In what hopefully becomes a trend for future SU football recruits, Georgia native Joseph (“Nasty Joe”) Scelfo tells The Fizz that he ‚Äúwas excited when (Syracuse) changed to the ACC,‚Äù and that he is more interested in SU now that the school is changing conferences.
The three-star offensive lineman says the impending move alters the way he thinks about SU ‚Äì in a very good way.
‚ÄúOne hundred percent it changes a lot. More games will be closer to my parents, and my family and friends here. They got Georgia Tech (on their schedule).‚Äù
Sure, it sounded cheesy when ACC commissioner John Swofford bragged about his conference spanning the entire East Coast, but that may already be serving as an advantage for SU.
The ACC doesn‚Äôt have the same quality of football as the SEC, but culturally it‚Äôs far more similar to the powerful Southeastern Conference than it is to the Big East. That will be proven over the next few years, when Syracuse successfully reaches further into southern recruiting hotbeds than it ever has before.
Doug Marrone and company now don‚Äôt have to jump through nearly as many hoops to convince a player to ‚Äúcome up north.‚Äù Heck, the coaching staff can tell southern prospects like Scelfo they’ll be continually returning to their home region for games and playing against kids they grew up with.
The Orange will be making trips every year to destinations like Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and Maryland. Some recruits may still be worried about living in the cold, but none will have to fret about actually playing in it. Syracuse‚Äôs new-look ACC schedule shouldn‚Äôt contain too many frigid-weather games besides a road contest against Boston College and Pitt every few seasons.
As for Scelfo, he has plenty of other reasons to be interested in the ‚ÄòCuse, too. His coach at¬†North Oconee High School already told The Fizz that SU Offensive Line Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Greg Adkins used to work at Georgia with Joseph‚Äôs father, Chris.
That connection and a visit from Adkins to see Joseph in person last spring sparked SU’s interest. A week after the visit, Syracuse offered Joseph a scholarship. The lineman says he maintains a solid relationship with Adkins, and has spoken with Marrone, as well.
‚ÄúCoach Marrone, I‚Äôve talked to him a few times, he‚Äôs a really good guy. We just have normal conversations, which is what I like. We talk about ball, and then we talk about what‚Äôs going on with my life and what‚Äôs going on with his.‚Äù
Scelfo still considers himself to be in the early stages of the recruiting process. He hasn‚Äôt narrowed down his choices too much yet.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs still wide open. I want to take my officials. I haven‚Äôt really set those up, but I‚Äôm pretty sure I‚Äôll be taking one to Syracuse. After my officials, then I‚Äôll make my decision after that. I don‚Äôt want to rush things, I want to make sure I‚Äôm 100 percent into a school.‚Äù
Rushing things is almost what the offensive lineman did, until a discussion with his parents changed his mindset.
‚ÄúI got caught up in it a little while earlier, and I was thinking I was going to make my decision, and then I sat down and talked with my parents. I decided I was just going to wait and take my officials and be smart about it.‚Äù
The 6-foot-2, 276 pounder plays offensive guard in for his high school squad, but is working before and after practices to develop as a center. That‚Äôs where he believes he‚Äôll thrive in college.
Looking at the tape, Scelfo‚Äôs size won‚Äôt blow you away, but his tenacity will. He makes it his personal mission to drive the player he‚Äôs blocking into the ground on every snap. Nearly every play, the kid he‚Äôs facing ends up on the turf.
Scelfo takes pride in the intensity he plays with.
‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs gotten me to where I am right now is playing hard, just playing relentless and not holding back. I play low, and that natural leverage helps me so much. I like my height. First of all it makes me play with a chip on my shoulder, and then it feels good when I get after somebody bigger than me.‚Äù
Though it was a family connection that gave the Orange a good chance to land Scelfo in the first place, maybe SU‚Äôs move to the ACC will seal the deal. Syracuse‚Äôs new conference could provide a huge boost in football recruiting down the road.
Winning in-state battles should still be priority number one for Syracuse, but if the conference switch at least puts the program on the map of a whole new crop of southern recruits, that can‚Äôt be a bad thing.
Posted: Andrew Kanell