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Shock Waves: Vanderbilt Coaching Change Could Land Syracuse Mikale Wilbon

Running back recruit Mikale Wilbon’s de-commit from Vanderbilt could work in Syracuse’s favor.

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via Sun Times

Penn State Head Coach James Franklin is already having fun in Happy Valley. After taking Vanderbilt to three consecutive bowl games in his first three years as head coach, he was hired as the Nittany Lions’ 16th head man in program history. The only problem is Vanderbilt’s recruiting class may now take a hit.

And there’s a possibility that Syracuse could benefit in the recruiting game from Franklin’s decision to move to the Big Ten. 

Mike McAlister of CuseNation.com thinks that RB Mikale Wilbon is a possible target. The 3-star, 5’9”, 195-lb Chicago native has got serious speed. He originally commit to the Commodores back in April. But he de-committed shortly after Franklin took the PSU head coaching job, according to 247 Sports. Wilbon’s first move after the coaching change seems to be a visit to Nebraska this weekend. After that, he has a couple weekends left before National Signing Day on February 5.

The De La Salle HS product has offers from over 15 schools, a lot of them from Big Ten country. Syracuse offered the tailback back in April. But if the Orange coaches can rekindle a relationship with the former Vanderbilt commit, anything could happen. Keep in mind, Nebraska just offered Wilbon a few days ago, and now the 3-star running back is visiting Lincoln this weekend.

Vanderbilt’s recruiting class in general is breaking down fast. Jeff Lockridge of USA Today Sports mentioned in a recent article that he’s never seen a meltdown quite like this:

“On Saturday morning, Vanderbilt had 20 commitments and a 2014 football recruiting class that was ranked in the top 25 in the country. By Sunday night, a day after coach James Franklin left for Penn State, the Commodores had what one recruiting site called three solid commitments. ‘Basically, they’re left with three guys that I would consider really firm commitments,’ said Chris Smith ofVanderbilt.247Sports.com. ‘A lot of them have mixed emotions. All the recruits, they all love Franklin, they all seemed to want to come to Vanderbilt because of Franklin.’”

This is never something that you want to see happen to a program. But it could benefit Syracuse. Remember, Syracuse has already had success recruiting De La Salle HS this fall.  Wilbon’s teammate, OG Aaron Roberts commit to Syracuse back in October. The Orange’s success rate in Illinois has shot up as well since the new coaching staff took over in January. There are four Illinois commits in the class of 2014, and Coach Shafer and company were able to bring in two quick Illinois commits in Mitch Kimble and Kendall Moore during the last week before NSD last February.

Nothing is set in stone, but SU has a chance at the 3-star RB Mikale Wilbon. The possibility of adding another RB helps Syracuse’s depth at the position with the loss of Jerome Smith to the NFL Draft. This close to Signing Day, anything goes. 

Posted by: Kevin Fitzgerald 

28 Comments on this Post

  1. Well this is the norm for College Football and you got to feel for these young men who set their sights on a goal and now have to restart the process.

    Hope to see some Wilbon in Orange and running on the speedy carpet of the Carrier Dome.

  2. orangeinva

    Moral of the story seems to be go play football for the school and not the coach.

    Imagine being a freshman and a “Franklin” leaves…you have to sit out a year in most cases(if you’re not PSU) or go play at a different “level”.

    I wouldn’t mind if Mikale came to Cuse.

  3. I doubt SU has a shot at this kid. His 1st smell was for Nebraska!! That tells a lot!!

    Hey Mr. Smith I see “many” RB’s with fame are coming out this year. So that puts you sliding down that greasy pole of abilities and falling out of favor. This year your product was very limited on a better team also. I really do hope for your dream, but it should of been in 2015 not this year!! I guess to some the $$$$$ sign is better than more W’s for SU!!

    Do not forget the kids of PSABUSEDU!! The NCAA did!!

  4. Terry, that is sick. He has his degree and must of been advised that this was he best choice. Why would you send negative thoughts to a great guy like Jerome. Really hateful and sad.

  5. OrangeCrush27

    I’d like to see an article on Larry Johnson leaving PSU. What effect that has on Holley??

  6. Agree with JB here. Go easy on Rome Terry, he did nothing wrong. I hope we get this guy and I think we have a fair shot. I think if he visits, it will be the last weekend and the Duke game. That could play very well for us. I am not shocked that a kid from Chicago would look at Nebraska. He is stocky and apparently fast according to the article. We’ve had very successful back with this make up. Joe Morris, Malcolm Thomas, Kyle McIntosh come to mind.

  7. OrangeCrush27

    Nevermind Holley flipped to Florida…

  8. vineyardjohn

    Rome is a class guy and I wish him the best. He always seemed to give his best to this team

  9. Ed Brooks

    I had to laugh when Terry’s comment started with the phrase “his first smell was from Nebraska”. I’m guessing he’s never been there because there are gigantic cattle slaughterhouses between Lincoln and Omaha, and we referred to Lincoln as “stinkin” after being exposed to the overwhelmingly horrific odor that you smell driving down I-80 in that area. If Wilbon smells that, he may not commit there. Nebraska is not the powerhouse it used to be, so SU shouldn’t throw in the towel on Wilbon. He may not commit to SU, but they should at least try to have him visit.

  10. OrangeCrush27

    Terry works for all national recruiting websites and knows what recruits want.

  11. @OrangeCrush27;

    I’d like to see an article on Larry Johnson leaving PSU. What effect that has on Holley??

    Larry Johnson is no longer a coach at Penn State and Holley de-committed and is now going to Florida. I guess Malone was right on the money again with what Holley was going to do. Amazing!!!!

    With Holley leaving,I’m hopeing that Jason Cabinda does the same and recommits to Syracuse.

  12. Terry; first of all I want to say that Jerome Smith is a fine young man and I for one am very glad that he came to Syracuse for football.

    secondly–Jerome had his best season at RB last year when he ran for over 1000 yards,that effort put a huge target on his back that allowed all opposing defenses to key in on him,all knowing if you stop #45 you beat Syracuse.

    Third–are you blaming the young man for going to NFL? Please remember that Jerome has already graduated. Are you jealous of the fact that a 21 year old kid is trying for that pot of gold that the NFL provides?

    I wish him well Terry. So he plays for 5-10 years for an NFL team and makes 10-20 million over his career. That’s fantastic,isn’t it?

  13. Ron I might be wrong but I don’t think Mr. Smith gained 1000 yards this year!! I have been checking the scouting on the draft and I have not seen a RB of any kind(including the 2 Heisman RBs) chosen!! You hear that Ron not a RB chosen yet in 1st round. Yes its not concrete on choosing RB’s in the 1st round.
    Look Mr. Smith was a decent RB at SU but really average at best. Your telling me he’s one of the top RB’s coming out this year your nuts. There is at 12 better RB’s coming out this year ahead of him. And also the RB position is going to be more looked over at than ever. Since football college and pro are airing out the ball more than running it. Yet I see no real team as of picking a RB in the 1st round. So where does that leave MR Smith, at the bottom of the heap. He is not the fastest(got caught from behind a number of times). Really didn’t show much on catching the pass. Maybe because the staff felt he wasn’t good at that either. And his blocking was never that impressive either. Want me to keep on going. He’s a really great kid who if his total time is up(and it ain’t-1 year left) go NFL. His skill level RIGHT NOW is far below the level of the best RBs coming out this year! Work on his pass catching, blocking and get some more speed some how?? Come on he is no Jones Bros like talent here and you homers know that!! Matter of fact I like the kids playing behind him more so go if you don’t want to be here!! It just pisses me off when talent leaves early that should stay put and staff/homers know that as well! Ron-5/10 years in NFL your head is in sand. He has to get drafted first!! And I think he might in the late rounds!! But I wouldn’t bet on that!! Come on if he was Jim Brown get the hell out of Syracuse and make the big $$$$$$$$$$’s but you know what HE AIN”T!!! So stay another year! If no get outta here then!! And the staff probably believes in that to!!

    OC27 wish I did work for them!!! Some here on this site need an education about rebuilding a program. Thursday ESPNU is doing the ACC for next year. Every guy on that program before tomorrow says you win with “better talent”. I wish they read some stuff from this site and listen to some of the thoughts you guys give!! Well lets see what they say about SU!! You all know they’ll mention FSU,MIAMI,CLEMSON and VT and their classes, because the talent is there. What happens if the jump over SU??? Oh yeah to you guys who cares SU would rather have players with more heart than talent?? NR/2 star will get SU to the promised land!! We’ll see but this years class is better than the last 10/12 years classes. And BETTER wins not always heart!! I’m interested(if I don’t miss it) in watching it. My feeling they won’t mention SU very much program wise!!

  14. Cuse don't luse

    I’m sorry guys but I think I agree with Terry on this one. I would live for ROME to make tons of money in the NFL and I still hope that, but even with the whole target on his back thing I don’t find to be completely accurate, because teams know we run the ball and smith goth 4.56 ypc while gulleys was 5.49 and Mcfarlane was 6.09 ypc. My point is that Rome was a punisher 2 seasons ago similar to Delone Carter, but this year that was really missing he punished one Tulane defender on the goal line, but nothing else comes to memory disregarding that run he never made a man miss and he never outran anyone. Teams knew Auburn and Boston College were going to run the ball and they still amassed big rushing totals . According to cbssports Jerome smith is the 24th rated running back with either a 7th round or free agent status and he is behind the following players to name a few: Kadeem Carey, tre mason, bishop sankey, lache seastrunk, Andre Williams, dean thing Thomas. Those are a few, he’ll Florida state has 2 running backs rated higher than him… TWO.

    I understand you have to pursue what’s in your best interest, but unless smith passed up some impressive names I don’t see his dream becoming a reality. Chandler Jones is a good example he was a first round pick same with Pugh, but Hickey realized he wasn’t that and he held back a year.

    I think my ultimate point strays a little from Terry, because I have met Rome and PTG and chandler jones and all those guys and they are all really nice especially PTG, but if you want him to be successful then you want him to stay another year; however in terms of Syracuse football aka the reason we are having this debate I think his departure is fine, because we have a full cupboard of talent. I see PTG, Morris, and Mcfarlane as our 3-headed monster. While it may be dumb for smith to leave this wont hurt us at all especially because we have a spread offense so the other 3 backs will compliment our system much more soundly. We have added soapy recievers and dual threat qbs for a reason and that reason is not to run smith up the guy over and over my point is he was a good player and a great person who may be taking a leap in the dark and while we will lose an aspect to this team I think it won’t hurt and we can all speculate now but his pursuit to “making it” in the NFL will be decided soon enough

  15. Jerome would have to be accepted into a masters degree program. Maybe he doesn’t want that huge and demanding workload , which is very difficult at Syracuse.

  16. @Terry;

    When I say he ran for over 1000 yards last year,I meant the 2012 season. The new year is still fresh and it still feels like 2013 for me. What else can I say?

    I never said he was one of the top RB’s entering the NFL draft. My point was that he’s already graduated and is ready to move on to next level. I believe that he will make the roster of one of the NFL teams. If he doesn’t well I know that he will succeed in life away from football. My main point is that he’s a fine young man that has a head on his shoulders and his parents should be proud of the fact that they both succeeded in raising a great individual.

    He’s not a person graduating from UNC,he’s graduating from Syracuse University.

  17. OrangeCrush27

    Rome’s decision is what’s best for him, not the fans. If he wants to take a shot at the NFL, who cares? That’s his decision, regardless of what NFL mock drafts/fans say.

    Rome was a pleasure to watch the past 3 years and we all wish him well with his future. Hope he makes it on an NFL roster.

  18. Look its more than just putting in time at SU for Mr. Smith!! He still has time at SU!! And he chose to leave-fine. I could see that and for others only if the talent is there. On SU he looks the part kind of, but on a NFL team he won’t!! SORRY!! Its not about the education(ask any parent about the stress of paying for a college education) or loyalty to your program its about the chance for the $$$$$$$$$$!! That’s all!!! Again Brown, Little, Morris, Csonka or the Jones Bros. maybe the $$$$$$$ trap would work out and it did!! It just will not for Mr. Smith!! I hope the best for him but let us also learn from this too!!

  19. 1. If DeAthony Thomas, Hankey, Ka’Deem Carey, & Hill from LSU are chasing their dreams, Jerome Smith has every right. #nextplease

    2. Getting paid to play the GAME he loves…. #priceless

    3. Wilbon? I need bigger names, and better athletes….I want a recruiting gem in February like S Morgan’s commitment, but KJ already fits the bill….SU still needs 10 good recruits. Maybe Wilbon is the first?

    4. 2014 – OCMcD should definitely go: no huddle/uptempo/read option, Hunt like in high school , has the tools to be a 1,000 yds passing & running Qb. Its almost a standard for good Qbs, as well as 3,000 passing yds, or 65% completed passes, overall marks for a high QBR. Hunt’s skill set just happen to be that of a talented raw dual threat. I still think there are positions of need outside of RB.
    5.

  20. I’m never mad at a kid who decides to go pro and get paid.

    I would have a VERY hard time choosing to stay in college and have no $ as opposed to getting drafted and getting a nice fat paycheck

    This is a business and these kids have put in untold hours for the past 8-10 years (some longer) Expecting them to keep playing and risk injury & possibly their entire career when they can get drafted simply isn’t fair.

    I would have LOVED to see him come back but he made the right decision

  21. These guys usually come from humble backgrounds and maybe his family can’t wait and a Rbs body can only take so many hits so is shortlived….if the coaches advised it(usually the case)I’m alright with it esp as he has his degree.Nothing wrong with our RG but we need some WR explosion which KJ Wms might provide!?!

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  1. [...] Coaching change at Vanderbilt could see Mikale Wilbon at Syracuse [...]

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