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Syracuse Football Notebook: Getting Caught Up

A few Syracuse football stories went unpublished over the weekend, but no worries we're catching you up!


Because of a busy weekend, TNIAAM missed a few Syracuse football stories that might peak your interest. Here's a quick rundown of what you might have missed...

Thursday, June 6: Syracuse coaches not shocked by running back Jerome Smith's medical redshirt

We have covered the fact that the Orange's leading rusher from last season, Smith, received a medical redshirt that will extended his eligibility through 2014-15 and what it may mean for his future.

What we didn't know about the NCAA's ruling were some of the details, which involved head coach Scott Shafer expecting this result.

"I was (expecting it)," Shafer said. "It seemed like a no-brainer to us. I think it was just matter of you don't file it until you get to that point. That worked out good."

Shafer offers scholarship to player that never played organized football in high school (say what?!?!?!)

A story that could drive the recruiting fans bonkers, SU offered a scholarship to Milford Academy recruit Connor Center on Wednesday, but gave him just a short amount of time to make a decision.

During a 15-minute phone conversation with Shafer around 11:30 Thursday morning, Center was told Syracuse would be interested in recruiting him for the Class of 2014, but the staff would have to move on with 2013 if he could not commit. There was a small chance a scholarship would be available in the coming weeks, Center said.

"It was the hardest decision of my life to choose not to commit," Center said. "I changed my mind probably five times last night whether I wanted to visit other places or commit to Syracuse."

Center, 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, played baseball in high school but has decided to play football in college. However, after being given the small time frame to make a decision, he decided, for now, to say no to Syracuse hoping a scholarship offer would still be there later down the road.

Friday, June 7: Former 4-star tight end Ron Thompson agreed to move to defensive end

Keeping with the trend of Syracuse players being unselfish, it was revealed Thompson saw the Orange's lack of depth on the defensive line in Spring practice, and having experience at the position, wanted to help out.

So Thompson and the coaches came together and their trains of thought were identical, their recognition of the necessary move was the same.

"I think Ron, sitting around watching practice and knowing that we had lost some defensive ends and stuff," Shafer said, "I think in his mind he said, 'Hey coach, you know I'll help anywhere you want. I like Coach Daoust.'"

Thompson, who is a Michigan native and was recruited by a handful of Big Ten schools that wanted him to play tight end, will be a big help according to defensive line coach Tim Daoust.

"I'm excited about what Ron Thompson brings to the table," Daoust said. "I know that's something everyone wants to talk about. Ron is a great kid. I loved him on high school film. I wanted to wrestle the offense over him coming out of high school but I was told not to talk to him on his recruiting visit because he wanted to play tight end, so I didn't."

Overall, however, Thompson could return to the tight end position before his playing time at SU is over. For now, the redshirt freshman will bring some needed depth to a defensive end crew featuring Micah Robinson and Robert Welsh.

Over the weekend: reporters, Michael Cohen and Nate Mink, headed to SUNY Maritime for one-day SU camp for high school juniors and seniors

The first take away was SU offering scholarships to two Class of 2015 recruits, tight end Chris Clark (no, not Christopher Clark) and defensive end Malachi Felder.

According to Cohen, both player were surprised about the early offers. But now that they're on Syracuse's radar what can we possibly expect of them?

Clark was particularly impressive during one-on-ones and 7-on-7 drills. His 6-foot-6-inch frame created mismatches all over the field, and he made a number of catches in traffic that showed a bit of athleticism to go along with his size.

Felder, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and 210 pounds, said he had no problem in one-on-one drills, beating anybody that lined up in front of him. His goal is to gain weight and muscle so he can play defensive end in college.

Meanwhile, we also learned coach Chuck Bullough can jump higher than coach Pat Perles.

quarterbacks coach Tim Lester insisted that the measurement on the handset came out in Perles' favor. When Lester admitted he was joking and Bullough had won in a landslide, riotous laughter ensured.

Oh, the fun of off-season stories.