With a pair of rising seniors look to headline Syracuse football's receiving corps in 2012, there is plenty of inexperience an opportunity behind Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales. While returning players have the time and leg-up on incoming freshman, all three-star talent Alvin Cornelius is looking for is a chance.
He chose Syracuse just over one year ago and stayed true to the Orange throughout the process. Now, as he preps for his first season in Central New York, the Staten Island (N.Y.) Tottenville standout is learning how to enhance his talent with college workouts.
"Since signing day I've really been hanging out a little, trying to get these workouts in to get ready for Syracuse," he said. "They sent me a three-week workout plan and then I repeat it. I did that, my own workout and then they sent me another workout on May 21.
"I have to do that through June 29, so I'm on that now."
"I felt the muscles that the workouts were helping me with – like they had me doing dumbbell cleans," he continued. "I did them at school, but on the DVD they gave me it showed me the right way to do it and after doing it the right way I felt where it was supposed to work me out at."
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Cornelius says the results are already evident considering he's bigger, faster and stronger than he was during his senior season in which he registered 634 receiving yards, 272 rushing yards and 13 combined touchdowns. He added a half-dozen interceptions as a defensive back.
"I was doing a bunch of cardio before, like pull-ups, dips and pushups," he said. "When I got the Syracuse workout, it was a lot of bench and weights. So I'm able to do both. I'm going from a senior to a freshman, so I have to work harder."
While adding weight and speed is nice, the real tests and goals will be set upon arriving on the hill in July with the rest of the incoming players. Seeing early playing time is something the in-state prospect feels is attainable.
Said Cornelius, "All I have to do is keep working. My work ethic is just getting better and better and you never know – once I get on the field, it's working my way up the depth chart."
While the goals blend realism and chance, the wideout isn't in it alone. Syracuse has honed in on recruiting the New York City scene hard and the Class of 2012 was no different. Versatile defensive back Wayne Morgan, widely considered the headliner of the group, prepped at Erasmus Hall High in Brooklyn. The two have been checking in on each other before taking the next step from the city to Syracuse.
"Me and him text all the time about everything," Cornelius added. "He's been working out, I've been working out. He's on defense, I' m on offense.
"We plan on meeting up for some one-on-ones, so me and him can both head into Syracuse on a work ethic."
For Cornelius, the affiliation with fellow high schoolers in the area isn't limited to future teammates. He is putting on his recruiting hat with former Tottenville teammate and 2013 three-star running back target Augustus Edwards.
"Me and him actually live in the same building," he said. "I just tell him to take his time; you don't want to rush into it. But at the same time, you have to be sure at the end of everything you have to do what's the best for you.
"I'm not pressuring him but I'm trying to persuade him to come because I would love if he came to Syracuse with me. I grew up with him…"