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Why the Sad Saga of Max Beaulieu Scares D.A. For Sugar Bear Thompson

Interesting note in Mike Cohen’s mailbag about whatever happened to highly regarded signee Max Beaulieu. He was one of the biggest recruits of the previous regime, and was considered one of the best defensive players in Florida at the time.

“At Syracuse, though, Beaulieu struggled to move up the depth chart at defensive end. The coaching staff moved him to tight end during preseason camp in 2011, but that didn’t lead to any increased playing time either.

In three years on the team, Beaulieu did not play in any games.

He was suspended for the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl along with teammate Adonis Ameen-Moore for unspecified violations of athletic department rules, and he never returned to the team.

Beaulieu is no longer a member of the football program, nor is he enrolled at Syracuse, according to the online student directory.”

I remember it well. Max was the first big time recruit of the Doug Marrone era. Here was what Elite Scouting Services said about him:

“We watched Max last year and throughout the spring and summer and felt that he was a top-flight college football prospect,” said Charles Fishbein of ESS. “When Coach Harriott told us about him, we went and watched him mature into one of the state’s better players.”

“This is not just one of those ordinary talents who schools from the Northeast come in and get. This is an athlete who was being heavily recruited by schools such as Purdue, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina and Nebraska.”

Beaulieu came from the complicated legacy of the University School in Ft. Lauderdale, where Roger Harriott left to become the Syracuse running backs coach… for a week. The U-School also delivered one of the biggest knuckleheads in recent SU memory: Bryce Hawkes. You have to win some battles in Florida, and SU has always had a few Sunshine State kids. But rarely does it pull one of the best players in the state. The Orange did a much better job recruiting down there after Groobers left, and Max was the face of that. SU is now facing ACC talent every week which has forced the program to focus on the state even more.

But Beaulieu is the ultimate “what could’ve been” kid. He had FBS powers offering him. He was supposed to dominate the SU defensive line for years. He was one of the best in the state of Florida… and he came to CNY only to be eventually transitioned to tight end. I constantly bring up my concern with the coaching staff’s decision to move Sugar Bear Thompson to defensive end. The Max Beaulieu situation is one of the biggest reasons why. Understandably, it was a different staff that couldn’t figure out a way to get Max on the field. But one of the best pass rushers in Florida was eventually made a tight end and never played a snap for SU. How does that happen? Granted, Thompson has actually gotten game action unlike Max. Sugar Bear has 9 tackles, two for loss, and a sack in the first month of the season.

I’m just always worried we’re going to watch one of the smoothest pass catchers and matchup nightmares Syracuse has recruited in years fade into oblivion. But ultimately, sounds like the two players are opposites of one another. Beaulieu made the switch and never played a down of football, then got in trouble and left the team. Thompson is producing in the first month at his new position. Sugar Bear has already had a more productive career than MB.

Max Bealieu: we barely knew ya. The ultimate reminder there are no guarantees in the recruiting game.

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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