The Orange defense needs playmakers desperately, and with less than a month to go before National Signing Day there’s a corner we should keep our eyes on: Illinois DB Anthony Standifer. He’s tall and lanky at 6’1”, 178 lbs. (Crete, IL). He committed to Sugar Bowl-winning Michigan in June, but decomitted in December. Syracuse has jumped into the mix and is reportedly pretty high on his list.
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To say the defensive backfield was a problem for this year’s SU football team is like suggesting Orange basketball is kinda deep. While Phillip Thomas was great, he may never suit up for Syracuse again. Shamarko Thomas was up and down thanks to injury. The other safeties stunk and the corners seemed lost. The Fizz believes the #1 target left is probably DB Wayne Morgan, the top player in NYC who should help the secondary in a big way.
Standifer is playing alongside Morgan at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl. He’s being recruited by both Scott Shafer and Fizz Favorite Tyrone Wheatley. With Wheat’s track record, the SU hopes have to be high on Standifer.
The Fizz hit the tape room and broke down the consensus 3-star recruit.
First and foremost his ball skills are tremendous. You always take highlight reels with a grain of salt, but you don’t nab 9 interceptions in your senior season without well-developed ball skills. Standifer does a tremendous job of high-pointing the football, and has an innate ability to wrestle the ball away. He’s also got great hands. Check out the one-handed interception in his YouTube video. He’s a natural at catching footballs.
His tackling ability is also terrific. It’s rare to see defensive players wrap up anymore, but Standifer does. SU’s tackling this year in the secondary was largely horrendous. On film the Illinois product wraps up and holds on for dear life. This is the approach all Orange DBs need to play with.
Standifer’s body still hasn’t filled out. A college weight room will help immensely and he should be around 190 lbs. before he ever suits up for college ball. But right now he would get dumptrucked by FBS running backs. Does he have enough power to make hard-hitting tackles? He doesn’t blow through ball carriers. He’s simply not big enough. Until he bulks up, he’ll bounce off guys.
Standifer’s technique also could be better. He’s a big corner at 6’1” and doesn’t sit down in his crouch/backpedal. The lower you sit, the better your balance. This leads to a better ability to change directions. On the first play of his video, Standifer gets burned but recovers to make an interception. The ball is thrown high and his speed allows him to catch up. At the next level, good quarterbacks and receivers are looking for that separation on every play. He has to stay closer to the receiver. But it’s hard to gauge if WRs get behind him often based just on his highlight reel.
With his outstanding ball skills and still-improving technique on the outside, a move to safety could do Standifer well. He’s great at reading the QB and would be able to use that to break on balls and create turnovers.
In talking with people at the All-American Bowl, they believe Morgan is the better prospect. A Fizz source also says there’s a better chance Morgan winds up in Orange than Sandifer. But SU could use all the secondary help possible and the Michigan product would be a solid get for HCDM and crew.
The Fizz has been in contact with Standifer and will have an update on his performance at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl. Also we’ll bring you any updates in his decision over the next few weeks. Read The Fizz all month long leading up to Fizzmas, National Signing Day on February 1st.
Posted: Craig Hoffman