Running back¬†Laray Smith landed on The Fizz radar back in April as a top New York prospect, and the explosive Brooklyn running back favors Syracuse to land him. Smith visited the Hill last weekend and says Doug Marrone’s squad has the edge right now. The 6‚Äô1″ 185 lb. speedster has gotten offers from 7 schools, but has indicated SU, UConn, and Tennessee make up his top three. However, Smith says an offer from top program Oregon is on the way, which could put Syracuse out of the running.
An all-purpose running back, Laray put together a phenomenal junior season, rushing for 993 yards with a crazy 7 yards per carry average. He‚Äôll be a senior at Xaverian HS and serves as a team captain. Another compelling piece of his resume is a well-earned spot at the USATF Junior Olympics. The Orange, as well has the Huskies and Volunteers, have offered Smith the opportunity to run track in the off-season during his college tenure.
But here come the Ducks. Smith believes an offer is ‚Äúreal close‚Äù from Oregon. He had the chance to speak with some of the track staff after he earned All-American honors at the Junior Olympics. Smith said it wouldn‚Äôt be accurate to say Oregon is his leading candidate if an offer does come his way. But this should have SU’s staff worried. Oregon is consistently a top program in the nation, and famously has some of the top facilities in the nation. SU will have to play a strong hand, including¬†the ACC card, if the Ducks offer.
Marrone could¬†extend the pipeline¬†even further with the addition of Smith. It was only fitting that Smith‚Äôs tour guides around campus were his childhood buddies Wayne Morgan and Alvin Cornelius. Getting a feel for the university obviously was the goal for Smith, and he told the NY Post that the local connection helped:
‚ÄúThey gave me good advice. They were able to show me a good time, show me around the school.‚Äù
Smith has admitted his fear of loneliness if he decides on Tennessee or potentially Oregon. It was a ‚Äúrelief‚Äù that he knew some guys at SU to direct his visit. He spoke to Nation of Orange¬†in late June about finding his comfort zone:
‚ÄúIt would make me feel a lot more comfortable to play with people I‚Äôve been playing with all my life. That‚Äôs a big factor because I wouldn‚Äôt mind going far to a school but I also want to feel comfortable. So if I was going to go to a school far away like Oregon or Tennessee, I would want to feel comfortable. Knowing Syracuse, I already feel comfortable and I haven‚Äôt even been there knowing half the kids.‚Äù
Laray went out of his way to¬†praise the new training facilities¬†and of course the reputable coaching staff at SU. But Chip Kelly and company are formulating an offer out of Oregon, one Smith may not be able to decline. The race has already started to land the speedy back, and the Orange better hurry before Smith becomes a Duck in an unreachable pond.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen