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Syracuse Nabs 1st ACC Win: QB Commit Mitch Kimble Tells Fizz He’s Fired Up

Jersey County Journal

Talk about a 180. Syracuse has revamped its coaching staff and landed a second top-tier quarterback prospect. Illinois native Mitch Kimble has verbally committed to SU and the worries this National Signing Day would be a disaster are looking mighty silly. Last week we learned Kimble de-committed from Northern Illinois and narrowed his choice down to Syracuse and N.C. State. As it turns out, Kimble wasn’t sold on his visit with the Wolfpack this past weekend and saw himself in an Orange uniform. After several in-home visits and constant communication with SU, Kimble told The Fizz it felt comfortable deciding Syracuse:

“It feels very good. I’m very excited about the opportunity I have at Syracuse. I can’t wait to get started. I’m very excited.”

(Listen to Mitch Kimble’s FizzCast here.) The Scott Shafer-Illinois connection has panned out beautifully for the program. Shafer’s seven seasons at Northern Illinois as defensive coordinator gave Syracuse a connection to Kimble. For SU to lose Zach Allen to TCU, turn over most of the coaching staff, and then beat N.C. State to a quarterback is an amazing reversal of fortunes. National Signing Day is looking very bright for Orange Nation.

Heading to Illinois to pick up a late commit also took place for SU’s new head coach to help land his first verbal in WR Corey Winfield. Kimble had been committed to NIU from August until last week. Now Shafer’s snagged two former Northern commits to head up to Central New York. Kimble told The Fizz he’s pumped to suit up for Shafer:

“I can’t even tell you how excited I was. Just to have this opportunity is unbelievable for me. Catching up with Coach Shafer and really getting to know him. I was very excited. It’s just a great feeling. I can’t wait to play for Coach Shafer.”

Kimble’s senior stint makes his case as a worthy dual-threat quarterback. The 6’4” 195 pounder passed for 1,427 yards and 10 TD passes, to go along with 957 rushing yards and 15 scores on his legs. That’s almost 2,500 total yards and 25 scores:

“Being a quarterback, of course I love to throw the ball. I think I bring that dual-threat and I can do things with my legs whenever I need to. I consider myself a true dual-threat QB.”

Shafer, along with Jerseyville Head Coach Dave Jacobs, sat down with Mitch last week in-house. New SU Quarterbacks Coach Tim Lester was also in attendance, and Kimble said Lester was important in his decision:

“He had a big impact. Just talking with him, I can’t describe the comfort level I have with him. I’m really excited to be able to work with him, day-in and day-out. I can’t tell you how great of an opportunity this is.”

Nice to see a new face like Lester making an immediate impact on the recruiting front, he also helped save Austin Wilson. Kimble told The Fizz he’s excited to work with George McDonald, too:

“I got to know Coach McDonald and I had a great time when I came up to visit. He’s an unbelievable guy, an unbelievable coach. I can’t wait to work with him too.”

McDonald and Lester means a brand new offense for the 2013 season. SU loses its five-year veteran, three-year starter Ryan Nassib. The Fizz broke down the QB depth charts for both N.C. State and Syracuse, and the Wolfpack had the advantage of not having a QB commit for next year. SU has Austin Wilson still on board. But a chance to compete with Wilson was a big factor in Kimble’s decision:

“Oh yeah, I definitely looked at that. Ryan was a great player, great quarterback. I have some shoes to fill. But I think I can come in and compete, and hopefully compete for the starting job. That’s something I would love to do and that would be a great opportunity.”

Kimble wasn’t offended that Syracuse jumped in on his services so close to National Signing Day. He understands the process, and couldn’t resist giving SU a look once the university offered him:

“To be honest, I really didn’t. I was for a while at peace with my decision at Northern (Illinois). When Syracuse came in, it was something I definitely had to look into. I was really excited to get the calls from some of the coaches to know they were interested. It was just very exciting.”

Whether it was the Wolfpack or the Orange, Kimble was ACC bound either way. Getting the chance to play at a stage where the stakes are high intrigued Kimble. He anxious to begin Syracuse’s journey in the ACC:

“That’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life to compete in big-time football like that. To compete in the ACC is big for me. I can’t wait to play for the opportunity.”

So what exactly did it for him? The feeling of playing on the Hill for four seasons has Kimble feeling like Syracuse is his second home:

“The overall family atmosphere the football program provides. Just the coaches are unbelievable, and the players. It’s just something I would love to be a part of.”

Give Darryl Gross props here. Everything seemed to be trending downward for Syracuse in the wake of the Buffalo Bank Robbery, but Gross held the fort, promoted Shafer to head coach, and allowed the staff to add dynamic young pieces. Lester and McDonald have already made their impact felt in just a few weeks on the job.

Kimble just can’t wait to get things going. Some might shrug at his two star rating, but Nassib was also a tw0-star player coming out of high school. Kimble’s up for the challenge and wants to help put Syracuse football back on top:

“I’m just going to compete for that starting job. If I get it, I got to do my job. The quarterback is a big part of it, but’s it not all about me, it’s about the whole team, (and) the coaches. I believe we can really get this program back to where it was.”

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

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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