2011 Empire Challenge: Syracuse Recruit Impressions

I was able to catch almost all of last night's Empire Challenge between the New York City and Long Island All-Stars (for more on the game from Sean, click here).  Usually, High School football all-star games are pretty brutal to watch, but I was pretty entertained by what ended up being a very solid football game, even coming down to a last second 50+ yard field goal attempt that would've tied the game for the NYC, had they made it.

The most exciting thing, of course, was the chance to see four future Orangemen in action.

Quarterback Terrel Hunt split time with a few others under center, but put together a few impressive drives, including New York City's second touchdown which gave them a 14-10 lead in the third quarter.  Near the goal line, Hunt rolled right and made a perfect throw to a pretty well covered receiver in the endzone, where only his teammate could make the play. Perhaps Hunt's best throw, however, was unfortunately dropped.  Later in the game, he rolled left on a 4th-and-11 and made a perfect throw across his body to a receiver about 15 yards down the field, which would have been plenty for the first had the receiver hauled it in.  Hunt showed good poise, and used his speed to keep the play alive more than just tucking the ball and running, which many athletic QBs get into the habit of doing.  He throws a really tight spiral and seemed to be very accurate.  

Brandon Reddish played exclusively at corner for New York.  While he was apparently burned for a touchdown before I turned the game on, he made some incredible pass breakups in the second half, and looked like a legit shutdown corner.  There has been a lot of debate over whether we should play him at receiver at SU, but it was easy to see why Marrone and Shafer like Reddish as a defensive back.

Ivan Foy probably had the most impressive game of any of the incoming SU freshmen.  He is a massive lineman, but showed really good footwork and quickness all night, as he was regularly asked to pull out.  On one play, a 58 yard run by NYC's Steve Browne, Foy threw a key block the helped spark the play on the outside.  Foy was one of the only players to play both ways, and was seen stuffing the middle all night.  He also had a sack in the second half.  

Lineman Ryan Sloan played for Long Island, but I couldn't find him anywhere.  I'm not sure if, and how much he got it, but as an offensive lineman he could've just gone without being mentioned.

Many remember the 2010 edition of this game as Jay Bromley's coming out party, which eventually got him his first scholarship offers.  While I'm not sure if we'll hit the same jackpot two years in a row, there were a few interesting players on the field.  Long time SU recruit Wayne Williams played on the defensive line for NYC and looked really good.  Grades seem to be the issue with him, but if those get squared away I think we would offer.  Two other players who seem to be available, and were very impressive were Raheem Stroud and Donavon Abreu (who is attending Nassau CC next year). Both were a bit undersized, but had tremendous games.

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