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See Ya in the ACC: Longshot Syracuse Recruit Gnonkonde Picks UNC


(Update: 10:46a. Junior Gnonkonde committed to North Carolina Sunday night.

Gnonkonde was Georgia Tech’s first commitment for 2012, pledging to the Yellow Jackets last February. But two weeks ago, Gnonkonde said coach Paul Johnson withdrew his scholarship because his test scores were too low.

Gnonkonde then became a hot commodity, picking up a half-dozen offers, including one from Syracuse. He will sign with UNC Wednesday and expects to be eligible for next season.)

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Syracuse is targeting 3-star DE Junior Gnonkonde just days before Signing Day, after he scored too low for Georgia Tech.¬†JG has¬†been showered with offers from UCF, UNC, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, and Wake Forest as well ¬†Florida seemed interested in offering Gnonkonde, but hasn’t made a move on him due to a full boat of 25 recruits¬†the school has¬†committed scholarships to. Nonetheless, Gators coach Will Muschamp told Gnonkonde’s AD John White that there may be room for him come Signing Day. White is remaining optimistic.

“They love him, but they’ve got 25 guys they think they’re going to sign next week. However, three or four could fall through on Signing Day. If so, it could open up a spot for Gnonkonde.”

SU faces stout competition for the Africa native.¬†In addition to the most recent outpouring of offers, Syracuse would have to¬†beat out¬†an existing scholarship from Ole Miss. However, his chances of coming north are already slim according to White, who also happens to be his legal guardian.¬†After GT withdrew its offer, coach Paul Johnson called UCF coach George O’Leary personally to get him an offer. That may explain why White feels that Junior is leaning towards the Knights.

“I would think he would sign with Central Florida,” White said. “But I am not sure if his first choice isn’t North Carolina.”

With a smorgasbord of offers to big time programs facing him, Gnonkonde would be a late-decision gem for Marrone if he decides to go Orange come Signing Day.¬† SU’s 2012 class is already defensively heavy, and adding Gnonkonde to the group would add to that. Gnonkonde would be exactly the type of¬†big defensive line talent¬†that¬†Marrone is looking for. Gnonkonde grew up playing of different sports and is still gaining football-specific experience, but he brings a lot of the physicality and talent required to be an effective pass-rusher.

It’s difficult for the Orange to market itself to guys who have garnered a lot of attention from dominant programs. If Florida comes through for Gnonkonde, White says “we might sign that [offer].” On the bright side, Gnonkonde reportedly spoke to a Syracuse assistant for 45 minutes at the airport on his way to visit Louisiana Tech.

Posted: Jake Moskowitz

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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