And as our coverage has revealed, while it’s impossible to turn The Little Engine that Could into The Little Engine That Did overnight, Doug Marrone has made it pretty darn far up the mountain already.
He’s made progress, first and foremost, on the field. Fans can grumble and groan all they want about Syracuse football’s 1-3 November, which prevented a possible January bowl game. But think about what the program will be able to do with the month of December. The Orange is still going bowling for the first time since 2004.
Plus, the future of the SU football continues to look brighter everyday. Marrone and his staff are connecting with recruits the way Greg Robinson never could.
Take a look at what Rob Trudo told The Fizz back in October after he verbally committed.
“I believe in what Coach Marrone is trying to do, turning Syracuse into a winning program. The undergrads there, the freshmen and sophomores, I spent some time with them over the weekend. They believe that too. I just wanted to be a part of something special.”
Trudo’s high school coach was really impressed with the staff, too.
“From day one, I got a really good vibe from [linebackers coach Dan Conley] and the staff up there.”
Those good vibes have landed the Orange some talented players so far, but nobody jaw-dropping.
At least not yet. There is, however, one player on Syracuse’s radar (more importantly, he has SU on his radar), whose signing would send jaws to the floor, and give the Orange train a significant jolt.
His name is Ishaq Williams of Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, and he’s an elite defensive end and tight end prospect.
This is a kid who would normally be out of SU’s range. He’s the top player in the state of New York, and he’s also considering Notre Dame, USC, Penn State, Miami and Alabama. That’s stiff competition for a Big East school that’s in rebuilding mode.
So why would Williams even be considering the Orange when his other offers have a combined 163 National Championships between them? Well, there’s always the carrot of early playing time. But how about this gift from the wild card gods: Williams’ parents are both SU alums.
By the looks of a recent New York Post report, Syracuse is more than just a bone the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder is throwing his folks. Marrone and his staff have left enough of an impression on Williams that SU has made his narrowed down list of three favorites. The other two schools on the list are Penn State and Notre Dame.
Marrone’s lengthy December to-do list The Fizz wrote about actually began with Williams. The coach visited with the recruit and his family at their Brooklyn home Monday night. He’s the only college coach the Williamses have welcomed into their home so far. Williams is also set to visit the SU campus December 11, in-between trips to South Bend and Happy Valley.
Another thing ‘Cuse fans should be encouraged to hear is that the senior DE/TE is looking to be persuaded by his campus visits. That’s because other players who have visited SU this year have come away extremely impressed.
“The [official campus visits] are very important. I feel like when I go to the school and I get that feeling, I’ll know. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’ll feel comfortable with that school.”
And that school has as good of a chance of being Syracuse as any other.
Posted: Andrew Kanell