These are the final days in the recruitment of Robert Washington, and only he knows his decision. The dynamite running back from North Carolina says he has made up his mind, but hasn’t told anyone yet. We know the six finalists, and we know Syracuse is one of them. But is there really a chance he chooses the Orange over Alabama, Florida or Michigan? And if so, how much would that alter perception of the SU football program?
Let’s start with the first part: Yes, Syracuse has a chance. SU was the first finalist he named, his dad said the Orange was the front-runner a few weeks ago, and SU was one of the first offers he received. Say what you want about how down Orange recruiting has been, but the staff has really done a tremendous job on him. They’re in the hunt with national powers. After a 3-9 campaign and usually losing these types of battles before, SU is definitely the underdog. But there’s reason to optimism just getting this far.
We all know Shafer’s seat is warm. He’s coming off a dreadful season, the quarterback dilemma was a mess all year, the George McDonald saga was a bad look, and the guy that promoted/hired him has been fired. He need to impress a new set of eyes now. There’s no loyalty to a previous regime’s decision. One player doesn’t make a program. Washington is great, but he’s not going to put SU in the ACC title game.
But landing Washington would give every Shafer critic pause. Wait, they were able to pull that off? The Orange has swung and missed on landing big fish before this. If Shafer does what Marrone couldn’t? Then you have to at least wonder if he deserves another season beyond this – even if it’s a non-bowl campaign – just because he would have earned another recruiting class. It would also open up major eyes to other coaches and recruits, which could land more players SU usually loses out on.
It’s hard to put the future of a staff on one recruit. Even if Washington doesn’t sign with SU, Shafer can keep his job by simply winning games. But a week from now, we could have a different view of the head coach because of one simple announcement.