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Syracuse Football: Recapping Scott Shafer's National Signing Day Press Conference

Let's talk about what Shafer talked about.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange head football coach Scott Shafer held a press conference on Wednesday at the Iocolano-Petty Football Wing, where he discussed National Signing Day and SU's 2015 recruiting class.

If you were unable to catch the live stream on, here's what you missed:

  • Shafer, on what he and his staff were looking for in recruits:

"One major objective we had, when all things were equal in the recruiting we wanted to find kids of intelligence. And we really scrutinized the transcripts and the test scores, and wanted to find a group of kids that would represent this program in a first-class fashion on the academic side of things...And, as always, we wanted to seek players of character."

Shafer noted that 25 recruits, including 23 that signed today, have GPA's over 3.0.

  • On Marquise Blair, the defensive back from Wooster, Ohio:
"He's long, he's got great athleticism, and he's like a Durell Eskridge body-type...He will strike you. I mean, he will strike you. He hits like safeties we need around here."
  • On the running backs -- Jordan Fredericks, Tyrone Perkins, and Dontae Strickland:
  • "All three of those kids have similar traits in that they play with great vision and they play all over the place on the field."
  • On the the recruiting process:
  • "When [recruits] make a decision and they're committed and they feel good about it, it's O.K. for a coach to call and say, 'Are you sure?'...And when a kid says 'yes,' let's let it go. Let's end it, like Coach Harbaugh did. Jim goes to Michigan. Jim's a very dear friend of mine whom I respect, and he was jumping all over Jake Pickard to see if Jake would jump...But when Jake came back home and decided he was going to stay with the 'Cuse, Jim wrote him a very nice text saying, 'Good luck. Best of luck with Coach Shafer.' That's the way it should be done. The others I won't mention, but it's just a doggone shame."

  • On players who decommitted, and reports that coaches weren't responding to them:
  • "I want to talk about the kids that have committed to Syracuse. Once again, when you guys jump on the phone and on the text with these kids and you're asking the kids questions, you're going to get the kid's side of the story. Our side of the story will be that we're going to try recruit the kids that best fit and reach the standards and expectations that we put out there for them. And when those standards fall short...we have to move in another direction."
  • On Jake Pickard, defensive lineman from Short Hills, New Jersey:
  • "I love his motor...There are times when his technique is absolutely horrendous. But his effort overcomes it. You can coach technique with a kid that has talent and has long arms like he does, but that effort, that high motor is something you can't."

    • On "kids of character":
    "It takes every kind of kid from every kind of background to put together a good football team...It doesn't mean we're not going to make a mistake every now and again, too. And then you fess up to it and you move forward. But I've been really pleased with the kids that have been in the program, and I really think this class is just going to continue to add to what type of kid we have here at Syracuse."

    Other notable parts of the press conference:

  • Shafer said quarterback Alin Edouard "came up short academically," but that mutual interest remains. Edouard is currently at Garden City Community College.
  • Shafer said he's excited about long snapper Matt Keller, and that long snappers are "invaluable," despite the lack of recognition they receive.
  • In addition to Pickard, Shafer raved about a number of his defensive line recruits, including Steven Clark, Tyler Cross, Amir Ealey, and Qaadir Sheppard.
  • The head coach said he doesn't expect the departure of George McDonald to significantly impact recruiting success in coming years, and that Syracuse will continue to recruit in South Florida.
  • Shafer called tight ends coach Bobby Acosta a "big asset" who has high energy and whose "respect factor" in New Jersey is huge.