Florida Remains A Key Pipeline for Syracuse

Despite the loss of George McDonald from the Syracuse football coaching staff, Syracuse continues to make recruiting Florida a priority. Head coach Scott Shafer describes the shifted responsibilities of his staff to maintain their Sunshine State success.

When George McDonald left Syracuse football after last season to become the wide receivers coach at NC State, the large question was how would the Orange move forward with recruiting in Florida? McDonald came to Syracuse with a reputation as a big time recruiter in the talent-rich state.

He had connections all over the state, specifically in the Miami area and surrounding counties. That led to Syracuse landing such players as Steve Ishmael, Brisly Estime, Antwan Cordy and many others.

In 2016 and beyond, Syracuse is not moving on from Florida. Rather they are shifting their assistants’ responsibilities to make sure Syracuse remains a solid recruiting force in the Sunshine State.

”We do have Bobby Acosta down in Dade (county) right now,” head coach Scott Shafer said. “Joe Adam is down in West Palm and Lauderdale. Jake Moreland and Tim Daoust have the Tampa and Orlando area. We’ll go wherever there’s interest in a legitimate target that we think we can have a shot at for various reasons. Like a former coach moved to this area and we have a good relationship with him. Or there’s a kid from a high school that we had five or ten years ago and he’s coaching there now and has a player.

”We kind of look at it that way. The biggest thing is, you’re never going to have a hot pocket all the time. Coaches come and go. Assistant coaches are on the move so you have to readjust your plan with the strength of the guys in house. Also the relationships I’ve had with coaches all these years in different pockets. That’s how we approach it. Bobby is going to be down in Dade, so that’s going to be the one change.”

That Army of coaches recruiting Florida for Syracuse is filled with young, energetic and enthusiastic coaches with whom players can easily relate. Those attributes, along with their reputations as being strong recruiters, should allow Syracuse continued success in the state.

”I think a good recruiter can recruit about anywhere,” Shafer said. “It does start with the relationships. Twenty years ago it was the relationships with the head coach. Now it’s more the kid and his family. More times than not I could see a head coach fostering the environment that he’s going to give you a chance to recruit a kid because you were consistent with your recruiting coach when he didn’t have a player. And you rejected him and were honest with the coach. I think consistency is the big thing.

”That’s what we have with this group and this staff. You've got guys of high character that are consistent with their work ethic. They keep going back and knocking on that same door. Even though maybe they’ve been told no in the past or we’ve told them no in the past. The consistency of coming in and out of that door year in and year out is something that I think is important in building that relationship with the coach. Once the coach gives his blessing to recruit a young man, then it’s about the relationship with the player and his family.”

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