It’s not surprising new Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer¬†immediately started calling the Class of 2013 quarterbacks over the weekend.¬†Once Zach Allen broke the news he flipped from Syracuse to TCU, Shafer began a search party for another quarterback the Orange could target for the incoming class.
Fort Lauderdale, FL native John O‚ÄôKorn of St. Thomas Aquinas High was offered from Syracuse today. This marks the first official scholarship offer in the Scott Shafer era. With Allen now likely staying in Texas and some¬†strong uncertainty from commit Austin Wilson, Shafer had to pull the trigger on another quarterback. Shafer contacted O‚ÄôKorn first thing this week. O‚ÄôKorn tells¬†The Fizz¬†he‚Äôs blessed to receive yet another opportunity.
‚ÄúHe saw my film and wanted to offer me right away. I‚Äôm still committed to Houston but I‚Äôll look into it and still do my research and then maybe get on a visit if it‚Äôs something I want to take the next step in and check out.‚Äù
That‚Äôs the bad news. O‚ÄôKorn is already a Cougar commit. He gave his verbal in June. O‚ÄôKorn has a field of offers from North Carolina, UCF, USF, Wisconsin, Mississippi State, and Louisville. The three-star, 6‚Äô3‚Äù 210 lbs. QB is ranked the 31st¬†best pro-style quarterback in his class. At St. Thomas Aquinas, O‚ÄôKorn got it done both through the air and on the ground. He finished with 22 TDs to 4 INTs on 2,552 passing yards (completing 56% of his passes). He also rushed for 15 touchdowns and 576 yards, averaging 6 yards per carry. O‚ÄôKorn is arguably one the best quarterbacks available in state of Florida, a tremendous recruiting ground.
Why did Shafer target O‚ÄôKorn? There‚Äôs a Syracuse connection. O‚ÄôKorn‚Äôs head coach at St. Thomas Aquinas is Rocco Casullo, the son of former Syracuse assistant Bob Casullo. O‚ÄôKorn tells us this is what sparked the interest. Bob coached the Orange from 1985-’94, then rejoined the staff in ’09 as tight ends coach, special teams coordinator, and assistant head coach. Despite his Houston commitment, SU still decided to offer O‚ÄôKorn and ask to visit the Hill. O‚ÄôKorn tells The Fizz he‚Äôs thrilled for another offer coming his way and he‚Äôs well aware of how great an education Syracuse brings to the table:
‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs a blessing to get another opportunity to play at a great university, especially at Syracuse. Get a great degree. The academics there are second¬†to very few. It‚Äôs definitely something I‚Äôll have to consider.‚Äù¬†
His commitment lies with Houston but doesn‚Äôt mind getting a bunch of late attention with Signing Day three weeks away.
‚ÄúA lot of people will look at it stressed out. I‚Äôve been handling it well, looking at all the opportunities as a blessing. I‚Äôm just trying to take it day by day on the search. I‚Äôm trying to get to know all the coaches and gain a relationship there and take visits.‚Äù
The Fizz asked O‚ÄôKorn if he knew Zach Allen, the player who opened up this door for him.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve heard the name. I know the name just from talking with Coach Shafer. He pretty much told me that was the reason why he said that. They had to get a guy in that fits the system. With Signing Day only a few weeks away, they knew they wanted to offer me. The school has great facilities, I want to get to know Coach Shafer better, and see who they bring in as offensive coordinator. I‚Äôll definitely know then if I‚Äôd want to visit.‚Äù
O‚ÄôKorn‚Äôs pro-style qualities obviously attracted the program. Especially with its powerful running game, the Orange remains hopeful the offense can keep clicking. The hole at OC though, is complicating matters for everyone involved.¬†Syracuse better get a move on filling that void¬†if its wants a chance at O‚ÄôKorn. He tells The Fizz it‚Äôs the determining factor whether he visits CNY or not:
‚ÄúObviously I have to have a good relationship with the OC. Syracuse wasn‚Äôt really recruiting me until I guess today. I wasn‚Äôt being recruited by a different offensive coordinator from Syracuse. Whoever they bring in I‚Äôll have to try to get to know him and if I get along with him I‚Äôll try and make a visit out there.‚Äù
JO‚ÄôK says Shafer envisions him in an Orange uniform and the quarterback watched SU this season.
‚ÄúWe were just getting to know each other. He sees me as a guy that can throw the ball but can also tuck it and run when I need to to get out of trouble. Maybe run some design runs here and there just to pick up yardage and keep the defense guessing, so it‚Äôs something I‚Äôm definitely excited about. I watched Syracuse throughout the year with Ryan Nassib being an exciting player.”
Nassib‚Äôs performance down the stretch¬†not only grabbed the attention of college football fans, but SU recruits. O‚ÄôKorn worked his way to the starting job at Aquinas before his senior year, so he‚Äôs willing to compete for playing time. O‚ÄôKorn says he doesn‚Äôt perceive Syracuse any differently than Houston in terms of the timing of the offers. He even said SU could have an edge:
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt look at differently depending on when it was. It‚Äôs not going to change. I think actually, now that it‚Äôs later and it‚Äôs today, it helps Syracuse chances because if they had been recruiting me before and the whole coaching staff left… that would complicate things. I know I‚Äôm not going to have to deal with a new coaching staff coming in during my recruiting with Syracuse.‚Äù ¬†
The Fizz put O‚ÄôKorn on the spot. If National Signing Day was tomorrow, what‚Äôs it going to be John?
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Houston. I have three weeks and I‚Äôve been given some great opportunities. I‚Äôve committed to Houston for a lot of reasons and those reasons still stand today. I only go through this process once so I want to make the best decision.‚Äù ¬†
O‚ÄôKorn is the start of a long wish-list the SU coaching staff will go through in the next few weeks.¬†Rapid communication is vital for Shafer and company¬†in order to make a splash on Signing Day at QB. Austin Wilson is the only commit for next year under center, and we‚Äôll find out in a matter of weeks whether that number increases or decreases. Cross your fingers.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen