When Scott Shafer was fired as head coach of the Syracuse Orange in November, emotions understandably ran high. A lot of high school recruits and young college players had put their faith in Shafer and his staff. Now that they were gone, was Syracuse still the place for them? Some wondered aloud if transferring was the right call and some expected a deluge of players leaving the program to play elsewhere.
Only, that didn't happen. A bunch of Shafer's recruits have de-committed but their spots have been filled by others. The current roster hasn't seen any turnover and in a short amount of time it seems as though everyone is coming to the conclusion that Syracuse Football is in a good place.
One current player who ran the gamut of emotions about what to do was Steven Clark. The sophomore defensive tackle saw a lot of action as a freshman, playing in all 12 games and recording 21 tackles. After considering whether or not to leave after Shafer's dismissal, Clark told The Arab (AL) Tribune he decided to make a "logical" decision to return and use his sophomore season as a way to feel out the new coaches as they get to know him.
Clark said he decided to make a "logical" decision rather than a rash one and is entering offseason workouts and spring drills with an open mind about new head coach Dino Babers and his staff.
"These are good coaches, smart coaches, and there’s no reason for me to rush out of here without giving them a chance," Clark said. "I’m not just going to leave. I want to make a logical decision."
"As of right now, I’m still at the ’Cuse."
Interestingly-enough, Clark does openly talk about how he would like the chance to transfer from Syracuse as a graduate student and play elsewhere.
"Ideally, I’d like to graduate from Syracuse in three years," he said. "I want to be a therapist and for that, I’d have to have a doctorate degree.
"So, I’d like to play at Syracuse for three years and then be a a graduate transfer to a place like UAB, where I could work on my degree and maybe play there a year for coach (Bill) Clark and be closer to my family and friends, so they can see me play.
That's the trade-off of the graduate transfer rule. Syracuse has accepted grad transfers from other schools (to varying degrees of success) so it has to be aware it can go the other way as well. Just don't think I've ever seen a player talk about so openly about it this early into their career before.
It also sounds like perhaps Clark was considering UAB as one of his destinations if he had decided to transfer from SU.
As Clark says himself, there's your plan and there's what actually happens. We've still got spring practice, fall practice and the 2016 season to get to. A lot can happen and a lot can change between now and then. For now, Syracuse should be happy to have Clark in the fold as his talent will be much-needed on that line.