If you searched “Florida wide receiver” in a Syracuse football database, you’d undoubtedly find several matches. Sunshine State recruits are no longer a stranger up On the Hill thanks to George McDonald’s arrival last January. McDonald’s impact has really shined on picking up play-making, offensive prospects from the area.
And SU’s offensive coordinator continues to target a name Orange fans should start getting used to. Hopefully.
The Fizz has tracked North Miami Beach wide receiver Steve Ishmael and his recruiting process extensively. Ishmael was on the receiving end of an in-home visit from McDonald prior to Syracuse’s Texas Bowl win at Reliant Stadium. He’s set to be up on campus next Friday to take his official visit. There’s been mutual interest between both parties, and it really started to heat up once Ishmael’s senior stint with the Chargers.
After speaking with The Fizz Thursday, quarterback commit, unspoken AJ Long had this to say about Ishmael:
“I know he is a lock but [he’s] silent. He loves Coach McDonald.”
It remains to be seen if there’s another recruit out there who can compete with the attention Ishmael continues to get. The lengthy receiver is at the top of McDonald’s potential prizes to join the Syracuse offense. Ishmael could be the fourth WR in the 2014 class, alongside KJ Williams, Corey Cooper and Jamal Custis. Most think another wideout would be surprising since there’s already an overflow of young wide receivers on the current SU roster.
Not so fast.
Almost a year ago now, Scott Shafer and McDonald began their sprint to the finish line to rally together SU’s 2013 class. Now with a full year under his belt, McDonald has been able to find the players he absolutely wants. Remember what AJ Long told The Fizz once his cousin Williams committed in July:
“They don’t have the players they want to play in the ACC. We’re the type of kids that they want and fit their system. So it’s good to know that he’s the first one we get. He’s going to help us so much more, [since], as everybody says, he was the most highly recruited person that we’ve brought in the last couple of years.”
The program is in the midst of that transition. His hire obviously means Shafer has his trust and this offense has his name written all over it. The pitch he can absolutely throw at prospects is a big one: immediate playing time. Coaches like to promise young players time on the field right away and come up short of their promises. Ask Brisly Estime, Alvin Cornelius or running backs Devante McFarlene and George Morris II. McDonald isn’t kidding when he says you have the chance to play right away if you prove it in practice.
Landing recruits such as Williams and possibly Ishmael are just a glimpse of what’s in store for Syracuse as long as McDonald is around. As to the why the 3-star stud Ishmael has yet to verbally commit, there’s no update. Perhaps he’s waiting to go through his visit on campus to get a feel for the atmosphere.
Long believes that’s the only thing that’s holding Ishmael up.
What can be sure is that McDonald’s presence will only increase Syracuse’s chances to bring in some of Florida’s best. Adly Enoicy told The Fizz recently of his strong relationship with Estime and McDonald. Pretty soon these offensive pieces have to make their decisions as NSD approaches.
Posted by: Brendan Glasheen