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Closing Time: The 3 Late Targets That Could Make Syracuse’s Class Great

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The outlook for Syracuse’s Class of ’13 has evolved from encouraging (December) to devastating (January) to exhilarating (February). George McDonald’s immediate impact has been hard to quantify. He’s taken a dire situation and gathered together a group of players who never had SU on their radars, and are now committed to the Orange. Staten Island running back Gus Edwards will now choose between Miami and Florida State, and it certainly seemed like the departure of Doug Marrone created a major disturbance with his commitment. But one has to wonder if Gus would’ve jumped at a pair of Sunshine State offers anyway had the last regime stayed. Hard to say no to 80 degrees and girls in tank tops.

The Mailman continues to do work before National Signing Day, and its easy to see why athletes flock to him. McDonald’s Twitter feed blares optimism.

“Landed in Syracuse and was welcomed home to some AWESOME SNOW! Can’t wait to make snow angels an go sledding #PositiveOutlook 

Great week spent with great coaches around the country headed back to Syracuse to put the final touches on 2013 class #FinishStronger

not about the stars but with 365 days and the staff that CoachShafer has put together top 25 class in2014 #Recruiting365:24-7″

Here’s the top 3 late targets that would turn Syracuse’s good class into a great one, considering the carnage of losing half the coaching staff with less than a month to go.

1) Florida WR Stacy Coley (Northeast HS)

The Fizz took a look at one of the top undecided players in the country earlier this week. Coley has offers from major college programs, but was deciding whether to take one final official visit to either Syracuse or Louisville. SU has a nice class, but rarely is the Orange ever in a derby for a talent like Coley.

One reason, and one reason only, is the 4-star wideout adding SU into a mix with Florida State, Oregon, Georgia and Clemson: McDonald. Reports surfaced Thursday that Coley would choose the Seminoles this week. But if SU somehow got a commitment from the wideout, you could forget about Ebenezer Ogundeko and other big New York fish the Orange lost out on. This would be the difference maker in a program SU had been searching years for. The odds are slim, but credit McDonald for even putting SU on his radar.

2) Florida DB Brisly Estime (Atlantic HS) 

The Brizz has had a convoluted recruiting process. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound corner/return specialist is a Palm Beach Post All-Area player of the year. He had originally been committed to Purdue, but backed off. He then gave his verbal to Iowa State, but the Cyclones revoked his scholarship offer after he visited Western Michigan (ISU did not want him to do that). He planned to visit Arkansas (McDonald’s brief home) and Tennessee has shown recent interest.

He’s visiting the Hill this weekend, and The Mailman’s relationship single handedly got him on campus. His coach compared him to Devin Hester, which explains the widespread interest in him. Adding a playmaker like Estime to the Carrier Dome turf would be an enormous late add.

3) Brooklyn RB Laray Smith (Xaverian HS)

Once Gus left, Laray became the priority to keep locked in. The Orange has incredible running back depth over the next few seasons, but it would be terrific to bring in at least one to this class as well. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound track star is smaller than Gus, but he’s more of a big-play threat. He’s ranked as the 2nd best running back in the state, and now has added Indiana and UConn into the mix. He’s visiting the Hoosiers this weekend, but with the budding excitement over the new faces in this recruiting class it makes most sense for Laray to join the Orange. He has the option of playing in the B1G, but Syracuse heads into the ACC with so many of his New York City boys.

Honorable Mention: Miami DB Simeon Thomas, Chicago LB Reggie Spearman, West Palm DE Malik Brown. All three of these players are outstanding gets in their own right. They are all interested in Syracuse late in the game, while Thomas and Spearman are on campus this weekend. Brown is still committed to SU, but is taking other visits before NSD. Thomas is a special athlete and has offers from some of the nation’s powers, although is deciding between SU, Hawaii and Clemson.

The SU recruiting class is much stronger than most could’ve ever imagined once Marrone left. But landing some of the aforementioned players would take ’13 to the next level.

Posted: D.A.

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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