Punxsutawney Phil saw more than just his shadow Wednesday. He also saw the future of SU football, as Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone announced the addition of 27 new recruits on National Signing Day.
Eleven of those recruits are New York natives, a statistic that Marrone was happy with as he tries to get Syracuse back into traditional recruiting areas.
“Our goal as a football staff coming in was to get back to that foundation that made this football program great,” Marrone said. “We specifically targeted those areas, with certain coaches, to go in and I think we did a good job.
“Obviously, for us, it started downstate. I think it makes the most sense. I played in New York City, and I represented the state of New York by choosing to play at Syracuse University. It worked out pretty darn good for me.”
All told, the Orange signed six defensive backs, five offensive linemen, and three each of defensive linemen, linebackers and wide receivers. The Orange also signed two each of running backs, quarterbacks, and specialists, and one tight end. However, Marrone was quick to point at the versatility of this group and that positions are not set in stone.
“We always talk about speed first, that’s the number one thing we want to make sure we can bring into our program,” Marrone said. “The second thing that we were looking for is we want to get a bigger team, we want to get more range.”
“That’s what’s great about the players we bring into Syracuse. We’re upfront with them, they understand that this is the position they’d like to excel in but (they say) ‘Coach, whatever position will help our team win, that’s what I want to play.’”
According to ESPN.com, the Orange’s highest rated player is tight end Louie Addazio out of Buchholz HS in Gainesville, Florida. Addazio is listed as a three-star recruit by ESPN, but only a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com. He may be a bit of a wildcard, as he was limited to two games during his senior year before missing the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
Other notable signees by the Orange include linebacker Cameron Lynch, quarterback Ashton Broyld, and wide receiver Brandon Reddish. All three athletes were tabbed as three-star recruits by ESPN, Rivals.com and Scout.com, and had multiple offers from various BCS programs.
Broyles could bring a dual-threat ability to the SU backfield after passing for 1,961 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushing for 1,540 yards and another 24 touchdowns as a senior. He was the New York State Class AA Player of the Year.
Reddish is another New York native, and one of those versatile players that Marrone loves. He finished his senior season with 593 yards rushing, 323 yards receiving, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Lynch, meanwhile, could fill a hole immediately for the Orange with the departure of Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith. He was rated No. 41 at his position by Rivals.com, and earned 2010 AAAAA First Team All-State honors after recording 188 tackles – including a team-record 18.5 sacks – and five interceptions as a senior.
“In terms of Cameron Lynch, you just have to turn the film on,” recruiting coordinator Greg Adkins said. “Whether he’s 5’10” or 6’2” we offered him a scholarship because, like coach (Marrone) said, our staff evaluated him and thought he’d help our football team.”
For the record, Lynch is listed at 5’11” and 220 pounds.
Overall, Scout.com had the Orange listed as the No. 49 recruiting class in the country. Despite finishing behind most other Big East schools in the standings, and losing out on a couple high-caliber recruits, Marrone said he is very pleased with the quality and caliber of players he and his staff were able to bring in.
“Our program isn’t for every player out there, they know that, and that’s how we recruit,” Marrone said. “We come right to the home, and we tell them that this transition from high school to college is going to be difficult. We tell them that our program has a lot of structure and a lot of discipline, and it may not be the right program for them.
“Every single player that we signed was a captain on their high school football team. I think that shows a lot about the respect they had from their peers at their high school, and it shows a lot about the type of character, again, that we’re bringing in.”