New Syracuse QB Recruit John O’Korn Tells Fizz He’s Waiting on OC Hire

In the wake of Zach Allen leaving SU has offered O’Korn, who needs to see who the OC will be.

It’s not surprising new Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer immediately started calling the Class of 2013 quarterbacks over the weekend. Once Zach Allen broke the news he flipped from Syracuse to TCU, Shafer began a search party for another quarterback the Orange could target for the incoming class.

Fort Lauderdale, FL native John O’Korn of St. Thomas Aquinas High was offered from Syracuse today. This marks the first official scholarship offer in the Scott Shafer era. With Allen now likely staying in Texas and some strong uncertainty from commit Austin Wilson, Shafer had to pull the trigger on another quarterback. Shafer contacted O’Korn first thing this week. O’Korn tells The Fizz he’s blessed to receive yet another opportunity.

“He saw my film and wanted to offer me right away. I’m still committed to Houston but I’ll look into it and still do my research and then maybe get on a visit if it’s something I want to take the next step in and check out.”

That’s the bad news. O’Korn is already a Cougar commit. He gave his verbal in June. O’Korn has a field of offers from North Carolina, UCF, USF, Wisconsin, Mississippi State, and Louisville. The three-star, 6’3” 210 lbs. QB is ranked the 31st best pro-style quarterback in his class. At St. Thomas Aquinas, O’Korn got it done both through the air and on the ground. He finished with 22 TDs to 4 INTs on 2,552 passing yards (completing 56% of his passes). He also rushed for 15 touchdowns and 576 yards, averaging 6 yards per carry. O’Korn is arguably one the best quarterbacks available in state of Florida, a tremendous recruiting ground.

Why did Shafer target O’Korn? There’s a Syracuse connection. O’Korn’s head coach at St. Thomas Aquinas is Rocco Casullo, the son of former Syracuse assistant Bob Casullo. O’Korn tells us this is what sparked the interest. Bob coached the Orange from 1985-’94, then rejoined the staff in ’09 as tight ends coach, special teams coordinator, and assistant head coach. Despite his Houston commitment, SU still decided to offer O’Korn and ask to visit the Hill. O’Korn tells The Fizz he’s thrilled for another offer coming his way and he’s well aware of how great an education Syracuse brings to the table:

“I think it’s a blessing to get another opportunity to play at a great university, especially at Syracuse. Get a great degree. The academics there are second to very few. It’s definitely something I’ll have to consider.” 

His commitment lies with Houston but doesn’t mind getting a bunch of late attention with Signing Day three weeks away.

“A lot of people will look at it stressed out. I’ve been handling it well, looking at all the opportunities as a blessing. I’m just trying to take it day by day on the search. I’m trying to get to know all the coaches and gain a relationship there and take visits.”

The Fizz asked O’Korn if he knew Zach Allen, the player who opened up this door for him.

“I’ve heard the name. I know the name just from talking with Coach Shafer. He pretty much told me that was the reason why he said that. They had to get a guy in that fits the system. With Signing Day only a few weeks away, they knew they wanted to offer me. The school has great facilities, I want to get to know Coach Shafer better, and see who they bring in as offensive coordinator. I’ll definitely know then if I’d want to visit.”

O’Korn’s pro-style qualities obviously attracted the program. Especially with its powerful running game, the Orange remains hopeful the offense can keep clicking. The hole at OC though, is complicating matters for everyone involved. Syracuse better get a move on filling that void if its wants a chance at O’Korn. He tells The Fizz it’s the determining factor whether he visits CNY or not:

“Obviously I have to have a good relationship with the OC. Syracuse wasn’t really recruiting me until I guess today. I wasn’t being recruited by a different offensive coordinator from Syracuse. Whoever they bring in I’ll have to try to get to know him and if I get along with him I’ll try and make a visit out there.”

JO’K says Shafer envisions him in an Orange uniform and the quarterback watched SU this season.

“We were just getting to know each other. He sees me as a guy that can throw the ball but can also tuck it and run when I need to to get out of trouble. Maybe run some design runs here and there just to pick up yardage and keep the defense guessing, so it’s something I’m definitely excited about. I watched Syracuse throughout the year with Ryan Nassib being an exciting player.”

Nassib’s performance down the stretch not only grabbed the attention of college football fans, but SU recruits. O’Korn worked his way to the starting job at Aquinas before his senior year, so he’s willing to compete for playing time. O’Korn says he doesn’t perceive Syracuse any differently than Houston in terms of the timing of the offers. He even said SU could have an edge:

“I don’t look at differently depending on when it was. It’s not going to change. I think actually, now that it’s later and it’s today, it helps Syracuse chances because if they had been recruiting me before and the whole coaching staff left… that would complicate things. I know I’m not going to have to deal with a new coaching staff coming in during my recruiting with Syracuse.”  

The Fizz put O’Korn on the spot. If National Signing Day was tomorrow, what’s it going to be John?

“It’s Houston. I have three weeks and I’ve been given some great opportunities. I’ve committed to Houston for a lot of reasons and those reasons still stand today. I only go through this process once so I want to make the best decision.”  

O’Korn is the start of a long wish-list the SU coaching staff will go through in the next few weeks. Rapid communication is vital for Shafer and company in order to make a splash on Signing Day at QB. Austin Wilson is the only commit for next year under center, and we’ll find out in a matter of weeks whether that number increases or decreases. Cross your fingers.

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

37 Comments on this Post

  1. I like the idea of grabbing this kid so late in the process, but it does seem a little far fetched.

    What about that Asanti Woullard kid that de-committed from USF?

  2. Oh what a mess dougie left SUFB in. It kinda smells GROB-like doesn’t it!! SU is losing players and coaches daily!! He’s gone and his pockets are full of cash. Yet no criticism about how he handled this move of his. From the media to!! He must have stock in PS and!! He claimed to love this program. But what has he done to stop the dam from breaking.NOTHING!!! I wanted to fire the bum after the 2011 season. Most of that reasoning was based on how the fans love this coach and his coaching ability=lacking. Your love of this man is amazing That’s your right. But stop this anti-dougie bashing as well. The evidence shows this man cares less for SU and the upcoming weeks might show that. Pray for everything to just settle out good for SU. But if it doesn’t you still in favor of this multi-millionaire!! Heck Ronette will still kiss his feet or wash his robe!!!!

  3. You gota feel for Coach Shafer!! Its a job that’s burning all around him and its not his fault. The SUFB community is in your corner Coach good luck on fixing the mess you were given!!

  4. It was just yesterday that we heard anything about John O’Korn and that Syracuse had offered him scholarship and today the kid is saying if we get the right OC he might come here to play. Impressive Coach Shafer,very impressive.

  5. Coach Shafer will get it done,, GO SU!!!!!!

  6. Zach who?? Great work bring the program an awesome OC.

  7. If it’s true about George McDonald, let’s see what he can do to turn the tide of bad news the past few days.

  8. @Terry – Move on, lets go forward.
    @D.A. – What is this new “strong uncertainty” from Austin Wilson?

    I am surprised the Casullo connection is working anything. I thought there were some hard feelings from his father’s and his time on the hill. Maybe the departure of Marrone has finally opened a door that is positive for SU (I think Bob and Doug didn’t see eye to eye). – Insert Strange Brew humor.

  9. McDonald seems to be a hot prospect, but not a lot of OC experience (and he’s VERY young, without a lot of offensive coaching experience around him). I am a little worried, but excited. He has been sought out by a lot of pretty good programs.

  10. Maybe McDonald’s time at Miami helps with getting O’Korn? Maybe there’s a bit of a relationship?

  11. OrangeCrush27

    Terry- I was a DM fan, but i agree with you. DM not only got up and left without speaking about this with his players, coaches, fans and the SU community prior to his decision, he is now picking our coaching staff apart and leaving SU football with an uphill climb. Regardless of his dreams or priorities, DM’s a scumbag in my eyes.

    Malone – your right we all need to move on, recruits will come, coaches and players will move on, but DM will always be remembered for how he left this program. There is no loyalty in sports. A million plus dollars is never enough to live off…

  12. I am seeing some news come in about the offensive staff coming together. I am not too sure how I feel about it. It seems that Shafer is re-assembling the 05-06 Western Michigan staff. I don’t remember them being world beaters. I am not saying they are bad, but I am not sure how good they are either. At least McDonald seems to have some big program seasoning.

  13. Malone I’m trying to calm down!! But the SUFB program has made some strides forward. But greed slowed that down. Now with Coach Shafer on board we must support him. And I like Shafer’s hire as much as the dougie’s hire, but you saw what that got SU!! SU needs to get into certain ears now about what SUFB program means. Yes most of the staff is young(in experience)!! And recruits see that. But at least they all will not being chewing gum on the sidelines and have no emotion. I have been saying this for months now. DR GROSS pay Coach Wheatley!! If he can make Smith/PTG into quality backs he needs a big time raise!! But I do think the OL had something to do with that also!! Support Coach Shafer!!

  14. Reports coming out that George Mcdonld while be the new OC at SU. Reports saying that he’s resigning from Arkansaw today. Also seems like wheatly is staying for now.

  15. Shafer is the head honcho and as such should pick whomever he wishes as assistant coaches. Keep who you will Mr Shafer and fire also. The burden you bear is such that you need to be given the flexibility to build your own team. We will evaluate the results in a couple of years.

  16. Making strides already. We also offered Chauncey Scissum out of Rush-Henrietta, 3 star DB, today. He decommitted from Old Dominion and is visiting Cuse this weekend. Can’t believe we didn’t offer the kid until today, but glad we did.

    Shafer doing work! …hopefully, with the effort they’re already putting in on the recruiting trail despite everything going on, we’ll be able to pick up a couple more great players and not miss a beat.

  17. Russell MacEachern

    HaHa,funny,since Dougies gone no one seems happier and more excited than Terry who we all know loves SU football!I hope u can stay positive Terry…btw Wheatley,Adkins and Henderson are joining Dougie I think per twitter in Buffalo!!

  18. Russell MacEachern

    @Malone,I smell McDonald-O’Korn package deal hire?Or at least a visit and good shot!

  19. Cuse don't luse

    @russ I understand taking coaches with u but 5 coaches is too much buffalo will be Syracuse and Syracuse will be western michigan

  20. Hey Ronette/Russ so you still will be washing your man’s feet=dougie for ever huh!! This scumbag move from dougie should tell you something, but I would insult your intelligence if I told you the truth. You’ll have to figure that out, if you can!! I am not happy at all about these happenings. Its hurting the program-well maybe?? Lets give Shafer a chance here. But Wheatley is a huge loss!! Adkins recruits decent(sort of) that might be an issue. On another blog I wrote that the Buffalo Jills will be the best Div 1 NCAA NFL team out there under dougie. Being a GGGG-MAN fan another team to root against!! The next couple of weeks will tell alot about SUFB program and Coach Shafer’s vision. I feel better about Shafer’s hire than dougie’s hire tough!! I need help on giving him(Coach Shafer) a nick-name??

  21. OrangeCrush27

    I’ll be much happier when players sign there LOI and we start kicking into spring ball.

    DM is still a scumbag in my eyes no matter how many stories come out about “dream jobs” and “what he did for us”

    DM wants to get back in the good graces in my opinion start donating some of your pay to the program that got you where you are today.

  22. Russell MacEachern

    Terry,are u a heavy drinker?Since when have I been a big Dougie guy?Thats one of the few things Ron and I never agreed on as I thought his temperment turned off young recruits but please quit bugging Ron as he knew HCDM and obviously liked him!!No one tells u who you should or should’nt like do they?Were all entitled to our opinions and feelings w/o being raked over the coals for them!Remember,Ron LOVES the Cuse more than most of us and earned the right to his opinions!

  23. Russell MacEachern

    @CusedontLuse,Remember last year RUs hc Shady took 8 assistants to TB and they were only 1 week b4 signing day but quick cooperation between Pernetti and in house hire helped them hold the #22 ranked recruiting class together…sometimes unintended circumstances work in our favor!Seems its tough to find qualified assistant coaches in the NFL this time of year who arent under contract.I really doubt hes intentionally trying to hurt the program but it certainly appears that way!We’ll just have to ride it out but it cant get any worse?Can it?

  24. Cuse Don't Luse

    @Russ I agree the loss of Allen hurt being from Texas but the recruiting board pickup shows me that with new coaches comes a plethora of new recruits and recruits like the rush henrietta kid who marrone clearly passed over its exciting I just wish we had some stability behind Devan Carter and Augustus Edwards and the rest of those committed but Pugh leaving ford transferring addazio transferring and several others it will be interesting what shafer does to end the recruiting season he has been put in a difficult spot now he needs to respond whether u like or dislike Dougie the man was clearly a better alternative to the Groober and he has put our team in a tough spot but an explosive return game that returns its 4 best Rb’s will hold the offense for at least another year while Bullough and Shafer anchor a strong defense marrone focused on new york kids so then why is this scissum guy unknown anything less than all of the top 5 from New York should be frowned upon now that we are in the ACC if we can’t get the recruits from a state we have a leg up on everybody on then we aren’t going to get the recruits at all so NY must be a true lock moving forward though NY doesn’t have a ton of talent the talent that is does have needs to be orange

  25. Cuse Don't Luse

    run game not return game

  26. Don’t forget a lot of guys DM worked with in his most recent NFL experience got suspended or came under scrutiny. Maybe that’s a reason he doesn’t want to raid that pantry. I hope this O’Korn gives us serious consideration, might help with AE or Laray. I would like to hear something on Austin Wilson. It would be terrible to lose him in this whir of activity and be left empty handed.

  27. It still amazes me how fans still “like” dougie. I said all along that’s your right!! But at the same time dougie has left the SUFB program nearly in the same situation as did GROB for dougie. Now Coach Shafer as to restart the program. Yes the talent is better for Shafer, but the time level hurts. dougie deserves severe criticism not praise on how good a guy he was. After all millions of $$$$$$ will make dougie smile a hell of alot more!! Yeah all the way to the bank laughing. While SUFB program wonders why- dougie?????

  28. Russell MacEachern

    Cuse dont luse,agree our running game looks solid but guys like AE (punishing rbs)w/size dont come around often but ur right that w/new coaches come new recruits and connections thats why we have to look at this as an opportunity rather than a loss!

  29. After reading the O’Korn story does anyone require further proof that Dr Gross is an incompetent?here is a quality QB recruit waiting to discover who the OCis going to be and Gross is sitting on this guy being introduce. Add to this the OC in waiting is a big time recruiter.This AD should go to Buffalo with Marrone and help Syracuse out in a large way by leaving. Its called addition by subtraction.

  30. Chris does the OC have to be announced to the public for Shafer to call O’Korn with the news? Why can’t Shafer call O’Korn while already knowing who the OC is and before the news is made public? You make no sense.

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