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Shafer’s Hire of Moreland Strengthens Midwest Ties

Earlier in the weekend, Syracuse Athletics announced that Scott Shafer had brought in Jake Moreland to mentor the tight ends and tackles.

In addition to Moreland’s hire, SU also announced that Bobby Acosta would coach the wide receivers, as well as take over as the recruiting coordinator.  Acosta coached wide receivers at his previous jobs before coming to Syracuse.  George McDonald was the team’s former wide receivers coach.

Moreland’s hire is important because of his mid-western ties.  The new coach comes from Milwaukee.  Both Shafer and Moreland coached at Western Michigan, and Moreland has recruited from the Midwest at both Western Michigan and Air Force, where he has coached for the past three years.

At Air Force, Moreland helped create the Falcons’ top ten rushing program and allowed very few sacks on the year.  Basically, Moreland is great at recruiting and coaching tight ends that can block.  Tight ends need to seal the edge for the running backs and sometimes play a big role in pass protection.

Of the hire, Shafer said, “Jake is an outstanding leader of young men and a terrific football coach…adding Jake to our staff allows Bobby Acosta to resume coaching receivers, a position he has mentored at three other schools, and serve as our recruiting coordinator.”

Essentially, Moreland is replacing McDonald on the staff, which is quite worrisome because the Orange opted to go with another Midwest recruiter over replacing the South Florida one.  South Florida has been somewhat of a pipeline in the past decade for the Orange, but coach Shafer has his eyes set on the Midwest.

In the upcoming recruiting class, the Orange currently has four remaining commits from Floridaand just as many recruits from the Midwest.  The coaching staff has always pulled from South Florida over the Midwest, and hasn’t had more players come from the Midwest since 2012.

It’s a risky move for Shafer to rely on his current staff to uphold the Florida recruiting after losing its recruiting leader for the area.  Coming up on National Signing Day, the Orange is still targeting plenty of players from South Florida.  In the coming seasons, fans could see a shift of focus back toward the middle of the country, though.

Posted:  Jason Weingold

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