Despite looking ugly the past few weeks, SU football is still headed to a bowl game. To figure out the effect the postseason will have on the program and recruiting, The Fizz spoke with Randy Taylor, a former assistant at Illinois and UNLV and the Director of Football Operations at Minnesota and UCLA. While with the Bruins, he recruited a class ranked #1 in the nation.
Read The Fizz’s bowl series, projecting the odds of where the Orange will go:
Taylor lays it out very simply. Win and you attract prime talent. Lose and you end up with players that are not D1-caliber:
“Kids want to be a part of winners, and you have to win more than you lose to go to bowl games. That also shows that your program is getting better. When you go and play in a bowl game and you go to a location, especially if you recruit in that area – Syracuse goes to Florida and plays in a game, those kids in Florida are going to see Syracuse there. There are going to be articles in the newspaper about their kids and (the coaches) can even go and watch a practice. Syracuse has had problems in recruiting and a lot of it is because the lack of success. If you’re not going to bowl games it’s going to be a hard sell for kids.”
Getting exposure is huge for a program, and Taylor says picking up a win over a rival recruiter can be big in a bowl game. We know that wins over Rutgers during the regular season carry weight – especially when SU travels on the road into the “State of Rutgers.”
As SU continues to expand its recruiting territory beyond the Northeast, it’s important to know which areas to hit. Taylor says target number one is a no-brainer:
“Southeast. Not even close. Florida and Georgia together, there’s just athletes, big kids. I mean you don’t have to leave Florida if you’re Miami, Florida or Florida State. You can get every kid you need in that Southeast. It’s just loaded. There’s not even a question to me.”
On the contrary, the hardest parts of the country to recruit, he says, are the ones with the lowest populations:
“It takes you a long time to get from one high school to another. You hit the big high school in one city, and then you’ve gotta fly or drive four hours to get somewhere else. Those are always tough – the one thing about Hawaii I will say is because there’s so many kids that you can get from Hawaii if you’re willing to spend the time in that state you can get kids to come out of there.”
I’ll be the first to sign up and help out on that recruiting trip.
A question that’s been brought up by our friend Brent Axe was whether it’s more beneficial for SU to lose in a BCS game or win a lesser bowl game. Taylor, again, says that shouldn’t even be an issue:
“Win the conference, go to a BCS Bowl no question. The Pinstripe Bowl is nice, but I don’t know if that carries as much weight as winning the conference and losing in the BCS. Getting to the big dance is a pretty good thing. I think kids and families can see that you’re close. To me the key things in recruiting are you’ve gotta beat your rivals, and you’ve gotta win your conference.”
Taylor is the Director of NCSA Football Recruiting, which helps pair high school football players with a college program. One current SU player, freshman Sean Hickey, used NCSA to help him get to Syracuse and an incoming player next year, Kristofer Curtis has used NCSA as well.
A bowl game appearance already will be huge for Syracuse, but a victory? That could bring a big time surge in recruiting, which hasn’t been around this program in years.
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Posted: Mike Couzens