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SU Commits Weighing Shafer Hire: Zeek Still Strong, Malik Challenges Gross

The last few days in the Syracuse recruiting world has been filled with shock, surprise, and now subsequent relief. A handful of commits have remained positive, while others will start to take visits elsewhere as Signing Day approaches in less than a month. But the hiring of Scott Shafer as Syracuse’s next head coach will help solidify the trust of wavering recruits. Three-star Florida DE Malik Brown (pictured right) made his pledge to the Orange about three weeks ago, but told The Fizz he found about the Shafer hiring yesterday afternoon. After the loss of Marrone, he was hoping that the defensive coordinator would get the nod.

“It’d be amazing. That’s be real nice because that defensive coordinator, he was in my house, and I’d be better off with him. He’s just so down to earth, he’s never going to BS you.”

Brown said right now he’s totally committed to SU but is thinking of taking a couple visits to Tennessee and South Florida (the Bulls have offered the DE). He told The Fizz that as long as John Anselmo and Linebackers Coach Steve Morrison remain with Shafer, all will be well. Although Brown was relieved to hear the news about Shafer, a few other Syracuse commits are looking at all their options. Two-star Rochester LB Devan Carter has downgraded his commitment to a soft verbal and will be taking a visit to Rutgers on January 25th. One of SU’s biggest catches of the 2013 class, Augustus Edwards will also be visiting the Knights that weekend as well. Gus has also planned a visit to Florida State this weekend and could be heading down to Miami as well.

It’s always difficult to keep all your recruits in place after a coaching change. Just ask Kyle Flood and the Scarlet Knights staff a year ago. Daryl Gross spoke for the first time yesterday since Marrone left for Buffalo and assured recruits “everything will be fine.” He reiterated to the 15 commits that Syracuse would still be playing fast and tough to compete for an ACC conference championship right away. Malik has his own message in response to the Doc.

“You just better keep up with your word. Don’t say anything you don’t mean.”

Brown admitted he was shocked when he first heard the news of Marrone bolting for the NFL. Two-star DT commit Isaiah Johnson (pictured left) echoed that sentiment. The both were surprised but wish him the best. Similar to Gross, Johnson has done his best job at “damage control.” The Delaware native has been reaching out to many players in the class of 2013.

“Everything’s got to be positive so I got to make sure all the commits I talk to, we’re all on the same page. Because I don’t like the de-committing thing. If you committed first of all, that means you already made a good decision.”

Johnson has talked numerous times with QB’s Austin Wilson and Zach Allen. Both made similar comments in recent weeks they’d have a lot to think about if Marrone did bolt to the NFL.

Johnson has been Syracuse’s most positive and energetic commit throughout the process. Despite not hearing from the SU coaching staff since just before Christmas, he’s leading the charge to keep the 2013 class in tact. For him, it’s still Orange all the way.

“I am the strongest Syracuse commit, that’s who I am. Nobody is going to persuade me to go anywhere else, you guys don’t have to worry about Zeek going anywhere.”

The class is undoubtedly stabilized by the hiring of Shafer. Disaster would’ve ensued had Gross hired from the outside, which was almost out of the question to begin with considering how late the search would have started. Many current SU players felt relieved Shafer will become SUs next head coach. A few took to Twitter.

Keon Lyn: “It’s a celebration in Syracuse. Great hire and it’s a nice way to pick up where Coach Marrone left off”

Eric Crume: “So Glad Ain’t Nothing Changing The Orange Machine Gone Keep Rolling #CuseNation”

Zach Chibane: “I’m so happy for Coach Shafer being promoted to HC. He’s going to do great there. Great coach and even better person! #OrangeNation”

There is one positive when looking at SU’s recruiting class. Seven of the 16 already signed their letter of intents during the early signing period, including Zach Allen. It means they can’t go anywhere. If they did not want to play for the Orange next season, they’d have to sit out, lose a year of eligibility and then transfer elsewhere. That scenario is unlikely, considering five of the seven are JuCo’s.

For a day or two, things looked spotty for SU’s class, but the promotion of Shafer changed all of that. But nothing is a sure bet. With less than one month until NSD, it will be a rollercoaster ride for the SU coaching staff to keep everything in order.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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