When Syracuse inks a recruit from Michigan, you can bet RB coach Tyrone Wheatley had something to do with it.
Class of 2011's Eric Crume and Kyle Foster and Class of 2012's Kyle Knapp all chose SU over programs like Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan and even mighty Akron because of Tyrone Wheatley.
Very often when Wheatley is on the recruiting trail in MI, he runs into Michigan RB coach Fred Jackson. Which is interesting because Jackson was Wheatley's coach when he was scoring touchdowns for the Wolverines back in the early 90's.
"It's great," Jackson said. "You don't realize the feeling to coach somebody and then watch them coach. Watching him coach makes me feel like something I did when I coached him was instilled in him, and I'm happy about that. He's always been very competitive, and he'll challenge you. He still does today. That's why he's Tyrone. It's a mutual respect.
The rivalry is professional and friendly, though Jackson is sure to remind Wheatley of his place:
"It makes a little bit (of difference), but that only gets you so far," he said. "It's not Tyrone Wheatley university, it's Syracuse University, so that only goes so far. But it helps. It only gets you in the door.
Perhaps so, but Wheatley's doing some solid work for the Orange so far. And as both he and Syracuse University improve, more Michigan recruits will follow.