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George McDonald’s Southern Florida Recruits Could Shape Syracuse’s Future

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Last month Syracuse received verbal commitments from offensive lineman Sam Clausman and Colin Byrne. Both play for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Neither Clausman nor Byrne had visited Syracuse before George McDonald convinced them to pick the Orange. This past weekend Clausman made his first ever trip up to The Hill and, judging by his Twitter account, he loved every minute of his visit. Clausman’s successful stay could be extremely important for the Orange moving forward.

McDonald is also interested in Clausman and Byrde’s St. Thomas Aquinas teammates Wyatt Ray and Christopher Hart. Ray and Hart both play outside linebacker and have 3-star ratings from 

Ray is much more likely than Hart to land with the Orange. Other than SU, Ray has offers from seven other schools, including Boston College, Cincinnati and Wake Forest. The 6’3″, 230-pound linebacker also plays defensive end for St. Thomas Aquinas. His hybrid status would make him a work in progress at Syracuse because of his lack of size and experience at a single position. At his current weight, he could not play defensive end for SU and would need time to either bulk up or work to learn what it takes to play outside linebacker in the ACC.

If Hart committed he would be one of the top two players in the class next to running back Dontae Strickland, who pledged Orange this weekend. Hart has 17 total offers but only one from a school  with a more recently successful football program than Syracuse (Wisconsin). Alabama and Miami are also interested in Hart but have not yet officially offered. SU’s current crop of linebackers is the strong point of the team’s defense.

Between George McDonald’s solid recruiting methods and Clausman’s enthusiasm for SU, the position could remain strong for years to come if Ray and Hart pick Syracuse.

St. Thomas Aquinas High School is rated by as the fourth-best high school team in the nation for the 2014 fall season. Any player deemed good enough to play ACC football that comes from this program is an excellent addition to Scott Shafer’s team.

Posted by: Connor Morrissette

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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