The Fizz caught up with Syracuse football recruiting coordinator Greg Adkins, who opened up about the current state of the Orange. You can check out the full episode on Fizz Radio.
Here are the top five revelations from our conversation:
- The priority is still the northeast
“What we’ve always said is that our philosophy is gonna be to work inside out. Within 300 miles of Syracuse University, and then wherever else we have to go to meet our needs for that particular recruiting class.”
That might not be earth-shattering, but it does lend insight into the foundation of Syracuse recruiting. SU wants to control its home territory, but is willing to search elsewhere for talent when necessary. One pseudo-revelation – Adkins didn’t specifically mention the state of New York, instead referencing 300 miles as a key distance. Meaning New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are all fair game.
- The 2013 recruiting class will be smaller than normal
“The bottom line is we don’t have many seniors on this team. So there isn’t going to be many scholarships for this particular class.”
According to Adkins, the coaches plan on handing out between 12 and 16 scholarships in the upcoming recruiting class (compared to 20+ in each of three prior ones). That’s not a bad thing. It means SU has as deep a roster as it’s had during the Doug Marrone era, with lots of veterans set to return next season. Recruiting classes go in cycles, and next class just happens to come in a year when the Orange doesn’t need as many reinforcements. If anything, it allows the coaches to be more selective about who they offer.
- SU doesn’t bank on transfers, but pushes hard when given the opportunity
“The two particular kids that are on our team, Funderburke and John Raymon, it was a process with them for a longer period of time then probably the public knows. We got involved with both of those kids fairly early once they decided to leave their universities. And it wasn’t until the very end that things worked out and we got ‘em here.”
It’s generally difficult for staffs to plan for transfers like Raymon. Adkins suggested that the program doesn’t leave open scholarship space specifically for transfers, but will pursue them when it makes sense. Just like he does with high school and JUCO athletes, Marrone identifies suitable transfers early in the process and acts quickly.
- SU coaches disregard the recruiting services (for the most part)
“We have an evaluation tool that we use here, per position. We’ve set a criteria for that position of what we’re looking for in that particular position. They get a score, and if their score ranks in the recruiting numbers that we’re looking for, then we’ll offer a scholarship whether no one’s offered or 20 people have offered him. It makes no difference whether they’re five-star, two-star, or four-star. We use our own service to evaluate our players.”
While we’re sure Adkins checks The Fizz every morning for his latest recruiting news, the staff under Marrone has traditionally been quick to shrug off the recruiting services.
Adkins did note that he scans recruiting websites to see what recruits have to say. Although the SU coaches rely on their own evaluation system, they can’t always get the perfect read on where a recruit’s head is at. The recruiting services also have extensive lists of players that Adkins said can come in handy as a preliminary tool.
- The Orange has consciously shifted its target area because of the move to the ACC
“Certainly with the move to the ACC, we’ve shifted a little bit. Maybe a little less out of the midwest and a little more down the eastern seaboard. We’ve been working that for about a year now. Even though we haven’t reaped the rewards of a kid from a North Carolina or really Virginia, so to speak, or a South Carolina, we’re making our inroads down through there, and maybe it’ll pay off in the near future for us.”
A reminder that Marrone is playing it smart. This philosophy shift makes sense. In the ACC, Syracuse will be playing schools along the east coast. There’s phenomenal talent in the south, and SU is looking to gain access by advertising frequent future road games within shouting distance of the southern players’ hometowns. Adkins said the biggest difference between recruiting ten years ago and the current landscape is that kids are infinitely more willing to go to school far from home. It all adds up to a growing Orange presence in the southeast.
Posted: Andrew Kanell