FB : Syracuse’s move to ACC pays dividends for Orange on recruiting trail with 2012 class

first_img Published on February 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 Greg Adkins and Scott Shafer already had their feet in the door. On Sept. 18, they kicked the door wide open.With Syracuse’s acceptance into the Atlantic Coast Conference, the narrow inroads made by two of the Orange’s principle recruiters significantly widened. The ability of potential recruits to play in front of family and friends for ACC conference games only strengthened their pitch.‘Oh, yeah, I loved that idea,’ said James Washington, who signed an official letter of intent Wednesday to become part of SU’s 2012 class.Washington was one of five members in the 22-player class from southern states, due in part to the Orange’s impending move to the ACC. Syracuse inked three players from Georgia, where Adkins previously coached, and two from Florida, where Shafer has begun to dip his toes into the talent pool of late. Of those five, only one said the change of conference played no part in his decision to sign with SU.‘A move from a conference, obviously, that can open up some things for you,’ Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said during his press conference Wednesday. ‘Parents want to make sure they see their son play in just about every game, so that becomes a factor in some instances when you go into recruiting.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWashington, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker from Winter Park, Fla., said signing his letter of intent felt even better than he imagined. And the idea of playing in the ACC only made it sweeter.He believed the move to the ACC was likely a big draw for the other recruits Syracuse signed from Georgia and Florida as well.Josh Manley, a defensive end, and George Morris, a running back, both hail from Georgia. And Washington was joined by defensive back Julian Whigham from Florida.Washington’s thoughts on the ACC as a recruiting tool were echoed by John Garcia Jr., a publisher and recruiting analyst for Scout.com.‘A number of those guys have said that the ACC was, if not the No. 1 thing that lured them to Syracuse, it was close. It was up there,’ Garcia said. ‘… You talk about Adkins, that’s a nationally known recruiter from his days in the SEC, so there is your Georgia influence with guys like Josh Parris and George Morris as well.’Garcia feels Morris is likely the third-best prospect in SU’s class behind four-star standouts Ron Thompson, a tight end, and Wayne Morgan, a defensive back.Joining Morgan in the ranks of the SU secondary is Whigham, who was a standout safety at the powerhouse Dwyer High School in Florida. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Whigham is slightly undersized, but he had 10 interceptions during the 2011 season for Dwyer.Garcia said prior to the surprise signing of Morgan, Whigham was told he would be working at cornerback. But now that could be changing.Whigham’s mother, Wanda, said her son was already interested in Syracuse before the news that SU would be switching conferences. And when the move was finalized, it only made the deal better.‘Actually, I think he had an interest long before they made that change, but it’s definitely an exciting change for him,’ Wanda Whigham said.With the news coming suddenly only a few weeks into the semester, it provided a bit of a challenge for Marrone and his recruiting staff. Pitches had to be revised, targets re-evaluated and a strategy developed for the new pool of potential athletes.But in just a few short hours after the signing period began, Syracuse had put together arguably one of its best recruiting classes in Marrone’s tenure. And nearly one-fourth of that group came from the heart of ACC territory.‘We’re starting to see the benefits of our ability to have been down there since we’ve been here,’ Marrone said. ‘But now we’re in there a little bit harder, and we have a little bit more to sell at the end of the day. We have to sell the ACC, and that’s helped us quite a bit with those players.’[email protected]  Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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