FizzCast: We Ask New York Speedster Laray Smith Why He Chose Indiana

Listen to Laray break down how the coaching change pushed him away from Syracuse.

MSG Varsity

Brooklyn’s track star/ball carrier Laray Smith seemed locked into Syracuse for months, but on National Signing Day the speedster chooses the Midwest. We had the chance to catch up with him and ask when/why he decided to leave the state of New York.

Why did he pick Indiana?

“There’s nothing against Syracuse. I respect the coaches. They recruited me for a long time and Im thankful for that. But I took my visit to Indiana and I felt very different there. I was surprised with what I saw. I felt happy, I felt like I could fit in. Even though the distance is pretty far, I don’t regret my decision. I’m going to do what I gotta do to ball out.” 

How much did the coaching change affect his decision?

“I met the new (SU) coaching staff, they’re actually cool guys. They’re great people. But me and Coach Anselmo and the head coach had a different relationship. I just felt kinda weird how they just left outta nowhere. I understand the opportunity. Who wouldn’t take that? Now you’re able to coach on the big time level. But I’m gonna be honest it did change my decision. I was just like ‘wow they left, they’re gone.’ I just felt different toward them. It was gonna be a confused state for Syracuse.” 

How hectic were the final days of his recruitment?

“It’s been crazy. I’ve been getting a lot of calls. I started getting late offers for track, that was even more crazy. I was confused every day. I didn’t really know what to do.” 

Does he have plans to ever run track full time?

“I’m always gonna play football. I love football. That’s my main sport. At the end of the day, I’m always going to stick with football. But I’m gonna run track there (at IU) too.” 

How does he feel about Wayne Williams’ comments that some Big Apple players don’t understand how important it is to stay in New York and play in-state?

“That’s his choice of words. Nothing against him. I feel like you gotta go with your heart. Even if you’re from that state. There are kids who go from Miami to Syracuse. My heart told me to go to Indiana. I felt more comfortable with them. That’s why I decided to go.” 

What’s his expectations for the upcoming season?

“I’m gonna work really hard and prove a lot of people wrong. I’m gonna help change Indiana football around.” 

42 Comments on this Post

  1. Ct,Cincy,West Virgina,Usf,Ucf…Duke, wake,GT,NcSt,Miami, Va…What do they all have in common….better recruiting class for 2013! We’re not in the top 75!
    Great new start in the ACC.
    Shafer a mistake…Cuse wins “5” games in 2013

  2. I cannot understand why anyone would lose sleep on Feb 7 due to the belief that Ct, Cincy, West Virginia, USF,…. have better 2013 recruiting classes. None of these kids have stepped foot on a college football field yet and most of them will not for at least another year. There is no reason to get so wound up on the hype created by the “experts” who rate these kids based on which colleges they are interested in matriculating to. In 2014 lets see what these teams do with their 2013 recruits.

  3. Sounds like a guy that just got handed a “very” poor future. While DM left us a mess, the real issue is the lack of standing of Shafer. Oregon lost a world class coach…zero effect on recruiting… Good class. FSU lost almost an entire coa hing staff…great class. Cuse..looses its commits…looks on paper worse than the likes of Ct…out recruited by Coach P?
    The issue is Shafer was the wrong outcome! All you guys coming up with excuses only extends our pain!
    Cuse is lucky to win 5 in 2013/2014. Look at the holes in the offense. The defense isn’t much better. Very poor performance.. Recruiting matters. Check the good programs. Look what Louisville has done in three short years.

  4. Cuse17, man you need to take an ambien and go to sleep bro. Listening to the “recruiting services” is like listening to a Wall Street exec who says he’ll invest your money wisely. No he isn’t, he’s robbing you. Same with Rivals, Scout, Scouts Inc./ESPN pay to rank people. Sickening. Absolutely sickening bro.

  5. Cuse did you just compare syracuse to Oregon and FSU? Change your name. You don’t deserve to be a cuse if you think shafer is a bad coach cause ha can’t out recruit two top programs. Good god he’s been the coach a month grow up.

  6. Btw coach p had mcnabb and shoulda had day rice he was a good coach

  7. @Cuse17,

    I don’t know what site your looking at(24/7,scout,rivals,espn?) but on espn Oregon fell out of the top 25 classes. So CK leaving did hurt them. Oregon was ranked like 20th in the nation going into NSD.

    FSU did feel the sting of coaches leaving but unlike SU are located in the #1 hot bed recruiting for football. FSU finished 9th on espn but if those coaches didn’t leave more then likely been another top 5 class.

  8. Like Coach Shafer said” If the NYC kids want to play for Syracuse they will be given the opportunity,If they don’t we will find those who do want to play for Syracuse.” Good luck Laray. Your decision is regrettable on both sides. You just haven’t felt it yet.Wait,you will!

  9. Lets use the age old argument using the half glass of water for discussion. The pessimist will always tell you the glass is half empty while the optimist will always say the glass is half full.

    The pessimist,always looks for reason to complain,for example,the coach isn’t any good,didn’t bring in any top notch players,class ranking is in the 70’s,etc,etc,etc. The optimist will always see a silver lining in every cloud. The last time we had a hardnosed coach on the hill was when we had Ben Schwartzwalder as our coach.Coach Shafer is our modern Schwartzwalder and given time will work the magic that the former coach had done in the early years at Syracuse. I think that Shafer and his staff have worked wonders in bringing in 19 recruits that will be playing football here. People are already complaining that he didn’t bring in anyone worth while. The star system doesn’t mean a damn thing and I feel they should get past looking at how many stars are after a persons name. He’s brought in big physical players on both sides of the ball that have speed. he accomplished this in three weeks and for me that’s amazing.

    So for me the eternal optimist,lets give Coach Shafer and his staff the chance that they all deserve. With a year or two of coaching and a stabilized staff at Syracuse,maybe just maybe we get the big name recruits start to commit to the program.

    Instead of the pessimist getting on public web sites and spilling their putrid about the program,just keep your thoughts to yourself please,your not doing our beloved program anygood.

    To the 19 recruits that have committed to Syracuse’s class of 2013. WELCOME TO THE ORANGE NATION FELLA’S. LOOKING FORWARDS TO YOUR PLAYING THE GAME OVER THE NEXT 2/4 YEARS.

  10. Duany Duany

    You guys need to ban cuse17 before he turns this board into It would be one thing if he had valid points but he’s just trolling. He throws out generic insults about Syracuse that have no substance. No room for immature teens on this board, just my opinion.

  11. Good luck playing for IU, Michigan and Ohio St had top classes. Have fun getting pounded on. Then you have Michigan St, Nebraska.. I think you’ll have better luck running track..

  12. I just can’t remember back as to when anyone after the National Championship was played ever saying wow “THE NUMBER 1 RECRUITING CLASS OF 2011 HAS JUST WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP”. Have any of you ever heard them say anything like that?

    Who was the #1 ranked class last year does anyone remember? I do know that Notre Dame has had a top 10 maybe 5 recruiting class over the last 2 years,I guess after the spanking Alabama gave them this year only goes to show that class rankings really don’t matter much,do they.

    Give mt the players that play the game with “HEART” and is coached by a person who leads them with desire/passion from the “HEART”,that combination alone will turn any program into a winner.

    Go Coach Shafer,GO CUSE.

  13. @D.A.

    What happens to the players that didn’t get recruited? Has Syracuse got anymore Scholarships to offer? Didn’t Syracuse go after OT Jaylen Funches?

    I’m just asking what happens?

  14. CUSE 17 is a doucheee

  15. @Ron

    There’s pessimistic ways to look at things, and there are “realistic” ways to look at things. I don’t think things are as bad as Cuse17 says, but he does bring up a good point. At least on paper, based on the consensus of all the recruiting sites, SU’s class is not top notch. Do I think it is a pretty good class? Yes, considering the coaching change and the limited time Shafer had to recruit. But let’s not kid ourselves. SU is going to have to pull in MUCH better classes if it was to be competitive in the ACC. I’m optimistic, because of what Shafer and MacDonald were able to accomplish in just under a month. Bringing in guys like Kimble, Winfield, and Cooper, to replace defections. I’m interested to see what they can do with a year’s time. We also have yet to see how this staff can coach during a season. All in all, what I’m saying is that things could be worse, but by no means was this class great or even good.

  16. Ask West Virginia or Louisville how those better recruited classes worked out for them against us this past year.

    What this staff has been able to do in the 26 or so days they had to try to hold the ship together should be lauded.

  17. It kind of sucks that Florida Steve is now posting on this site. He already bashes SU on

  18. Hey, we got Akeem Jones! 3rd QB! I say thats pretty impressive.

  19. Smitty Section 129

    I like this class alot but yes losing allen, edwards and smith hurt. With Marrone we get these guys but we also got guys Marrone would not have gotten. My question is what happened with Marrone and SU, Ok I undestand taking an NFL job but the way he left and how he left the recruits hanging doesnt follow suit with how he preaches one should present themselves. Somehting happened between him, Gross and SU. He never had a press conference in Syracuse to tell the fans, school, community and players how much he aprreciated them etc. Marrone was like the Colts leaving Baltimore, one day he was there and the next gone.

  20. Big Pappa Pump

    Instead of focusing on the good ones that got away that the old staff recruited lets focus on the ones that our new staff got to play on the hill. I’m excited about the new staff and I have been a fan for nearly 40 years!

  21. Smitty Section 129

    I wish you luck L. Smith and to be honest your the player I felt we needed the most. Your speed on the turf would have been great. I wish you luck but I have a feeling you will regret this decision.This isnt basketball, really Indiana over Syracuse. Come on name some great RB from Indiana, I can name you a few from Syracuse. When your homesick unlike SU where there are tons of kids headinghome to NYC each week, good luck heading home from Indiana.

  22. Big Pappa Pump

    Smitty – well said! Gross needs to get with it and start raising funds to improve the facilities …that would be a good start for him and helping the new staff.

  23. Dr. Gross has approximately 16 months left to get things done up grading the Syracuse Football program with new facilities and whatever else is needed for the program to succeed. If he doesn’t get them done,then look for him to exit around the same time as Nancy Cantor in June of 2014.

    Holy cow!!!!! Can you imagine the dynamic duel gone? When that happens I hope the board looks for someone comparable to Mel Eggers that would have the insight to go after someone who knows a little about athletics and stays on the eastern side of the Mississippi.

    Does anyone think that there is any truth to the article written about Jim Harbaugh begging to get interviewed for the Syracuse job back in 2005 and Gross totally ignoring the man by hiring GROB?

    Just thought I would ask the question.

  24. So Laray never committed and I still like his answers better than Edwards. Laray, this was a track move, that may be the only half-truth here. As for Gus, he said he was going to Miami because of the coaching change (if I understand correctly, Miami changed their OC and some staff later than we did) the change was too late (see previous, but even if you wanted to make the argument that he knew them from FSU, they were only recruiting him AFTER our staff left and he de-committed. He said academics were important and that he wanted to study communications, so he chose… Miami? Miami’s football graduation rate is comparable to SU (80% to 78% I believe) and Gus’ second choice,FSU was at 55%. Rutgers, the school whose visit he didn’t take… 91%. Just be honest with yourself and us (this goes for Brown as well). You were wowed by the bling. You were wowed by the scenery. You wanted the cred and the gear more. It wasn’t about winning, or school. It wasn’t about the coaches.

  25. Marrone’s leaving and gutting the assistant coach ranks hurt Syracuse recruitment. Anselmo was the NYC connection and you can see what happened when Marrone took him to Buffalo as well. Laray will do fine at Indiana but not as well as if he had chosen the CUSE IMO. Good opportunity for us to recruit a couple of running backs for next year’s class.

  26. Couldnt care less what he thinks.We got 20 kids that WANT to be at the Cuse yet you continue to waste ink on kids that didnt come. I am sure that you will have your photo shoot of Zac soon as well as another story on EBO or GUS or Singleton or Spearman.

  27. Williams, Williams, Williams an issue for Smith and Gus. For the future talent pool in NYC this man will have an effect!! Maybe BB to?? The staff has to deal with this Big Apple cameleon before it gets any more players. How many this year from NYC “0” let alone LI a one time hot-bed for SU talent. Yesterday HCSS said NYS FB players are an imperative to get on campus. Only one this year!! WHY????????

  28. Gus didn’t visit because Rutgers didn’t want him to because of his situation in school . It was best that he went away for college. Don’t worry you will see Laray and Devan on the B1G Ten network or when RU crushes Indiana. Oh yeah RU has 6 players invited to the NFL Combine. Most by any Big East/ACC school and second in the nation to Ohio State. And we

  29. Oh yeah better class than the Cuse for the 8th str8 year.

  30. Cuse Don't Luse

    We lose
    Edwards to Miami
    Allen to TCU
    Carter to Rutgers
    S. Thomas to Lou Laf
    Brown to Tennessee
    Ogundeko to Clemson
    Woulard to UCLA
    Spearman to Iowa
    Officer to Pitt
    O’Korn to Houston
    Ramar dennis to jacksonville st
    and so many more i understand that Mcdonald and Shafer were under flood control but this class is nothing to be happy about we dont have a single player in the ESPN 300 which includes commitments to:
    Fresno St
    Southern University
    Texas State
    South Florida
    That is ridiculous that Cuse cant get into there I certainly have hope with Mcdonald to pull in better recruits but right now we just aren’t getting it done and its showing… what the hell is southern university?!?!

  31. Thank you…Cuse Don’t luse…these people are so busy drinking Cool Aide they would qualify for a trip with Jim Jones!
    I think Shafer was a mistake… He had a tough road! DM screwed the program.. I get it. Shafer and this recruiting class are real examples that the progress of 2012 have been reversed. I think we are in for a 5 win season or worse. We may not recover. Welcome to the world of Southern University!

  32. My number one goal of the day is to learn how to spell “cool aide” correctly. Please have patience with me, I only learned how to write last year.

  33. Russell MacEachern

    @Malone,Rutgers was contacted by AE not the other way and THEY DECIDED not to pursue him due to many complaints that it would be a PR nightmare due to character issues that we all know about and concentrate on Devin Carter who had no baggage!!Flood and the RU staff are all from the NYC/LI area and are VERY sensitive to the pulse and sentiment of Greater NY and didnt think any one recruit was worth the risk!!Its a shame for them and us cause I think hes a gamechanger and Carter wasn’t far behind,…outside of OL Al Officer those 2 guys are a real loss IMO!!Next year we’ll need a couple of bigtime RBs.Safetys and OL help I believe!

  34. HedgeHog

    As far as loosing Laray Smith and Augustus Edwards goes, here’s the deal. It wasn’t good that they chose to go elsewhere but it doesn’t effect the team all that much, especially in the short term. For next season we have at least 7 running backs returning, 4 of them with major game experience. Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley and Adonis Ameen-Moore will all be back and ready to run around and through the ACC. On top of that we have Ashotn Broyld (who by the way is averaging almost 5 yards per carry) and we have yet to see George Morris III – who many say may be the best back on the roster. How’s that for depth? There’s 5 solid backs returning and we haven’t even mentioned Devante McFarlane (6-1, 190) and possibly Myles Davis (listed as a fullback, but at 6′, 212, would make another solid option). If all 7 of those don’t work out, we still have Steve Rene and Travon Burke (6-1, 253) for backup.

    In light of al this, we really didn’t need 2 running backs in this years class. I believe Smith and Gulley will graduate after next season and we will need to add a back or two in next years class. Even with those two leaving, we still have Adonis Ameen-Moore, George Morris III and Ashotn Broyld returning along with all the other listed. We are literally stacked at RB for the next 2-3 seasons baring injury. The coaching staff did right by strengthening the other positions of need. Now they need to land a big time running back to bring back the #44 tradition for the Orange !

  35. Honestly I like the Ashton Kid. Seen him play in high school and I think you guys can run thru the ACC with him at QB and the read option. Kid has Tebow toughness.

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