Recruiting New York State has always been considered the cornerstone of Syracuse Orange football. Because we traditionally haven’t been able to get into places like Florida or Ohio or Texas, we’ve relied on local talent or at least made sure that any good player from the Empire State knows we’re interested. As recently as the Doug Marrone Era, especially with the MetLife series, that was considered a key to rebuilding the program.
In recent years we’ve seen a distinct shift away from that kind of thinking. Marrone started expanding SU’s recruiting reach into Florida, Georgia, and the Midwest but Scott Shafer’s staff took it to the next level. It’s how we’ve ended up with a quarterback from Oregon and skill players from the South. Dino Babers and his staff appear to be taking that approach and running with it. The days of region-focused recruiting are over.
I bring all this up because of something reader Chris V. mentioned this week in an email.
...with the injury to Omari Palmer, we do not have a single starter from New York State (even including the co-starters at positions like defensive end).
Clearly it's not a Babers thing since other than the true frosh playing at defensive end and in the backfield, all the starters are players recruited by Shafer. So a trend that has been under way for some time. But as a longtime Orange fan, I can't recall when we have never had a starter from NYS.
Before we jump to any conclusions we do need to note, as Chris has, that this is injury-related. Wayne Morgan would be in the mix as well if not for his injuries. Also, Cam MacPherson is listed as the starting tight end but the offense doesn’t usually take the field with a tight end to start so we’re holding him out as a technicality.
Even so, it reminds us that SU currently has 13 New York players on the roster, which sounds like a lot but is actually second to Florida and only slightly ahead of Georgia (10), Illinois (seven), New Jersey (seven), and Pennsylvania (seven).
Obviously, Syracuse is still looking to the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to fill it’s ranks, but it’s just another reminder that recruiting New York or recruiting the region is not the priority some have made it out to be. There are lots of ways to win and SU Football seems to have figured out that a larger scope is what works for them.