NY Post Report: UConn Beating Syracuse in NYC Football Recruiting Battles

Has the new staff focused on the Midwest and South at the expense of losing the NYC area?


If you’re a Syracuse football fan, winning the New York City turf war is of huge importance. Too many elite players have left the Big Apple for greener pastures elsewhere in the past few years. If you can’t beat Notre Dame or Clemson to a kid, it’s understandable. Rutgers did a very good job under Crazy Eyes Schiano of dominating New Jersey, and now a shift to the B1G should help them even more. Syracuse is now in the ACC, so there should be some more success on the horizon in the 5 boroughs, right?

Maybe not.

A piece in the New York Post last week titled “UConn winning city’s football recruiting battle” highlighted the encroachment of UConn into what was Syracuse territory.

“The Empire Challenge is the culmination of the high school football careers of local prospects from New York City and Long Island. But last night’s lopsided contest at Hofstra University… also symbolized the start of Connecticut’s aggressive approach to talent in the area.

The city team, hammered by Long Island 40-8, featured three UConn-bound prospects in Christ the King tight end Jordan Fuchs, Beach Channel defensive tackle Fatukasi Folorunso and Poly Prep defensive end Cameron Stapleton.”

So how did the Huskies jump on three top New York kids? The loss of Doug Marrone’s staff opened the door.

“For years, Syracuse was attached to numerous players in the game, but a seismic shift occurred when Bronx native Doug Marrone left the Orange to take over as the Bills head coach, taking top city recruiter John Anselmo with him. Local high school coaches were said to be impressed by new Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer, who attended the All-City Dinner in January, but he has yet to see results.

‘We were always competing with them,’ UConn linebacker coach and city recruiter Jon Wholley said. ‘We got some of the guys [they were recruiting]. Losing people that had city connections like Doug Marrone and Anselmo definitely can help us.'”

Shafer’s crew, led by George McDonald and the General Lea, have made some big time dents in places like the Midwest. But maybe the Orange are trolling Illinois and Georgia because they’ve sacrificed NYC to the competition. There’s far more talent-laden grounds than the Big Apple for football. But should SU be still keeping some of its focus in-state?

“Taking a play from Syracuse’s playbook, UConn jumped on Folorunso and Stapleton early, before other Division I programs expressed interest, and landed early commitments. Fuchs picked UConn in January, but was focused on the Huskies since the spring of his junior year.

The three players lauded the dogged recruiting job by Wholley and comfort they felt at the school at the time of their commitments. Their coaches talked about the promise Pasqualoni and Wholley made about them being set for life and making sure they will be taken care of.”

Getting in early on recruits has been a Syracuse staple. And with the move to the ACC, while UConn languishes in conference purgatory, SU should be able to wrestle any kids it wants away from the Huskies. But you can’t expect to swoop in late. The new staff may need to be getting its feet on the ground as early as possible with kids in the Big Apple as well as other places.

“‘They have a genuine interest in you as a person, for you to grow on the field and in other aspects,’ Fuchs said.

Funny, that’s exactly what local recruits used to say about Syracuse.”

Low blow! Below the belt line from the Post. Players still say that about SU. The Orange just need to make sure its coming from the mouths of NYC players more often, not just those in far away states.

Posted: D.A.

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