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The Fizz Ranks Syracuse’s Top-5 Impact Recruits in the Football Class of ’12

Doug Marrone’s 4th recruiting class¬†was an encouraging one for Syracuse fans.¬†A well-rounded¬†group of 22 recruits signed with the Orange, despite last year’s 5-game ¬†collapse which capped off¬†one of the worst decades¬†in Syracuse football history. Luckily, SU succeeded where many critics felt it couldn’t, and this crop has a little bit of everything. The Fizz¬†counts down the top 5 impact players of the ’12 class.

5)  Myles Hilliard/DT
Hilliard was¬†a late switch from Pitt¬†after his loyalty was shaken when Todd Graham left the Panthers. A nice win for Marrone, especially because he adds to a group of enormous depth to the defensive line. Hilliard is a talented space-creator, and will be asked to become a building-block for a front 7 that last lost significant pieces. Hilliard will get to join his buddy Micah Robinson on the line, helping to make space for guys like…

4)  James Washington/OLB
Washington grew up a Syracuse fan, and¬†told The Fizz on Signing Day¬†he’d asked his coach to contact the Orange at the beginning of the recruiting process. This explains his enthusiasm, and his 6’3″ 220-pound frame helps in getting to the quarterback. With a fresh D-line, Washington will hopefully elevate a good young linebacking corps elevate into an even more explosive unit. For the SU linebacker unit, the rich get richer.


3)  George Morris/RB
Few parts of last year’s offense executed regularly last year, but one that did was Antwon Bailey. Even if the passing game was out of sync (as was often the case), Bailey was a reliable backfield option and rushed for over 1,000 yards. Syracuse waves goodbye to AB, who leaves Prince-Tyson Gulley to continue his work. Bottom line, the Orange run-attack was starved for depth. Enter George Morris, the talented, quick running back from Georgia who said he’s “that running back that can do [whatever the coaching staff needs].”¬† GM will get touches next year, because quite frankly, he and PTG¬†are¬†the running game for the ‘Cuse.


2) Ron Thompson/TE
Sugar Bear Thompson has been on the Orange radar since the summer, when¬†Tyrone Wheatley began talking to the TE¬†and working his magic. Thompson enters an offense that just spotlighted Nick Provo for an impact season, so there’s the potential for big numbers at the position. At 6’4″ 220lbs, he’s also a valuable blocking tight end. ¬†The Sugar Bear is a sweet get for Marrone, deciding on SU over Michigan among others, and marking one of two 4-star recruits for the Dougie.


1)  Wayne Morgan/S
Morgan is the other 4-star. “Light’s Out”, as he calls himself, is an instinctive coverage man. Aside from what he’ll bring to a depleted secondary, he represents a bigger milestone for SU. Morgan was the best player in NYC, and chose the Orange over UConn. Syracuse was unable to reclaim New Jersey recruits after¬†the abrupt departure of Crazy Eyes Schiano, but SU can still lay claim to the 5 boroughs. Morgan should help immediately, and the Orange will need all the help it can get in the secondary. Morgan will hopefully act as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of opposing passing attacks.


The slide to end the year could have crippled most recruiting classes. But the SU staff deserves a lot of credit for piecing together a solid group in spite of the disappointing season. Nothing is guaranteed, but it appears SU took a big step toward building back the Orange program.


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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