The Syracuse Orange football program had opportunities to add depth at running back for the incoming 2013 recruiting class. Augustus Edwards and Laray Smith flirted with the idea of joining the Orange. But, in the end, neither ended up signing their National Letter of Intent with Syracuse, leaving the team with no running backs in their current recruiting class.
Tasked with the opportunity to train young minds and bodies at Syracuse, DeAndre Smith, appointed the new running backs coach by head coach Scott Shafer after the departure of Tyrone Wheatley, spoke on what happened with this year's class. "We made an attempt to try to get a couple kids and it just didn't work out for us," said Smith. "So what you do is you go back next year, where maybe next year you're gonna take one now you have to look at taking two."
"So, we'll go back, reevaluate, get the numbers where they need to be and then go from there," Smith continued.
As 19 names were read off on National Signing Day, Smith shared when his recruiting for the 2014 class begins. "Started today, might've even started yesterday," Smith remarked. "So, we'll have a full year to go ahead and do it, and we're gonna go out and try to recruit the best running backs in the country. So that's what I'm excited about, 'cause we'll definitely have something to show those guys, me personally, after we get through with this season coming up."
"And again, we're just shooting for the very best," Smith added. "That's just kinda what the university deserves and that's what we expect."
Despite not bringing in any new faces, Smith does have new options at the running back position, with DeVante McFarlane and George Morris, III, not being utilized a season ago, and Ashton Broyld used sparingly. "I know George [Morris,III] really well, recruiting him," Smith shared. "I sat down and spent a couple days with him when I was at Illinois, trying to recruit him coming out."
"Ashton [Broyld]...I know he's flirted with different positions," said Smith. "Great, young kid as well."
"What I'm looking for is those guys to keep getting better," Smith continued. "When they get better, the Jerome [Smith]'s of the world gets better, [Prince]-Tyson Gulley's of the world gets better, and we'll be a better unit, so to speak. So, I'm looking forward to all those guys competing. Looking for all of 'em [to] try to help us win some games next year."
Going more in-depth on what he knows of Broyld, Smith said two words, "Big athlete". He followed by saying, "Again, it's gonna be on the field somewhere. That's our job is to find out what he needs to do to be on the field and, again, it might be at quarterback, wildcat quarterback. Might be in the running back spot. Might be flexed out, catching the ball in the flat. He's that talented that we'll find somewhere for him to play."
When asked about the potential for McFarlane to remain at running back after being thought of for both offense and defense, Smith responded, "Yeah, they tested him so we'll kinda where we can, again if that man can help us, again we're gonna find some place for him to place for us. And, if it's at running back, great. I'm all for it 'cause he's a talented young man."
In a unique spot, Smith has been recruiting while his son, Ryan, has been recruitied. "He's going to Duke University," said Smith, with a smile. "So, happy for him. It's an exciting day for the family. So as a dad, been going through the same process with a lot of parents across the country."
"He was one of the first kids to get his [letter] in, so he followed directions really well," Smith expressed. "And, so it was a good day. It was a good day all the way around."