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

The Sunshine State stud was supposed to dominate the SU line for years. Never happened.

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.

23 Comments on this Post

  1. @D.A.;

    Something drastic other than not enough playing time must have happened with Max and that’s why he isn’t on the team anymore.

    I totally agree with you about Ron Sugar Bear Thompson though, He’s a natural force at TE,I watched him in the 2012 Spring Game and after catching the ball it took three defensive players to bring him down,switching him to a DE position scares the daylights out of me. Could the reason for the switch be because of his hip injury that he had a year ago? I would have loved to see play at TE.

  2. @Russell Stugots;

    Could there be trouble brewing down in Morgantown? I just turned on the WVA/Oklahoma St game and the game did not sell out?


  3. @Russell Stugots,Carlton,Malone;

    I went looking but couldn’t find it,wasn’t it that JB guy posting that UCF was the best team in florida and that the would beat South Carolina today?

    Well lets take a look at todays action;Miami beat USF 49-21 and South Carolina beat UCF 28-25 and in the first quarter BC is leading FSU 7-0.

    Do you all think the person is legitimate or not?

    Russell,it looks like WVA is going to beat Oklahoma ST.

  4. This kid’s treatment or handling was one of the biggest coaching failures ever at Syracuse. The kid came in with all kinds of ability and was denied his place on the field playing his position. It started with perhaps the worse coach in the history of the program GRobinson who was a mindless imbecile when it came to his supposed job of head coach.

  5. chris- Just an FYI, having talent in HS does not guarantee anything in D1 ball. He wasn’t denied anything, my guess is that he didn’t earn it like other who played did. Pretty simple, nothing is guaranteed in recruiting or in life. Maybe, just maybe, he didn’t want to put in the work required to start or he couldn’t grasp schemes at a D1 level..or about 1000 other things that is required of athletes these days that he couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t want to do.

    It is possible that he was like around 100 4 star kids who don’t pan out every year or start. Look at 5* Ishaq at ND…can’t even start. DO you think they write articles like this on fansites at ND…just a hint, no they don’t. They see tons of 4/5* talent that doesn’t pan out, difference is that they don’t see every 4/5* kid as a savior.

    Why compare him to Ron Thompson, no comparison in any way whatsoever other than the change of position. Another HUGE difference is that Thompson asked the coaches for the change of position to help the team, isn’t a starter as a RS Freshman but already sees tons of playing time. That should tell you something.

  6. @CuseOnly;

    Your absolutely correct,Ron Thompson asked for the change to help the team.

    I liked what you said about all 4/5 star athletes not making it at the D1 level.

    Sometimes I watch ND games to see if Ishaq does play in the games. I don’t see him or hear his name mentioned at all.

    Great response kiddo.

  7. Ron-
    I’m with you on this. Sugar Bear could be a force on the offensive side of the ball. If he did really ask to switch for the good of the team that’s awesome – but you never know if that’s just the spin SU wants to put out there. That happens all the time in CFB – coaches decide something and then the sports info dept. says “it was all the players decision”…

  8. hey guys;

    Big news this morning ;Trojans fire coach Lane Kiffin.

    Can you all imagine the trouble we would have been in if DR. Gross would have hired him. Can anyone say “GROB 2”?

    I’m real glad he didn’t come here,REAL GLAD.

  9. Ron/DA give me 4/5 stared players any day!! I’ll gamble with them!!! Your 2 star/NR hopefuls have been SU’s history for the last few decades. What’s SU’s record those years!! Don’t get me wrong!! Not all 4/5 stared players make it, but only idiots would back the the 2 star/NR players because they have more heart!! What?? Williams(nice piece on him in syracuse.com) right now probably is better that some of SU’s starting WR’s now!! HCSS are you listening start your best incoming Freshmen. And others might follow(3/4/5 stared players)!! This whole weekend of college ball from most of the top 10 teams I heard starting freshmen both on the “O” and “D” side of the ball-starting!! You won’t see much of that with 2 star/NR players, because their overall talent is lacking!! DA-HUH!!! For SU to grow they must throw out this attitude that they will never get the best talent into the DOME. Maybe so, but to start 2/3 highly ranked Freshmen a year might change that attitude. And others may come!! Or sit on the stupid idea of a hope and pray talent of the 2 star/NR player. SU’s history has shown that does not work or better yet fill up the DOME game after game. Time to gamble HCSS and play your best like it or not!! Growth will come. Instead of hope it comes!!

  10. Ron,was JB real?Or just a mirage?He lost me with his outragous claim about the King of Fla CFB “UCF”!!Are they good?Yes,about the 4th best…”maybe” or ranked top 40,yeah I’ll buy that but the best in Fla?I think like that prediction we were just JB dreaming!

  11. bk su fb fan

    Ofcourse, people would prefer to have higher , ranked guys. But, at SU, the 4 and 5 stars aren’t exactly beating down the doors to get here. So instead, you build with solid recruiting and excellent coaching.. In time, you can be more appealing to recruits of a higher caliber. And its not as simple as waving a 44 jersey to 5 star rb.

  12. personnally i wanted the big guy to play tight end instead but i am a big fan of this kid. i also beleive the injury kind of screwed him to perform at his best for offense. i also feel he may still play tight end at syracuse, with 3 years to go after this season. as beuleiue is concerned i feel syracuse just didn’t work out for him..

  13. Maybe if the SEC refs called holding in the 2nd half, Ucf would have won. However, my original reason to post was because Syracuse “FANS” seem to think it’s ok to bash Drew Allen. He has worked very hard, conducted himself in a professional manner and had 2 very difficult games to have immediate success in. He doesn’t deserve that and if the roles were reversed Terrel Hunt would’t either.

  14. JB,I agree with you about if the kid gives you his best he don’t need to be bashed just because we don’t like the results!He chose us so the least we can do is treat him(or any team member)right!Believe me I’ll guarantee you he’s more disappointed than we are.Good post JB.Do you know him personally?

  15. Hey JB,UCF did themselves proud exposing how overated some SEC teams are and should make a very good bowl this year with Bordles is it? at QB and by the end of the season they’ll get more respect but are they 1 or 2 years wonders?It takes time in tradition-laden CFB for respect!After Cuse I assume you follow them?Live in C.Fla,Orlando area?Ive been aware of them for the last couple of years just don’t like O’leary!

  16. @JB;

    The strongest statements about Drew Allen being our quarterback was from Terry and I. The only thing that we were consistant on was we hoped that after this experiment was over with that Syracuse would never bring a 5th year transfer again and let him play for one year. I don’t recall anyone on this web site getting nasty about drew Allen at all.

    Look it’s real simple,either you have it or you don’t!!! If your not capable of handling the duties you get replaced. It’d that simple. Now remember this fact,Drew Allen decided to stay out in Oklahoma over the summer instead of coming to Syracuse to get a jump start on the program and being with the team. I think that might have been his undoing as the starting QB for Syracuse University.

    I followed George O’Leary while he was the coach at Liverpool High School. I think he’s one hell of a coach and wish him luck at UCF. On another note if UCF traveled to S. Carolina to play it wasn’t SEC officals that blew the game they were AAC officals. The officals from the league the school that travels belongs too supplies them.

    No one on this web site trashed Drew Allen. NO ONE

  17. Ron,I agree on the DA stuff but don’t remember any trashing?But if O’leary was my brother I wouldn’t like him!!ROTTEN personality!Ha ha..just can’t stomach the liar.Go Liverpool!!He once knocked northeast football at a bowl game 2 years ago saying no one in the NE cares about FB?Oh know?Tell that to me or Ron,Terry,Malone etc!He thinks UCF was a better CR candidate for the ACC/B1G than the NE schools?Btw in St Petersburg Bowl RU had more fans than they did at the bowl and bullied them!Told people on his resume at ND he was a starting OL on UNH in the 70s?No,he wasn’t even on the roster I believe?

  18. Ron,I assume your off today?Big game this week!!!Lets shockem with Eastern FB at its best/loudest!

  19. orangemike

    I’ve been following SU sports for 60 years, my parents both went there and my grandparents, but I am not optimistic this Saturday. Hope for the best, but I think they are in for a rude awakening. These guys are not Wagner or Tulane. If the final score is within three touchdowns I’ll count it as a moral victory. Good luck, Orange!!

  20. @Russell Stugots;

    had to work today and once there the woman I work with broke down crying because tomorrow is the 1st anniversary of her husband passing and was asked to work late to close the store.

    Your right Russell,it’s going to be big this weekend. I’ve talked with a lot of different players over the weekend and all I’m going to say is they’re pumped.

  21. Russell,I met and talked with this kid tonight at work. Great personality,articulates the English language well,great all round kid. Where’s he from? That’s right NJ. This is why I feel things are changing up on the hill for Syracuse.

    #21 Tyler Roberson
    Position: Forward
    Height: 6-8
    Weight: 212
    Class: Freshman
    Hometown: Union, N.J.
    High School: Roselle Catholic

  22. Hey Russell,Terry it looks like we have another member of the old folks fraternity in “orangemike”. If he’s been following Syracuse for 60 years that put’s him in the
    late 70’s or early 80’s bracket.

    It doesn’t matter,welcome aboard “orangemike” I hope you enjoy the reading.

  23. Hey Russ, yeah O’Leary lied, but he’s a good coach and an SU guy. He put GTech on the map. He would have had the ND job, but he got found out. That said, there are coaches out there who’ve gotten away with far worse, or at least faced easier punishment. As for the Sugar Bear, I am sad that we won’t likely see him at TE, but I am happy to see him get on the field. We need players to play. As for the NJ kids Ron, they’re all pretty good kids, just glad SU is coming back to seeing that. Stupid TV show did more damage than Sandy and Rutgers reaped the rewards. It’s about time we got back in that arms race.

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