY dual threats and the human utility knife Broyld will all get a legit shot from the start. When it all shakes out, we could have clearly defined roles for all involved. Maybe Hunt gets moved to Defense as a DB, Broyld as a Wr, with Loeb, Kinder and one of the freshmen as our 3 deep. The other freshman to be redshirted. Or maybe Broyld and his potential dynamic playmakng gets the job with the Cuse O adding the threat of designed qb runs, and option plays. I’d love to see the no huddle up tempo approach remain with a few wrinkles.

    Maybe a new coach sees the rb position as the strength of the team and wants to feature it more?? Who knows. I just can’t wait til we find out who the next coach is. I mean hopefully its a guy who can seal up our current guys and maybe bring in a couple who are available. It doesn’t have to be a former Cuse guy. Just the right guy.

  23. Orange FB fan

    Now that I found out Marrone did infact inform his players via email….I have no issues at all relating to the decision. I never had an issue with him deciding to take a career leap from the get go. I was just hoping he did it “the right way”. He apparently did…so no beef from me.

  24. Russell MacEachern

    Dipper,I think Fizz will take a pass on ur opening request but ur free to do what ud like with them lol!!

  25. Russell MacEachern

    @Orange FB fan,u believe that email garbage then I have a Bridge in Brooklyn I’ll sell ya!!

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