National Signing Day is just hours away, and Doug Marrone still has a few recruiting battles outstanding. But one of those carries a bit more significance than the rest. New York City DB Wayne Morgan has been on SU‚Äôs radar for a long a time, and tomorrow¬†Morgan will either commit to Syracuse or Connecticut at 4p.
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“Light’s Out” says he likes the old school approach of both Doug Marrone and Paul Pasqualoni, but this is a battle The Dougie absolutely cannot afford to lose. Since Marrone‚Äôs arrival, Orange Nation has kept a keen eye on whether Syracuse could keep prime time recruits in New York to stay at home and play for the Orange. ¬†Morgan may not have the national profile of Ishaq Williams or Chad Kelly, but he is a difference maker. The defensive back from Brooklyn is listed as the number three prospect out of New York State by ESPNU.
It‚Äôs one thing to lose Williams to Notre Dame, or even Kelly to Clemson, but to lose Morgan to Coach P and UConn would be devastating. Syracuse’s success in the tri-state area has eroded at the same time Rutgers influence grew in New Jersey. But with¬†Crazy Eyes Schiano leaving the Scarlet Knights vulnerable,¬†Marrone has an opportunity to take control of that coveted New York pipeline for the Orange once again.
UConn presumably also sees an opportunity to increase its share of the New York market with Schiano gone. Coach P‚Äôs presence in Storrs has arguably turned the Huskies into SU’s biggest football rival. That rivalry extends to recruiting as well. ¬†The New York City recruiting wars will go a long way to determine the futures of Syracuse, UConn, and Rutgers. Morgan‚Äôs recruitment is the first post-Schiano battle of this war, and could set the tone for recruiting clashes down the line. ¬†
While scouting services debate whether Morgan will play corner or safety in college, there‚Äôs no denying he‚Äôs the type of explosive athlete the Orange need. According to Scout.com he stands at 5‚Äô11″, 191 lbs. with a 75-inch wingspan, a 35-inch vertical leap, and a 10.8 100-meter dash.
Losing an in-state athlete like that who has talked glowingly about playing at SU with his dawg Brandon Reddish would be damaging for Marrone. But losing him to Coach P and UConn would really hurt. This is different than Ishaq, Kelly or Jarron Jones. In those cases the Orange was the huge underdog battling national powers like Notre Dame and Clemson. This time SU is the favorite,¬†The Fizz‚Äôs own DVM has given Marrone a 70% chance of landing Morgan.¬†
Syracuse football recruiting will get a jolt from both the move to the ACC and Schiano‚Äôs departure from Rutgers, but losing Morgan at the eleventh hour to UConn would stunt some of that momentum. Marrone has the much coveted New York City recruiting victory within his grasp, and if he can hold off Coach P for one more day, he may get a firmer grip on the New York area for years to come.
Posted: Steve Neikam