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Syracuse Football & The New Jersey Worriment

As always, recruiting is a hot topic for Syracuse football. As the 2011 recruits prepare to suit up for the Orange and the 2012 recruits begin to make their (loosely-based) commitments, we have plenty of time to dissect everything we possibly can.

  • We get 2/3 star guys but what about the 4/5 star players?
  • How does any player from NY State not commit to the Orange?
  • We need to get more guys from Florida and Texas.
  • How come we don't get more guys from New Jersey?

It's that last one that's the topic of Rutgers blog On The Bank's recent piece. OTB references Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, who squandered the New Jersey recruiting base that predecessor Barry Alvarez built en route to turning the Badgers into a powerhouse. And OTB wonders if Doug Marrone is traveling the same kind of path.

It's true, the Orange have made very solid recruiting inroads during Marrone's tenure so far but they haven't been pulling in top NJ recruits yet. Jersey Boys Ross Krautman, Marquis Sprull and Zack Chibane weren't five-star recruits, however they've all been turned into key components for the Orange and all three have a good shot at some All-Big-East accolades soon.

And of SU's 16 recruits in the Class of 2012, we have more from Florida (3) than New Jersey (1). In spite of the success the Orange are having across the board, NJ does remain a bit of a mystery.

That said...

Sticking with the Bret Bielema comparison, the Wisconsin coach's career is not defined by whether or not he can pull in a 3-star recruit from South Amboy. After going through a "rough" period in which Bret "bottomed out" at 7-6 in 2008, he's since put together a 10-3 season ('09) and an 11-2 ('10) season that saw the Badgers split the Big Ten title and play in the Rose Bowl (meanwhile, Rutgers went 4-8 with a team loaded with NJ talent).

If our concern is whether or not Doug Marrone will "suffer" in the same way Bret Bielema has...may we all be so lucky.

As for OTB's shots at Cuse fans at the bottom of the article, he's absolutely right. We do have a bit of superiority complex. We do expect to live in a world where Syracuse beats Rutgers 56-3 every year, mostly because that's the world we grew up in. And if I were a Rutgers fan, I'd have a serious chip on my shoulder from everything that occurred between 1987 and 2002.

Maybe Doug Marrone doesn't have the NJ inroads that Greg Schiano does (I should hope, for Rutgers' sake). Maybe Douggers annoyed a lot of folks with The Purge of the last few seasons. Maybe it'll still be a couple years before the Orange really make a recruiting impact in the Garden State. But as far as I can tell, there's one thing and one thing only that tells me kids playing football in New Jersey will be coming around sooner or later.

1. Syracuse 31 - Rutgers 13 (2009)

2. Syracuse 13 - Rutger 10 (2010)