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Syracuse Football: Recruiting in the Post-George McDonald Era

With George McDonald gone, changes have come to the Orange staff's recruiting philosophies. However, the importance of Florida has not changed.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Many people were surprised last summer by how early the Orange were landing commitments for the 2015 class, as they already held 12 commits by the end of June.

In an interview with Mike McAllister of, head coach Scott Shafer gave some insight into what happened in the last cycle and why the staff has decided to change things up.

"I did want to pump the breaks a little bit because I felt like we had so many commits so early last year, which I was very happy with all those kids, but there were some outstanding things going on that made me feel strong about slowing it down this year a little bit," Shafer said.

The Orange have changed to a more conservative approach. When they would have accepted a commitment from any target last year, regardless of where they stood on the staff's board, they have decided to target their recruits this year more selectively. A good example is the QB situation in the 2016 class. By not accepting an early pledge from a lower-tier QB, they have a situation developing in which Rex Culpepper, a 3-star QB out of Plant, Fla., may commit when he steps on campus to visit this Tuesday with his teammate Scoop Bradshaw.

The Orange currently hold three commitments -- from running back Robert Washington, offensive lineman Cam DeGeorge and wide receiver Sadiq Palmer. Whether this strategy will pay off has yet to be seen, but with eight months until signing day, time is certainly on the Orange's side.


While certain philosophies have changed since McDonald moved on, one thing they are certainly not backing out of is recruiting from Florida, where McDonald has landed impact recruits like Steve Ishmael, Brisly Estime, and Alin Edouard (spite his predicament).

They have assigned different territories in the state amongst the assistant coaches. "We do have Bobby Acosta down in Dade (county) right now," head coach Scott Shafer said in an interview with Mike McAllister of "Joe Adam is down in West Palm and Lauderdale. Jake Moreland and Tim Daoust have the Tampa and Orlando area."

He also stated that the strong character and enthusiasm of the Orange assistant coaches should allow them to have consistent success in the Sunshine State and should allow them the ability to recruit anywhere in the country they may find a good player.