FB : Winning formula: Marrone compiles best class off SU’s turnaround season

first_img Published on February 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm Comments One of a mass of Syracuse fans occupying the Yankee Stadium outfield’s lower deck, Siriki Diabate took in the scene of the Orange’s Pinstripe Bowl win Dec. 30. But for Diabate, it struck much closer to home.Syracuse topped Kansas State 36-34 in an instant classic inaugural Pinstripe Bowl. Diabate sat next to the Yankee Stadium scoreboard, relishing the Orange’s first bowl win since 2004.Looking down at the makeshift football field, Diabate — a two-star middle linebacker commit from Nassau Community College (N.Y.) — saw Doug Marrone. He saw himself. He saw the Bronx. He saw what embodies Syracuse’s 2011 recruiting class.He saw a full-circle winner — the same thing he sensed when he spoke with Marrone for the first time earlier in the year. Then Marrone, a graduate of Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx, sent a message to Diabate, also a graduate of Lehman.‘Marrone said the pressure is more on me now,’ Diabate said. ‘He said I am representing the whole Lehman tradition, and I better be on my ‘A’ game and do what I have to do to stay focused.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDiabate soaked in the words of a winner, from one Lehman alumnus to another. The winner’s mentality yielded Diabate’s choice to become a fellow alumnus with Marrone once again. This time at Syracuse.As Diabate sat in Yankee Stadium, Marrone’s mentality was on full display. It’s the winner’s mentality that has scored Marrone the Big East’s largest recruiting class — at 29 as of Tuesday. A deep class that has Scout.com’s East Regional Recruiting Manager Bob Lichtenfels salivating. Even if it is a recruiting class with only one four-star recruit and 14 three-star recruits.Depending on what transpires on Wednesday’s National Signing Day, Syracuse’s class could rank anywhere from third-best in the conference to second-worst, according to Scout.com. Compared to the Orange’s 15 three- or four-star recruits, Rutgers bests Syracuse with 18 commits of 24 holding at least a three-star ranking, including one five-star. Aside from the Scarlet Knights, Louisville has the next strongest class, with three four-star recruits, and then SU is in a congested Big East bunch with West Virginia (22) and Cincinnati (23), which each harbor a comparable number of three-star commits.Due to SU’s high number of commits, it has the Big East’s second-lowest average ranking per recruit at 2.55, only ahead of Connecticut.Still, Lichtenfels and others feel SU’s class is a winner because of the winning that led up to it.‘Winning cures a lot of things in recruiting,’ Lichtenfels said. ‘I love what Syracuse has done. They are bringing in some pretty productive kids.’It’s a winner’s mentality recruits believe in after Syracuse’s Pinstripe Bowl win to cap a turnaround 8-5 season. It’s a winner’s mentality Marrone, SU recruiting coordinator Greg Adkins and the rest of the SU staff is mandating out of the recruits SU ultimately signs.The talented trio coached by Bill Chaplick at Milford Academy — linebacker Myles Davis and wide receivers Dyshawn Davis and Jeremiah Kobena — come from a Milford program that has produced NFL running backs LeSean McCoy and Shonn Greene. All three originally signed with the 2010 SU recruiting class before going from their respective high schools for a postgraduate year with what would become Chaplick’s 11-1 Milford team. Myles Davis won’t be joining SU until 2012 because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.Safety Shutang Mungwa, out of national power Bergen Catholic in Oradell, N.J., will be bringing violent hits to Syracuse. Running back Adonis Ameen-Moore is a 5-foot-11, 230-pound running back who should get immediate playing time next year. He is a three-time Colorado state champion at Mullen High School, the same state champion that produced SU freshman quarterback Jonny Miller.The reason Ameen-Moore followed Miller to SU? Syracuse felt like home. The SU coaches acted the same in person as on the phone. Even when Ameen-Moore attended the Orange’s worst loss of the season, a 45-14 drubbing to Pittsburgh, Ameen-Moore said he felt the same constant. Not only does Marrone tell players the Marrone way to do things, he wins by it.‘Coach Marrone wins by that, he doesn’t just tell us that,’ Ameen-Moore said. ‘There is the same feeling (at Syracuse) I got from Mullen. We won three straight years. At Syracuse, Coach Marrone is about winning. And not doing it at any cost.’Back on the East Coast with Ashton Broyld and Terrel Hunt, Marrone landed two quarterbacks that directed their New York state teams to their furthest playoff runs in years. Hunt threw and ran for more than 1,000 yards for Christ the King in New York City, while Broyld torched teams in leading Rush-Henrietta to a Class AA State Championship and a 13-0 record.And in Brooklyn, Marrone hauled two players from the school that defeated Ishaq Williams in the New York City PSAL championship. Williams, of course, spurned SU for Notre Dame last month.On the same Yankee Stadium field Marrone and SU would win the Pinstripe Bowl 23 days later, Fort Hamilton three-star wide receiver Brandon Reddish and defensive tackle Ivan Foy churned out an 8-6 win against Williams. Reddish’s touchdown with 3:12 left in the game put Fort Hamilton on the board. After a successful two-point conversion, Foy and Reddish ended the season 13-0. Williams did not.And on that same Yankee Stadium field Marrone adores, the winners and the losers spoke about what it would mean for New York City’s winners to all go to SU, Lichtenfels said.‘When Ishaq was being recruited,’ Lichtenfels said, ‘Brandon Reddish, all those kids, talked about sticking together, going to Syracuse.’Diabate is a winner from New York City as well. But he wasn’t always one. Nassau Community College made him one after a run-of-the-mill career at Lehman. But at the junior college, Diabate said he became the type of player to expect nothing less than the ‘win, win, win’ attitude current SU assistant John Anselmo once instilled as the program’s head coach.Diabate only lost twice in two years alongside wide receiver Defarrel Davis, the gem of SU’s class who Lichtenfels says may become the best playmaker in the Big East. And he sees the same thing at SU, especially after its latest accomplishment.‘I never expected SU to play that well with a Big 12 team,’ Diabate said. ‘What’s the point of going anywhere else when you can stay at home?’Chaplick realized SU’s new true winner’s mentality when he was one of a mass as well. It enabled the Milford head coach to entrust the trio he fostered, the winners he created this past year, to officially sign on the dotted line with Marrone.At Marrone’s first summer camp as SU head coach in 2009, Chaplick was there checking up on former players Anthony Perkins, Adam Rosner and Mikhail Marinovich. He could see it. The step was back in their walk. They were acting like winners again, even if they would lose more than win in the ensuing 2009 season.Chaplick saw the start. By speaking with Marrone and scanning the scene around the program, the feelings Chaplick used to get when lining up for Boston College against Syracuse legend Art Monk were rekindled.Chaplick could send his winners to Syracuse once again. And his winners never wavered on their commitment to Marrone. Even if more than 200 college coaches flooded Chaplick’s practices this past season. If they didn’t want to go to Syracuse, they didn’t have to.Chaplick sensed that in the middle of that mass, Marrone is the epitome of a winner. And this year, after that Pinstripe Bowl win, Chaplick’s thoughts were validated.‘Seeing how players reacted to him and what they said as they walked by him — impressive to me,’ Chaplick said. ‘Winning is expected at Milford Academy. They aren’t used to walking in to losing.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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