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Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday for Football


No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
Aug 15, 2011
Welcome to First Contact Day!

On April 5, 2063, the first contact between humans and aliens took place, when the Vulcan ship T'Plana-Hath landed in Bozeman, Montana. It had been tracking the warp signature of the Phoenix, the first human ship to reach warp drive speeds—a speed created by its pilot, Dr. Zefram Cochrane. A Vulcan disembarked from the T'Plana-Hath and greeted Dr. Cochrane with a split-fingered Vulcan salute and the words, "Live long and prosper." This meeting set the groundwork for the United Federation of Planets to eventually be created. The meeting was documented in the film Star Trek: First Contact, which was released in 1996. Since the release of the film, Star Trek fans—known as Trekkies (or Trekkers)—have embraced the day. April 5 was the day of first contact because one of the screenwriters of Star Trek: First Contact, Ronald D. Moore, made it the same day as his oldest son's birthday.

SU News


Syracuse football earns commitment from transfer linebacker Khalib Gilmore (PS; Leiker)

Though there’s still about a month before the NCAA transfer portal reopens May 1 for its second window, Syracuse football has earned a verbal commitment from linebacker Khalib Gilmore.

Gilmore spent four seasons at University of West Florida from 2019-22. He appeared in six games last season with the Argonauts, recording 17 total tackles, one sack, three quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.

Gilmore (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) is originally from Melbourne, Florida.

Orange Family let’s be GREAT#Cuse #JuicedUp #TheMOB
— Khalib Gilmore (@khalibg_) April 4, 2023

Syracuse’s linebacking room was slimmed to the point of running a different defensive scheme by the Orange’s bowl appearance due to injury. The majority of the group is still sidelined or wearing green jerseys this spring with those injuries.
... (SI; McAllister)

Syracuse football has landed another transfer as West Florida linebacker Khalib Gilmore committed to the Orange following an official visit over the weekend, he announced on social media. Gilmore is listed at 6-4, 225 pounds. He picked Syracuse over Temple, Marshall, Georgia State, South Florida, Florida Atlantic and others. Gilmore has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

"Loved how big coach Babers and everyone is one family," Gilmore said. "They didn't official offer me until I came up but once I came they treated my family and I like their own. Also love the 3-3-5."

During the 2022 season, Gilmore missed several games due to injury. He did rack up 40 tackles, three tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in six games.

Gilmore is the seventh player to join Syracuse from the transfer portal this offseason. He joins defensive back Jayden Bellamy (Notre Dame), long snapper Tom Callahan (Fordham), defensive back Jaeden Gould (Nebraska), defensive tackle Braylen Ingraham (Alabama), offensive lineman Joe More (Richmond) and punter Jack Stonehouse (Missouri). The Orange has also lost several players to the portal include safety Ja'Had Carter, cornerback Duce Chestnut, wide receiver Dom Foster, defensive lineman Josh Hough, wide receiver Courtney Jackson, defensive lineman Steve Linton, offensive lineman Tyler Magnuson, wide receiver Anthony Queeley and offensive lineman Chad Schuster.

benjamin-rinfret-racette-visit.jpg (SI; McAllister)

Class of 2026 Canadian offensive lineman Benjamin Rinfret-Racette spent part of his weekend on the Syracuse campus getting a closer look at the Orange.

"Visiting Syracuse was an absolutely amazing experience," Rinfret-Racette said. "I feel very grateful to have received this opportunity. During the visit, I got to watch scrimmage, visit the facilities, meet coach Babers, have a meeting with coach Steve Farmer and have a photoshoot. My favorite part about the visit was the practice because I got to see how intense and skillful NCAA football really is."

The meeting with offensive line coach Steve Farmer was memorable.

"My meeting with coach Farmer went very well and was very interesting," Rinfret-Racette said. "We talked a bit about his experience, about the Syracuse lineup currently, their offensive system, why it's great for getting recruited to go pro and what coach Farmer looks for when recruiting future o-lines. My main takeaway from the meeting was that I can strongly identify to the play style Syracuse currently uses because it is very similar to the one I play in my program. I also understood that to be a good o-line you don't only need to have good size and strength. Your football IQ is as much or even more important."
... (SI; McAllister)

Syracuse football hosted 2026 Canadian wide receiver Rayene Chiha for an unofficial visit over the weekend.

"It was a great visit," Chiha said. "I had the opportunity to meet coaches from the Syracuse team, watch the players practice and they have a great staff that gave us their time to give us a tour of the sports facilities and more. The best part was that I had a chance to get coached by the coaches. They're really good with their words and I got to learn a lot from them. They also gave me a closer look at their program. I loved it."

During the visit, Chiha's meetings with the Orange coaches was especially memorably.

"Basically I had a meeting with the head coach and receivers coach," Chiha said. "They were talking about their career and how they coach their players. The receivers coach taught me a lot about the position, the steps he tells his players and the way he makes them better. He made me realize that to be part of the roster there's certain things that you have to learn about to be the better players. They're amazing coaches and I'm most certainly happy that I got to learn from the best."

2024 RB Cole Tabb discusses Syracuse offer (; Finneral)

2024 running back Cole Tabb is an impressive prospect from Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Tabb was pleased when he picked up an offer from Syracuse a few weeks ago.

“I was very excited when the RB coach [Mike Lynch] reached out and offered me,” Tabb said.

Tabb is an explosive athlete that is very difficult to chase down when he hits full speed. He has not made a visit to Syracuse yet, but he hopes to in the future. Tabb is interested in Syracuse, especially after his conversation with Lynch.

“They are for sure on my radar and I look forward to building a relationship with them,” Tabb said. “The culture around the program makes them an interesting option.”

Syracuse University Football Sidelines Vindar Video (youtube; video; Vindar Video)

Syracuse University Football Sidelines Vindar Video

ACC News

ACC head coach rankings heading into the 2023 football season (; Simonton)

It’s that time of the year again. Offseason coaching rankings!

Over the next six weeks, I’ll release rankings for each Power 5 conference and the Top 10 Group of 5 coaches before a final Top 25 coaches in all of football.

I kickstarted the series with the 2023 SEC football head coach rankings. Then we released the 2023 Big Ten head coach rankings and 2023 Pac-12 head coach rankings.

Plenty of debates ensued.

Remember, this is a fun exercise and even if your favorite coach is ranked near the bottom of his conference’s list: A) He’s still considered a damn good football coach to have said job and B) That doesn’t mean I hate your team!

With that, this list is totally subjective. It’s my rankings. Some might weigh the overall body of work for a head coach. I take that into account, but college football has become the ultimate what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-business with the carousel constantly spinning.

The job of a head coach has changed in recent years, too. So for my rankings, I take into account recent performance, recruiting chops, hiring quality assistants, sending players to the NFL, working the transfer portal, etc.

The ACC features a blend of old and new head coaches, with entrenched veterans like Dabo Swinney, Dave Clawson, Dave Doeren and Pat Narduzzi and fresh faces like Mario Cristobal, Mike Elko and Jeff Brohm, among others.

Swinney was the obvious top choice in the rankings, but the rest of the list was much more difficult to put together.

1. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

Dabo Swinney is no longer the only active coach not named Nick Saban to win multiple national titles, but Clemson’s longtime head coach remains a Top 5 coach in the country with 12 straight double-digit win seasons.

Swinney won his eighth ACC Championship in 2022, and the Tigers are the favorites to win the league again this fall. Swinney also made the splashiest hire of the offseason by poaching TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley.

2. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest

Dave Clawson is one of the most underrated coaches in the country, consistently producing winning teams as a place historically difficult to rack up victories.

The Demon Deacons have made seven straight bowl games under Clawson, with four seasons of at least eight wins — something that’s happened just five other total times in school history since 1944. Wake Forest went 11-3 in 2021 — the program’s best finish ever. It’s impossible to recruit to Wake, but Clawson has built a developmental program that has produced multiple NFL quarterbacks in John Wolford and (in 2024) Sam Hartman.

3. Mike Norvell, Florida State

The ACC’s biggest riser in the 2023 rankings, Mike Norvell went from a coach facing mounting pressure to a guy leading a program eying a conference title this fall.

The Seminoles went 10-3 in 2022 and finished No. 10 nationally. While recruiting still needs to improve if FSU wants to become a national championship contender again (No. 20 class nationally in 2023), Norvell (and his staff) has become one of the best evaluators of the transfer portal the last two years.

He inherited a rough roster situation but has methodically navigated FSU back to national relevancy. He secured marquee wins over LSU, Miami and Florida last season, and if he can beat Clemson in Death Valley this fall, Florida State, which returns the most experienced roster in the nation next season, has an open path to its first ACC title since 2014.

4. Mario Cristobal, Miami

Mario Cristobal was the single most difficult coach in the ACC to rank. He’s well-regarded enough to net a near $100 million contract and is one of the sport’s best individual recruiters (the Canes signed the nation’s No. 6 recruiting class in 2023 and brought in several potential impact transfers, too), and yet he also has five losing seasons as a head coach — including last season’s debacle 5-7 debut at his alma mater.

I’m not going to hang any struggles at FIU on Cristobal, though. He walked into a super hard situation there and still produced a couple of winning seasons. His Oregon resume of 35-13 is difficult to gauge, though, as some Ducks fans believed he underachieved requisite to the team’s talent, while others point to two Pac-12 titles.

Overall, 2023 is a big year for Cristobal. He’s completely overhauled his Year 1 staff, and after not hiring the right assistants last offseason, he better have avoided the same mistake twice.

5. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt

It’s hard to believe, but Pat Narduzzi wrapped up his eighth year as the head coach at Pitt — with six winning seasons. The Panthers have won the second-most games in the ACC the last two years (20), winning the conference title in 2021 (11-3) and following that up with a 9-4 year in 2022.

Last season, Narduzzi and his staff navigated a rash of injuries and inconsistent QB play from transfer Kedon Slovis to win five straight to end the year, including wins against Duke and UCLA in the Sun Bowl.

6. Mack Brown, North Carolina

Mack Brown is one of just five active head coaches with a national championship, and the 71-year-old has 18 seasons with at least nine wins in his illustrious career. His second stint with the Tar Heels has really yet to take off, though. Brown took UNC to the ACC Championship last season for the first time since 2015, but after starting the season 9-1 the Tar Heels lost four straight to end the year.

Brown and his staff have recruited well at UNC, landing a pair of NFL quarterbacks in Sam Howell and Drake Maye, but poor defenses (worst in the ACC in 2022) have held the program back from being a true contender in the league. Last season, the Tar Heels lost three games to backup quarterbacks, and in 2021, UNC started the year in the Top 10 only to go 6-7 and miss a bowl game.

7. Dave Doeren, NC State

Dave Doeren has won at least seven games in eight seasons with the Wolfpack, including an 8-5 record in 2022 that featured wins by four different starting quarterbacks.

NC State has yet to bust through its glass ceiling and compete for an ACC Championship, but perhaps that changes in the near future now that there are no longer divisions in the conference. Under Doeren, the Wolfpack have become one of the better developmental programs in the ACC, with 16 NFL Draft picks since 2018.

8. Mike Elko, Duke

Mike Elko was the runaway winner for ACC Coach of the Year in his debut season with the Blue Devils, going 9-4 in his first year as a head coach.

Elko inherited a program that was 5-18 (1-17 in ACC play) the last two years and was picked to finish near the bottom of the league in 2022. And yet, the former Texas A&M and Notre Dame defensive coordinator dramatically improved Duke’s defense (last in scoring defense in 2021 to No. 5 in 2022) and empowered offensive coordinator Kevin Johns, resulting in five ACC wins — as many as first-year coaches in the league Cristobal, Pry and Elliott had combined.

Duke’s nine wins were its most since 2014, and just the seventh time in the program’s 134-year history.

9. Jeff Brohm, Louisville

Jeff Brohm was 36-34 at Purdue, winning the Big Ten West in his final season with the Boilermakers before answering mama’s call and coming home to Louisville.

Although his near .500 record doesn’t seem overly impressive on the surface, Purdue had won just nine games total the previous four seasons before Brohm’s arrival in West Lafayette. He has three Top 5 upsets on his resume and delivered back-to-back winning seasons in 2021 and 2022 for the first time in 25 years at Purdue.

Now in the ACC, Brohm should be able to recruit better players with fewer academic restrictions and a stronger in-state footprint. The Cardinals are set up for a potential leap-year in 2023 (no Clemson, FSU, UNC or Wake Forest on the schedule) and could have their first 10-win season since joining the ACC in 2014.

10. Dino Babers, Syracuse

The Orange went 7-6 in 2022 — just the program’s second winning season in seven years under Dino Babers — yet the veteran head coach enters 2023 facing mounting pressure after Syracuse started the year 6-0 only to lose six of seven down the stretch.

Syracuse ranks in the Top 10 of the most difficult Power 5 jobs in the country, so the fact that Babers has a 10-win season with the Orange (2018) is meaningful. And yet, he’s a hot-seat candidate this fall because the program has mostly been spinning its wheels for the last four years.

Babers’ AD has done him little favors this year this upcoming year as well, as Syracuse has an ACC slate that includes Clemson, FSU and North Carolina, plus out-of-conference games against Purdue and Army.

Pitt spring football notebook: Phil Jurkovec earns Panthers' starting quarterback job (PG; Carter)

Any doubts about who would lead Pitt’s offense this season were put to rest Tuesday morning, as coach Pat Narduzzi indicated Phil Jurkovec will be Pitt’s starting quarterback.

“Christian [Veilleux] and Nate [Yarnell] are in a battle right now,” Narduzzi said after Pitt’s spring practice at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “They’re in a battle for the No. 2 spot. We’ll keep evaluating and that’ll be something that goes into the summer.”

If Veilleux and Yarnell are indeed competing for Pitt’s second quarterback spot on the depth chart, the process of elimination leaves only Jurkovec as the Panthers’ starting quarterback.

Jurkovec and Veilleux were both quarterbacks Pitt acquired in the transfer portal after the 2022 seasons. Jurkovec comes as a redshirt senior after being a three-year starter for Boston College and Veilleux as a redshirt sophomore after two years as a backup for Penn State. Yarnell is a redshirt sophomore backup last season for Pitt who started in the Panthers’ Sept. 17 win over Western Michigan.

During Pitt’s viewable practice periods this spring, Jurkovec and Veilleux could be seen as the first two quarterbacks to dually lead throwing reps to the Panthers receivers. That indicated they were both the top options, but it hasn’t been until Narduzzi’s Tuesday comments that any indication was given by the program about who would be the Panthers’ starting quarterback. That’s a stark contrast from last year, when Narduzzi waited until Pitt’s summer camp broke before announcing that Kedon Slovis beat out Nick Patti for the team’s starting quarterback job for the 2022 season.

“He’s been outstanding like we thought,” Narduzzi said of Jurkovec. “He got maybe 25 snaps in the last two scrimmages. We’ve seen a lot of good things in practice.”

2023 Returning Production (as of April) (RX; HM)

2023 Returning Production (as of April)

Returning starters is a nice indication of veteran players, but it says nothing about the quality of those players. For that, we need to look at returning productivity...

Returning Starters

Links, News and Rumors 2023 April 4th (RX; HM)

Links, News and Rumors 2023 April 4th

From CBS Sports' "10 college football freshmen to watch in 2023 spring games" by Shehan Jeyarajah, here are the ACC-related players...

Braylon James, WR, Notre Dame

Spring game: April 22 | 2 p.m. (Peacock)
Simply put, James is the kind of player Notre Dame didn't sign under Brian Kelly. The four-star Texan rates as the No. 126 player in the Top247 and boasts elite top-end speed. James ran a 22.8 200-meter as a junior and translates his speed to the biggest classification of Texas high school football. Also keep an eye on fellow Austin-area standout Jaden Greathouse, who developed into a star next to now-Clemson starter Cade Klubnik at Austin Westlake. The combo should team with transfer quarterback Sam Hartman to create a more dynamic offense than Notre Dame has had in years.

Francis Mauigoa & Samson Okunlola, OL, Miami

Spring game: April 14 | 7:30 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)
Offensive linemen typically don't contribute immediately, but a pair of five-stars like Mauigoa and Okunlola joining a team led by former offensive line coach (Mario Cristobal) makes for a unique situation. The players both rank among the top 25 recruits in Miami history and have the potential to lock down spots on the line for three years. Miami is undergoing a full face lift on the offensive line with a number of transfers competing for starting spots. Both Mauigoa and Okunlola are good enough to push for starting tackle spots.

Hykeem Williams, WR, Florida State

Spring game: April 15 | 4 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)

ACC football: Picking all 14 teams' toughest non-conference opponent for 2023 season (; Weinstein)

The College Football Playoff committee has long set a precedent that it looks kindly upon playing at least one tough non-conference game, and partially as a result fans have reaped a reward in the form of quality early-season games before league play starts across the board. This season will be no different in the ACC, as plenty of premier non-conference games are set for 2023.

Of course, the ACC always benefits from its scheduling deal with Notre Dame. As a result, many of its teams will play a high-profile opponent that they might not be able to get for a home-and-home series otherwise.

This year's top opponents go well beyond the Fighting Irish, though. Florida State and North Carolina are among the ACC programs that scheduled intriguing neutral-site games against tough competition.

With all of that in mind, here is a list of each ACC team's top non-conference opponent for the 2023 college football season.


Date: Oct. 7
BC receives a nomination here for the weakest non-conference schedule in the Power Five. The Eagles face Army, UConn, Northern Illinois and Holy Cross — the Black Knights get the nod here since that's a road game, but the Huskies beat BC last season and have an argument.
There's no excuse for coach Jeff Hafley to miss a bowl game this fall. If the Eagles fall short, that would cast serious concern on where the program is headed under the former Ohio State co-defensive coordinator.


Date: Oct. 28
This will be a theme throughout the list. One can debate Notre Dame's preseason credentials under coach Marcus Freeman — top 10? top 20? — but this will he a difficult game, especially on the road.
Pitt and coach Pat Narduzzi are taking on a brutal non-conference schedule. The Panthers host Cincinnati and visit West Virginia for the Backyard Brawl rematch. Give Narduzzi credit — and if Pitt makes a bowl game, then it will have fully earned it.


Date: Nov. 18
So, what should we expect from Wake in Year 1 post-Sam Hartman? It's hard to say, but one thing that's clear is that this will be a juicy matchup as the Demon Deacons try to knock off their former star quarterback.
If Wake takes a step back under new quarterback Mitch Griffis, it could fall off a bit of a cliff. Star edge defender Rondell Bothroyd also transferred. A home game against Vanderbilt and a road trip to Old Dominion aren't gimmes, either. It won't be easy for the Deacs.


Date: Nov. 25
Unless this game were to take place in Athens, Georgia, there is no way to come up with a tougher non-conference opponent. Georgia Tech is locked into this annual rivalry game, and this looks like an ugly blowout for new coach Brent Key.
The Yellow Jackets kept it somewhat respectable last season, falling 37-13 at Georgia. Now Key must rebuild things, and with a new starting quarterback — potentially Texas A&M transfer Haynes King. The spread for this game easily could be more than 30 points. Tech also visits Ole Miss.


Date: Sept. 2
UVA has a tough non-con schedule, adding games at Maryland and against James Madison at home. This is easily the toughest, though. Tennessee returns a lot of talent after crushing Clemson in the Orange Bowl to end last season.
This will also be a de facto home game for the Vols at the Tennessee Titans' Nissan Stadium. The Cavaliers will have to hope that Tennessee's offense isn't in gear yet since this is the opener.


Date: Oct. 7
Louisville also hosts in-state rival Kentucky, so season ticket holders will get their money's worth. A neutral-site game against Indiana in Indianapolis doesn't look daunting.
The Cardinals start out with Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana, Boston College and NC State with only that last game coming on the road. There's a chance that first-year coach Jeff Brohm has his team at 4-1 entering this game against Notre Dame, in which case the Cards would likely be playing for a spot in the top 25 if they're not in there already.


Date: Sept. 16
Syracuse won a thriller in the first leg of this home-and-home last season, knocking off the Boilermakers 32-29 at the JMA Wireless Dome. How much more difficult will the return game be? That depends on what Purdue has under new coach Ryan Walters, who is a first-time head coach after having previously served as Illinois' defensive coordinator.
It's tough to know what to expect here. Syracuse coach Dino Babers needs a good season after the Orange melted down in the back half of last year. Big game for 'Cuse.



This artist rendering, provided by the National Football League Buffalo Bills, Thursday, March 2, 2023, shows the team's proposed new stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Buffalo Bills moved one major step closer to breaking ground on their new stadium by next month after formally submitting the final agreements -- including a 30-year lease -- to the county on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Courtesy of Buffalo Bills via Populous, via AP, File)AP

Buffalo Bills finalize agreement on new stadium with state, county (PS; AP)

The Buffalo Bills moved one major step closer to breaking ground on their new stadium by June 1 after formally submitting the final contractual agreements — including a detailed 30-year lease — to the county on Tuesday.

The Erie County legislature now has 30 days to review the documents and ratify the agreement. The county’s approval would clear the way for construction on the now-projected $1.5 billion-plus, 60,000-plus seat facility to begin across the street from the Bills current stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The cost of the facility has increased from the original estimate of $1.4 billion.

A majority of the construction on the open-air stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2026 season.

The finalized agreements were negotiated by the Bills, the state and county, and posted on the county’s website. The details of the agreement were completed a little more than a year after the three parties reached a tentative deal on the project that included a taxpayer commitment of $850 million — the largest public price tag for an NFL facility.

The NFL, through its G4 loan program, and the Bills agreed to commit $550 million in financing, with team owners Terry and Kim Pegula’s share coming in at $350 million, with much of that made up by the team introducing seat licenses for season ticket holders. The Bills are also responsible for covering any construction over-runs beyond $1.4 billion.

“Today marks another significant step taken as we approach a groundbreaking ceremony later this spring,” the Bills, state and county said in a statement.


Tamera Jones, a sixth-grader at Liverpool, learns about sublimation.

Micron holds first chip camp at Onondaga County school, with more to come (PS; Doran)

Micron Technology is sponsoring its inaugural Chip Camp at Liverpool Middle School this week, with 120 students participating in a variety of STEM-related activities.

The free camp has a limit of 120 students, and runs during the day Tuesday through Thursday. On Tuesday morning, the students moved around from station to station, learning about science, physics and technology.

“I just really like STEM,’' said Soule Road sixth-grader Andrew Mazza. “This is a great new opportunity, and I can show my colors and get to do what I like. I like the science that’s behind it all,” he said.

The chip camp is a small part of Micron’s pledge to spend $10 million in local schools as it looks to build a computer chip manufacturing complex in Clay. Micron says it will add up to 9,000 jobs over two decades at the complex. Micron spent $40,000 on the three-day Liverpool camp.

Mazza and the other students – all in sixth, seventh and eighth grades – took part in a variety of STEM-related activities led by Micron on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they will travel to Cornell University and glimpse its “clean room,” a highly controlled environment that’s critical to prevent contamination when making items such as computer chips. There, they’ll see how companies like Micron make chips, which make most electronics, cars and other modern appliances work.

On Thursday, they will launch rockets outside and invite parents to see what the camps are all about.

Tuesday morning, students moved around from station to station in the school cafeteria. At one station, they used whipped cream and dye to see how colors transfer onto paper, said Liz Clifford, a Syracuse University graduate student helping with the camp.

Other stations showed how pigment from small crushed beetles becomes red dye, how physics come into play when trying to swing a ring onto a hook, and how water transitions into a gas state.
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