Dontez Ford (Sto-Rox HS, McKees Rocks, PA) is one of the newest members of Syracuse’s 2012 recruiting class and his coach spoke with The Fizz about a player who has already chosen the Orange, and one who just may follow.
Ford (pictured left) joined Marrone’s Marauders during SU’s blazing start on the recruiting trail this month. He qualifies as another under the radar player the Orange has brought in, but by no stretch does that mean he lacks talent. Dontez simply has been overshadowed by a bigger name coming out of Sto-Rox this year, 4-star recruit Deaysean Rippy. Vikings HC Ron Butschle discussed with us the many great assets Ford will bring to the Hill in ’12.
“Dontez is a big physical player. He is 6-2. 200 lbs. and can run. Played wide receiver and free safety for me and has great ball skills.”
Ford was a second-team all-league selection last season and provided Sto-Rox a spark in the return game too. He’s a versatile player projected to play safety at SU, although his coach can see a position switch eventually. Although, no matter what position he ends up playing, Dontez will surely make an impact.
“He excelled on the both sides of the ball for me. Syracuse saw something in him that they liked for their defense. He loves contact and is very much defensive minded, and will fit in to any defense. He is going to start off as a safety, but might transition over to linebacker because of his size. He would be a fast linebacker if that does happen. Syracuse is getting a great athlete.”
Ford is also not your stereotypical jock. Ford’s academic prowess ultimately ended up bringing him to the ‘Cuse.
“A lot of him choosing Syracuse had to do with his visit to the campus. He loved the campus and felt it was all he needs socially, academically and for football. Coach Conley has a great relationship with him because of his roots with the Pittsburgh area and he was a big reason for Dontez being comfortable with Syracuse. Talking with coach Shafer really tipped the scales for him. The environmental engineering program is what really got him hooked, though. He wanted a school with an environmental engineering major, Syracuse has that and a good engineering school that he likes.”
Dontez didn’t receive a lot of hype from the big recruiting sites (ESPN, Scout and Rivals all gave him no stars) but that doesn’t bother him or Butschle.
“I don’t buy into that star system and Dontez doesn’t care about how many stars are to his name. I think why he isn’t as well-know on the (recruiting) sites is because he didn’t go to the combines. He is a hard worker and very driven. He doesn’t need to be motivated to work. Dontez will excel at the next level.”
One player who everyone is expecting to excel at the next level is Rippy, Ford’s 4-star teammate. Think of any powerhouse football program and Rippy (pictured right) most likely has an offer from them. His list includes Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida and others. The Orange is one team on that list and coach Butschle says Deaysean has yet to cross off SU’s name.
“Deaysean’s recruitment is still open. He has not come up with a list of top five yet and really still is considering every school that has offered him.”
Rippy is a monster on the field. He put up off the chart numbers last season with 85 tackles, 10 sacks and two interceptions as an outside linebacker. On offense he was just as impressive with 700 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Deaysean is the total package with sky-high potential.
“He is very similar to Dontez, but way bigger. He is just as fast and his speed sets him apart from any other outside linebacker. Unbelievable in space and makes havoc rushing off the end. Deaysean possesses great ball skills too. Also plays the Y receiver position for us on offense, which is a hybrid between a tight end and a wide receiver. Very shifty, finds open space and he is very very fast. He is real aggressive and has a lot of great football ahead of him.”
Rippy will take an unofficial visit up to Syracuse later this summer. Just like Ford, Butschle says that Dan Conley has a good relationship with DR and feels that SU would be a good fit for Deaysean.
“I think Syracuse is a great place for him personally. But hey, it’s up to him, it is his choice, not mine.”
Butschle says the Orange is absolutely still in the running for the outside linebacker, and that he will take time making his decision. As for what Deaysean is looking for in a school, his coach says he first has the find out what he wants to do. Academics are a role that Rippy has to consider.
“The advice I give all my players before they make a decision is to do their homework. Find out what they actually want to do. You can’t major in football at the end of the day and there is a life after football too. I don’t know what he wants to do. But what will help him make his decision is getting in contact with coaches and teammates and being comfortable with the people who he will be playing with. He is looking for a good relationship with the coaches. He needs to make a list of what he wants and talk to all the coaches.”
Sounds like everything is wide open for the moment. Adding Rippy to the mix in 2012 would be a gigantic addition and that big fish that Cuse fans have been looking for. SU is competing against the big boys once again, lets see if the can pull one out this time around.
Posted: Dave Van Moffaert