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SU Adds Jones & Garick: Why the JUCO Route is Perfect for the D-Line

The Syracuse defensive line is in desperate need of bodies, and Doug Marrone is looking at the JUCO route to help fill the need. SU‚Äôs recruiting class added two more names as the Orange reeled in Mark Garrick and Zian Jones from the California junior college ranks. They’ll be asked to step in right away and help¬†shape up a unit that loses Chandler Jones, Mikhail Marinovich and Torrey Ball.

Both Garick and Jones have tremendous size, and will likely see playing time next season. Picking up the commitment from Georgia’s Josh Manley¬†was also a big addition for the line.¬†Let‚Äôs break down Syracuse‚Äôs sudden West Coast flavor.

  • Zian Jones,¬†DT (West Los Angeles CC)

Jones stands 6’3” 325 lbs. Let that sink in for a moment. The difference he could make at nose guard with just his size is tantalizing. His coach Marguet Miller also praised his freakish athleticism when he chatted with The Fizz this week. 

“He has glaring size, of course, but has great athletic ability to go along with that. You can’t run at him because he is so big, and he’s able to go sideline to sideline to make tackles. He’s athletic enough that you couldn’t run away from him.”

In ten games this season, Jones recorded 4 sacks and 45 tackles, 15 of those for a loss. His most impressive stat? He runs a 4.8 40. He’s 325 pounds and runs under a 5. Amazing. The 3-star recruit brings the experience that is needed right now at the position. The advantages of his physical maturity and two years of experience already under his belt is welcomed by the coaching staff. Zian was set to visit San Diego State and Fresno State over the next few weeks, so it was crucial he commit to SU now.

  • Mark Garrick, DE (Sacramento CC)

‚ÄúGucci‚Äù Garrick is also a monster. At 6‚Äô4‚Äù 270 lbs., he’s already bigger than any of the other DE‚Äôs on the Syracuse roster. The South Carolina native wanted nothing more than to come back to the East Coast to play college ball.¬†Mark calls himself a ‚Äúrun-stopper,” but is also able to get to the quarterback. Garrick had 54 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in ten games this season. Mark has said he and Zian wanted to play together at Syracuse. Mission accomplished.

Some people may be concerned about having these two for only two years on the Hill. But the Orange needs quick fixes and experience on that line right now. This duo clearly has outstanding physical ability, and great football knowledge. Guys with their size are vital, even with their junior status. Deon Goggins didn’t play one snap his junior season, but don’t expect that to happen to these two. 

The Orange is also heavily pursuing JUCO DE Marcus Pierce-Brewster from San Francisco City College. MPB visited the Hill last weekend, but is also strong looks from Indiana, Oregon State, and Mississippi. The 6’4” 235 lbs. speedster was the Northern California DL MVP, and registered 62 tackles, 18.5 for a loss, and 8 sacks in ten games. Watch for the inside scoop on Marcus later this week on The Fizz.

These three could create a mammoth defensive line for the next two seasons. This may be why SU retracted its scholarship offer from Florida DT Yoshoub Timms last week. Fans should love bringing in JUCOs at a position like D-Line, where the physical maturity is so advantageous. Goggins was SU’s gateway out West. Now Garick and Jones could be huge for an improved D next season.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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