With his academics in line and his football career set to transition to the BCS-level, Syracuse signee and three-star athlete DeVante McFarlane is preparing to make an immediate impact as a freshman in 2012.
He played several positions at Half Hollow Hills West (Dix Hills, NY), but the staff at SU is still telling him that his initial shot com fall camp will be as a running back. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder prefers to run the ball from the tail-back spot, and he has been physically preparing himself for the role.
"I've just been training and working out, working on my speed," said McFarlane. "My trainer is a former NFL player, Jasen Isom, who is working to get back into the league. It's very tough because he puts it as if he is going to the Pro Bowl and he says I should train like I'm going to the NFL.
"It's cool to have somebody who's been there and knows what they're doing and knows how to make it at that level."
Isom, a former fullback in the league with the Saints and the 49ers, has been working with McFarlane since the early parts of 2012 – and the partnership has already enhanced the incoming freshman's game.
"I've been working with him for a couple of months and I definitely see results," said McFarlane. "I feel a lot quicker, I feel a lot stronger and I've been running track, too, so I've been working on my straight-line speed. "
But don't expect the results to show up in vitals, as the Orange's staff wants the versatile threat to maintain his current height and weight. For McFarlane, communication with the staff and the die-down from other coaches and the media now that his recruitment is over is something that has helped to increase his focus as his high school days come to a close.
"It's been a lot easier, I still get congratulated and asked what school I'm going to sometimes but I don't have as much people calling me – so it's cool," said McFarlane.
As for the next time he will see his future teammates, the in-state star will be on the sidelines at Saturday's annual spring game – possibly with fellow signees and several 2013 Syracuse targets. McFarlane has been in contact with some of the Class of 2012 in the meantime, including a player he may be competing with for playing time as early as next season.
"I've been talking with (running back) George Morris, (offensive lineman) Omari Palmer and me and (defensive back) Wayne Morgan have always been cool," he said. "We talk about how we can turn the program around, turn it up at the next level and training and stuff."
But after the trek north for the early look at the 2012 Orange, it will be back to work.
Said McFarlane, "I'm going to continue working out with Jasen until I leave and I want to talk to my recruiting coach (John Anselmo) to get the (SU) playbook so I can get ahead of the game."