In a Fizz post months ago, we talked about the signing of kicker Shane Raupers and the concern Doug Marrone had about the position through spring practice.
So what happens when the player you recruit to do the job walks away?
Marrone went with his usual “don’t talk about players who aren’t on the team” approach to Raupers while Team Fizz was in attendance, but you could see that there was something amiss about this departure.
After delivering the normal last rites, Marrone went on to talk about how the players in his program will be successful in life. Which is a good point. Just not regarding the question he was asked.
A reporter was inquiring whether the door was open for Raupers to return at some point and you got the feeling Marrone wanted to say something different; it was almost uncomfortable as he tried to find a way to answer the question without breaking his code.
It was pretty apparent Raupers’ departure was a little different then everybody else’s.
Eighteen players have left the team so far this season. Two of them were recruited by Marrone (Derek Hines and Raupers). One of those two decided he just didn’t want to play football anymore (Hines).
The other, Raupers, was a much stranger scenario. First, he essentially had won the job with just a walk-on behind him. Second, he was just a freshman. Third, he was a great athlete in high school at Athens and had major “upside.”
Few many ever know the real reason behind his departure, because his family does not want to comment on the issue.
But could this be a classic case of a Big Man on Campus in high school (Raupers was also the team’s quarterback), who came to SU and wasn’t used to the criticism of playing D-1 football? A good player who only needed to adjust to college life, couldn’t make it through two-a-days? That seemed to strike Marrone different than the others.
Meantime, The Fizz has an early favorite on the new kid to put up PAT’s. It’s Erik Elken of course! The sports reporter/senior at Syracuse missed the cut in spring practice and is waiting on a call back from the SU brass after dropping them a line about another walk-on spot.
Back in high school, he kicked, played cornerback and drew light interest from Northwestern and a few 1-AA programs to boot field goals. We’ll keep you posted.