When George McDonald left the Syracuse program after being demoted in the middle of last season, the incoming recruiting class experienced some immediate aftershocks. McDonald, who specialized in recruiting the South Florida area, clearly had a huge influence on the seniors that committed to play for SU. The Orange lost a handful of recruits heading into National Signing Day, and actually retained very few players from Southern Florida when all of the dust settled.
On Thursday, Syracuse announced that Jake Moreland, the recently hired tackles and tight ends coach, would take over recruiting the South Florida area. Shafer and Moreland coached together in the MAC, and he most recently coached at Air Force; not exactly South Florida territory. While Moreland certainly will not have the same pull that McDonald had, it is good to see that SU will still focus on a pipeline that provided the team with a ton of talent in the recent past.
When the Orange promoted Scott Shafer to head coach, many suspected that the coaching staff would shift its recruiting focus to the Midwest, because of Shafer’s roots in the area. While Syracuse has seen a slight increase in recruits from the Midwest, its biggest focus in the last couple months has definitely been in the Northeast. Syracuse made a huge push for players from New Jersey and it showed, as they just snagged some very talented players from Rutgers, Penn State, and Wisconsin, who are the dominant recruiters in the state.
Bobby Acosta, the Orange’s recruiting coordinator, reiterated that the team would continue to focus a majority of its recruiting efforts towards the Northeast, but would also continue to recruit from South Florida and the Midwest, despite McDonald’s departure from the team. Some of the team’s impact players for the upcoming season are from the South Florida area, like sophomore wide receiver Steve Ishmael.
Fans should keep an eye out for the recruits that visit the school during the team’s spring football game on April 4. The demographics of the visiting players will be a huge sign for the recruiting patterns that will develop in the post George McDonald era. If SU can continue to recruit well from South Florida, it will have three good areas to pull from for years to come.
Posted: Jason Weingold