Ishaq Williams is a big deal. He's considered by many to be one of the top 2011 DE recruits in the nation and hands-down the top recruit in all of New York State. He has offer on the table from almost twenty top BCS programs. He is the rare football recruit that can almost likely go anywhere he wants and no one would turn down his services.
Williams says he is looking for "a good education, a good program, a place where I feel comfortable with the coaches, and a good environment." As such, he's whittled his list down to five schools that meet that criteria:
USC, Penn State, Notre Dame and Alabama...and Syracuse.
Look at that list. Look at the programs on it. And take note that Syracuse is not only among them, but has a reasonable shot. I wouldn't say the days of competing with Akron for recruits is over, but clearly we're heading in the right direction.
To be fair, the Orange do have a leg-up in this race. Both of Williams' parents are Syracuse graduates and they lived in Upstate NY until Ishaq was six.
That said, if Syracuse isn't 6-2 right now and Doug Marrone isn't doing Doug Marrone things behind the scenes, there's no way the Orange make the cut. Just not feasible.
While Ishaq said he isn't taking much credence in how each team performs during the season because all programs are due for good and bad seasons, Shaun said they are taking it into account. And while Notre Dame is struggling, Syracuse is thriving with a 6-2 record, including wins over West Virginia and Cincinnati.
"We think Coach Marrone is poised right now to really put Syracuse on the national map," [Ishaq's father] Shaun said. "He is really laying down the foundation for a winning program."
Ishaq could also possibly be the face of the program, the biggest prospect Marrone has landed since he arrived in upstate New York three years ago, and could lure fellow city standouts like Brandon Reddish of Fort Hamilton and Shaquell Jackson and Wayne Morgan of Erasmus Hall to Syracuse.
Ishaq went to a basketball game in the Dome last year to get a feel for the place. He plans an official visit to SU on December 11th. He's also going to visit Notre Dame and has already been to Penn State plenty of times.
Maybe it's a longshot, maybe not. But to back at the table with those aforementioned schools is a great sign. Now we just need to seal the deal. If the Orange keep winning, that might just do it.