Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday - for Football | Syracusefan.com

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday for Football

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Welcome to Sacagawea Day!

Sacagawea (also spelled Sacajawea and Sakakawea) is believed to have died on today's date in 1812, and today we honor her contributions and courage. The daughter of a Shoshone chief, and part of the Lemhi band of the Shoshone tribe, she was born in May 1788 in the Lemhi Valley, near the Salmon River and the Rocky Mountains, in present-day Lemhi County, Idaho.

The Hidatsa tribe was enemies of the Shoshones, and they kidnapped Sacagawea in 1800 and brought to a Hidatsa-Mandan settlement in North Dakota. In 1803 or 1804, she became the property of fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau, who took her as one of his wives. Sacagawea's name means "bird woman" in the Hidatsa language—"sacaga" means bird and "wea" means woman. But, the Shoshone and some others claim that her name means "boat pusher" in the Shoshone language.

SU News

Early Signing Day 2023: Live updates as Brown signs first recruiting class (PS; Mink)


Syracuse football will sign its first set of recruits in the 2024 class on Wednesday as part of Early National Signing Day.

Around 20 high school prospects are expected to sign their National Letter of Intent to play for the Orange as part of Fran Brown’s first recruiting class.

Brown is scheduled to speak with reporters Wednesday afteroon via Zoom to discuss recruiting and other team news. Brown will be in Florida ahead of Thursday’s Boca Raton Bowl against South Florida.

Since Brown’s hiring on Nov. 28, several recruits who committed to the program under former coach Dino Babers have dropped out of the class.

Brown has worked to offset the losses by bringing in his own recruits, flipping prospects from other Power-Five schools and landing commitments from Power-Five transfers, including Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord and Texas A&M defensive lineman Fadil Diggs. Transfers typically sign financial aid agreements with the school that are less restrictive than signing an NLI.

Jamie Tremble, a four-star tight end out of the Wesleyan School in Norcross, Georgia and the highest-ranked high school recruit in the class, said he will sign with Syracuse at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, the Orange picked up four-star edge KingJoseph Edwards, who became the second-highest ranked high school recruit in the class.

Brown recruited five of the six-highest rated high school prospects in the class, including players previously committed to Texas A&M, Stanford and Pittsburgh.

College transfers from Ohio State, Texas A&M, Georgia, West Virginia and Buffalo also intend to sign with the Orange.

Bolstered by transfer acquisitions, Syracuse begins the day with this cycle’s recruiting haul ranked seventh in the ACC out of 17 schools (including future members Cal, Stanford and Southern Methodist) and 35th nationally, according to 247Sports.


Despite a visit to Alabama, four-star Texas A&M transfer Fadil Diggs commits to Syracuse (PS; $; Carlson)

Four-star transfer edge rusher Fadil Diggs has verbally committed to play football at Syracuse next season, he posted on social media.

Diggs made 36 tackles for Texas A&M this past season, along with four sacks. Two of those sacks came against Alabama, a school he visited as part of his effort to find a transfer destination.

Diggs has one year of eligibility remaining and fills an immediate need for Syracuse on a defense that loses defensive end Caleb Okechukwu and saw edge rusher Leon Lowry transfer to Wisconsin. Defensive end Terry Lockett is also pursuing a transfer.

He is the second edge rusher that Syracuse has added this offseason as a transfer, joining West Virginia transfer James Heard Jr. Both players are from new coach Fran Brown’s hometown of Camden.

Diggs announced his decision on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

Let’s do it !!! pic.twitter.com/uzyz93PkGp
— Big Frank ‍♂️ (@fadil_diggs) December 19, 2023

The recruiting website 247 Sports lists Diggs as the No. 35 player available in the transfer portal this offseason and the No. 6 edge rusher. He is listed by Texas A&M at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds. He is ranked by 247 Sports as Syracuse’s best transfer addition, topping Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord.

Diggs is from Brown’s hometown of Camden, New Jersey and his brother, Fatim, committed to Syracuse earlier this week.

The older Diggs was ranked as a four-star prospect out of Eastside High School in the Class of 2020 and the No. 153 prospect in the country by the 247 Sports Composite rankings. His offer sheet as a high school player was a list of top programs that included Notre Dame and Ohio State.
...


Gadsden talks plan for 2024, rehab progress 3 months post-op (PS; $; Leiker)

Oronde Gadsden II has not made a decision about his plan for the 2024 season, he told Syracuse.com prior to Syracuse football’s practice Tuesday morning for the Boca Raton Bowl.

“Season’s still going, so we’re gonna see what happens,” he said.

The star tight end is eligible for the 2024 NFL Draft and has also been candid previously about schools trying to lure him into the transfer portal with promises of large name, image and likeness deals.

He missed most of the 2023 season after suffering a Lisfranc injury in his right foot early in the Orange’s second game of the season against Western Michigan.

Gadsden is in Florida with his teammates as they prepare for the Boca Raton Bowl and try to finish the season above .500. He is back to walking without a medical boot, which he was cleared to stop wearing two weeks ago, and is wearing his helmet and working out lightly.

He said he’s been running on both underwater and anti-gravity treadmills and is “feeling great.”

Gadsden is three months post-operation to repair the injury, having had his surgery done in mid-September by a renowned foot and ankle specialist in North Carolina.

At the time of Gadsden’s surgery, his father told syracuse.com he was looking at a 10-12 month full recovery time that included three months of no load bearing and five months with screws inserted in his foot.
...


Former Syracuse OC Jason Beck will take job at New Mexico (report) (PS; $; Carlson)


Former Syracuse offensive coordinator Jason Beck will re-join Bronco Mendenhall as a member of the staff of New Mexico, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

Rittenberg reported that Beck would be the team’s offensive coordinator. Next season will be Mendenhall’s first coaching the Lobos after leaving Virginia and taking a two-year break from coaching.

Sources: New Mexico is hiring Jason Beck as offensive coordinator under new coach Bronco Mendenhall. Beck most recently served as Syracuse OC but has been with Mendenhall at both Virginia and BYU, coaching quarterbacks.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 20, 2023

Beck spent two years at Syracuse, the first as a quarterback coach under Robert Anae and this season as the team’s offensive coordinator. It was Beck’s first season as an offensive coordinator at the Division I level.

Previously, he had been a quarterbacks coach under Mendenhall at both BYU and Virginia.

Hit hard by injuries to his quarterbacks this season, Beck was credited by SU interim coach Nunzio Campanile for shifting to a run-heavy scheme late in the season. The change helped the Orange to a .500 record while using tight end Dan Villari and running back LeQuint Allen under center.


1703074725559.jpeg

X

Syracuse Football: Multiple predictions in SU’s favor for 4-star CB Marcellus Barnes Jr. (itlh; Adler)

Syracuse football is garnering a bit of analyst buzz in the recruitment of four-star Marcellus Barnes Jr., who is one of the top cornerbacks around the country in the 2024 class.

Two weekends ago, Orange head coach Fran Brown and his staff hosted the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Barnes on an official visit, and the top-200 national prospect in the senior cycle said that trip to the Hill went quite well.

When I wrote this article on Monday night, there were at least two predictions in the direction of the ‘Cuse for Barnes between the 247Sports Web site and the On3 Web site.

Naturally, these sorts of projections aren’t always accurate, but it’s nevertheless an encouraging sign for the Orange’s chances to prevail for Barnes.

Syracuse football appears to be in a strong spot for 2024 4-star CB Marcellus Barnes Jr.
...


5 Things to Know: 'Cuse vs. South Florida - Syracuse University Athletics (cuse.com)

Syracuse takes on South Florida in the 2024 RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl on Thursday at 8 p.m. Here are five things to know about the matchup:

1. Going Bowling
The 2023 RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl marks Syracuse's 28th bowl game appearance. The Orange have won four of their last five bowl games and have an all-time record of 16-10-1. Syracuse's .611 bowl winning percentage ranks eighth all-time among teams with 15 appearances and is the highest for an ACC school.

From 1989-96, the Orange won seven-straight bowl games. The streak is the seventh-longest in college football postseason history. Florida State owns the record with 11-consecutive bowl-game victories from 1985-96.

2. Back-To-Back Bowls
Syracuse will play in back-to-back bowl games for the first time since the 2012-13 campaigns. The Orange are 1-of-32 Power 5 Conference schools to go bowling in back-to-back seasons.

3. Series History
Syracuse and South Florida have met 10 times on the gridiron. The Bulls own an 8-2 advantage in the all-time series.

The squads met every year from 2005-12 when both were members of The BIG EAST Conference. Both of the Orange's wins over the Bulls came on South Florida's home field.
...


Former Syracuse offensive coordinator Jason Beck reportedly hired at New Mexico (DO; Andrews)

Former Syracuse offensive coordinator Jason Beck has been reportedly hired by New Mexico for the same position, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenburg. SU is reportedly targeting New York Giants running backs coach Jeff Nixon for its offensive coordinator position under first-year head coach Fran Brown, prompting Beck’s exit from the program.

Beck served on Syracuse’s coaching staff under former head coach Dino Babers from 2022-23. He was the quarterbacks coach in 2022, leading the Orange to a Pinstripe Bowl appearance. Then, after former offensive coordinator Robert Anae left SU to take the same job at North Carolina State, Beck was promoted to offensive coordinator.

In Beck’s lone season calling plays for the Orange, they averaged 25.50 points per game through 12 games. Syracuse totaled 468 yards of offense in its final game of the regular season, a 35-31 win over Wake Forest that clinched an appearance in the Boca Raton Bowl for SU.

Beck’s 17-year coaching career spans back to 2007, where he first served as an offensive intern at Brigham Young. Since then, he spent time at Louisiana State, Weber State and Simon Fraser before returning to BYU as its quarterbacks coach from 2013-15. He then had a five-year stint at Virginia from 2016-21 as the Cavaliers’ quarterbacks coach.
...


Building FRANchise: Brown Impacts Syracuse Footballs Recuit (defianttakesfootball.com; Molloy)

Hold the phone college football world. There’s a new Power Five recruiting machine in the ACC and Northeast. Their names are Fran Brown and the Syracuse football coaching staff.

Brown, who is already known by college football fans as the number one recruiter in the country, is immediately gratifying Syracuse football fans with his presence to flip commits and attract top talent to come to the northeast.

Most of those flips come from the key northeast recruiting state of New Jersey, where coach Brown has strong connections to recruiting, player development, and coaches.

While these four flips haven’t even played a down yet, these players already seem like they’re buzzing with talent and want to come to the 315 to play some football.

Syracuse Football Recruiting

1. Jaylan Hornsby – 3 star (flips from Texas A&M)

D.A.R.T 100% commited @CuseFootball pic.twitter.com/82UEwyA2kE
— Jaylan Hornsby (@856_JayHorns) December 10, 2023

This was the first official commit brought into Syracuse football under the Brown coaching staff. The high-octane receiver was previously committed to play for the Texas A&M Aggies, until former Aggies interim coach, Elijah Robinson. He was hired to be Syracuse football’s new Defensive Coordinator.

Some recruiting websites have Hornsby as a high 3-star while others have him cracking the 4-star ranking. Either way, this is a great start, as he was committed to an up-and-coming SEC West Program.

At 6’3″, 185 lbs., the hard-driving athlete already brings natural speed to the receiver position. He will have to work on polishing his route running, but he can run go routes and catch in the middle of the field similar to Miami Dolphins Receiver, Tyreek Hill.
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King Joseph Edwards COMMITS to Syracuse! | Edge Chooses Orange over Colorado and FSU (youtube; video; On3)

King Joseph Edwards COMMITS to Syracuse! | Edge Chooses Orange over Colorado and FSU

Syracuse Football brings you the Mob Podcast (youtube; podcast; Mob Podcast)

A pair of Syracuse Orange defenders shine on and off the field and get to share their stories with the Mob podcast.

Garrett Shrader 2023 Regular Season Highlights | Syracuse QB (youtube; video; ACC DN)

Syracuse Garrett Shrader once again was a tough dual-threat quarterback that gave defenses fits in 2023. Shrader finished off the season completing 62.6% of his passes and had 1,686 total yards and was responsible for 21 touchdowns. Look at the highlights from Garrett Shrader's 2023 Regular Season right here!

Why Kyle McCord Chose Syracuse (youtube; podcast; RC BC)

Joshua Perry and Jake Butt tell us why QB Kyle McCord left Ohio State in the transfer portal and chose to take his talents to Syracuse next season. Stadium keeps you connected to your favorite teams with world-class sports content that you can access anytime, anywhere. Featuring extensive professional and collegiate sports highlights, daily live studio programming and exclusive live games and replays of the most memorable classic games, Stadium is your top destination for sports video.

Former Texas A&M junior DL Fadil Diggs commits to Syracuse in transfer portal )usatoday.com; Holkko)

Oops, he did it again! Texas A&M interim head coach Elijah Robinson will be departing from College Station to begin 2024 but he won’t be leaving alone.

Robinson is set to become the new defensive coordinator at Syracuse after the Aggies play No. 20 Oklahoma State in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 27. News broke last Thursday that Texas A&M staffer Joe Schaefer will be joining Robinson on the Orange staff as a defensive assistant coach.

Now a former Aggies player is headed to Syracuse as well. Junior defensive lineman Fadil Diggs announced his decision via X on Tuesday afternoon. Diggs entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on Dec. 6 “in hopes to continue to elevate at another destination.”

Let’s do it !!! pic.twitter.com/uzyz93PkGp
— Big Frank (@fadil_diggs) December 19, 2023

Diggs is 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds with two years of eligibility remaining. He recorded 36 tackles (22 solo), four sacks and two pass deflections for Texas A&M this past season. Diggs earned the “Aggie Defensive Leadership” and the “Strength & Conditioning Defensive” awards with his play in 2022.


The Ostrom Avenue Podcast Episode 165: Syracuse Football Recruiting Update and Boca Raton Bowl Preview with Emily Leiker (waer.org; podcast; Ostrom Avenue)

Ethan Frank, Jordan Leonard, and Hudson Ridley react to Syracuse football's recent recruiting wins including former Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord committing to the Orange and what it means for Fran Brown and SU. Then, Emily Leiker joins the show to detail SU's recruiting strategy and prowess, how they've been so successful in Brown's short time frame as the Orange's head coach, and preview Thursday's Boca Raton Bowl. Finally, the guys close the show with some further insights on the bowl game and hit on some lacrosse news and notes.

Syracuse Football Talk at O’Brian’s Boca Raton (youtube; podcast; DT)

Syracuse Football Talk at O’Brian’s Boca Raton

30 Minutes In Orange Nation 12-19-23 (ESPN; radio; Orange Nation)

Steve Infanti and Tim Leonard kick off the show turning their attention to Thursday’s Boca Raton Bowl and what they’re hoping to see from Syracuse in that game against USF without Garrett Shrader on the field. Then, the guys chat with head coach Adrian Autry. Later, a recap of last night’s comeback win over Cornell for Syracuse women’s basketball led by Dyaisha Fair and Georgia Wooley.

Keeping Up With The 315 12-19-23 (ESPN; radio; The 315)

Brian begins the show talking football recruiting, then welcomes in a caller to chat about football recruiting and the difference in excitement for signing day tomorrow compared to previous ones. Then, Tim hops on for the 411 and naturally they talk more … well football recruiting because some breaking commitment news drops and Fran Brown did the thing again.


https://www.si.com/college/syracuse/recruiting/tristen-graham-decommits-from-syracuse-football (SI; McAllister)

Class of 2024 Middletown (DE) High edge Tristen Graham has decommitted to Syracuse, he announced on Tuesday, one day before the early National Signing Day.

"Recruitment Re-Opened!" Graham posted. "I will not longer be signing with @CuseFootball Tomorrow! Thank you to the entire Syracuse New Coaching Staff, Fan Base, and The Old Coaching Staff!"

Graham had been committed to the Orange since early June. When there was a coaching change, obviously a lot would be in flux. However, Graham did take an official visit over the weekend to meet with the new staff. A reason for his decision was not immediately given.


The 6-2, 240 pounder was rated a three star prospect by all four major recruiting services (247Sports, ESPN, On3, Rivals). He was considered the top prospect in the state of Delaware.

While that news is certainly not great, it is not all bad news for the Orange. Syracuse received a commitment from highly regarded edge prospect Caden Brown over the weekend. Brown is considered one of the top players in New York State. In addition, there could be more good news on the way.
...


Five Navy Football Players Named to the FBS All-East Team - Naval Academy Athletics (navysports.com)

Navy had five football players named to the FBS All-East team by the East Coast Athletic Conference. Four of the five selections will return for the 2024 season.

Players from the following FBS schools are eligible for All-East honors-Navy, Army, Boston College, UConn, James Madison, UMass, Rutgers, Penn State, Syracuse and Temple.

Navy's five selections tied James Madison and Penn State for the most.

The Mids had three representatives on defense-senior linebacker Will Harbour, junior linebacker Colin Ramos and junior safety Rayuan Lane, one representative on offense-sophomore fullback Alex Tecza and one on special teams-junior punter Riley Riethman.

Tecza led Navy in rushing with 758 yards and 5 touchdowns on 126 carries, Ramos finished with a team-high 110 tackles (most by a Navy player since Cody Peterson in 2013) and 9 tackles for a loss, Harbour was second on the team in tackles with 84 and 7.5 tackles for a loss, Lane finished third on the team in tackles with 66, led the team in pass breakups with 8 and tied for the team-lead in interceptions with 4, while Riethman's 44.8 punting average, which tied for the best single-season punting average in school history.

All-East

Offensive Player of the Year


Jordan McCloud – James Madison, Quarterback

Defensive Player of the Year
Jalen Green – James Madison, Defensive Lineman

Rookie of the Year
Kanye Udoh – Army, Running back

Coach of the Year
Curt Cignetti – James Madison, Head Coach

Offense
Jordan McCloud – James Madison University, Rs-Sr., QB
Kay'ron Lynch-Adams – University of Massachusetts, Rs-Jr., RB
Kyle Monangai – Rutgers University, Jr, RB
Alex Tecza – Navy, So, FB
Reggie Brown – James Madison, Rs-Sr., WR
Elijah Sarratt – James Madison University, So., WR
David Martin-Robinson – Temple University, Gr., TE
Christian Haynes – University of Connecticut, Sr., OL
Chris Bleich – Syracuse University, Sr., OL
Christian Mahogany – Boston College, Gr., OL
Olumuyiwa Fashanu – Penn State University, Jr., OL
Gus Zilinskas – Rutgers University, Jr., OL

Defense
Jamree Kromah – James Madison University, Rs-Sr., DL
Jalen Green – James Madison University, Sr., DL
Adisa Issac – Penn State University, Rs-Sr., DL
Chop Robinson – Penn State University, Jr., DL
Colin Ramos – Navy, Jr., LB
Jackson Mitchell – University of Connecticut, Sr., LB
Marlowe Wax – Syracuse University, Jr., LB
Will Harbour – Navy, Sr., LB
Jordan Magee – Temple University, Gr., LB
Quindrelin Hammonds – Army, Sr., DB
Rayuan Lane III – Navy, Jr., DB
Tywan Francis – Temple University, Sr., DB
Flip Dixon – Rutgers University, Jr, DB

Special Teams
Alex Felkins – Penn State University, Rs-Sr., K
Riley Riethman – Navy, Jr., P
Daequan Hardy – Penn State University, Rs-Sr., RS


ACC News

Track which conferences are winning the 2023-24 college football bowl season (ncaa.com)


It's time for the college football bowl season. There are more than 40 games on the schedule, providing conferences many chances to earn bragging rights. We will be tracking all results as we see which conference ends up with the best bowl record.

This article will be updated throughout. Conference representatives are in bold.

CONFERENCE (BOWL TEAMS)RECORDWINNING PERCENTAGE
AMERICAN (6)0-0.000
ACC (11)0-0.000
BIG 12 (9)1-01.000
BIG TEN (9)0-0.000
C-USA (4)2-1.667
INDEPENDENTS (1)0-0.000
MAC (6)1-1.500
MOUNTAIN WEST (7)1-1.500
PAC-12 (8)1-1.500
SEC (9)0-0.000
SUN BELT (12)1-2.333

American Athletic Conference (6)

Record: 0-0

ACC (11)

Record: 0-0

...

Friedlander: 5 things to watch in the ACC on Day 1 of Early Signing Period - Saturday Road (saturdayroad.com; Friedlander)

National Signing Day used to be the football equivalent of Christmas morning.

It was a day coaches, players and especially those dedicated fans who paid almost as much attention to recruiting as the actual games their teams played looked forward to with great anticipation.

Thanks to the addition of the Early Signing Period, a shift from February to December, changes in the NCAA’s transfer rules and other factors, that’s no longer the case.

These days, the start of the Early Signing Period has become more like the opening day of the Major League Baseball draft. Only instead of getting called up to the bigs after a couple of years of seasoning, many of those submitting their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday will end up getting their chance to shine at schools other than where they started.

And yet, there’s still a certain anticipation and excitement associated with the day in which high school seniors across the country, after “careful consideration and prayers,” start to make their initial college choices known.

Here are 5 things to watch in the ACC as the commitments become official and the signings are announced.

Seminoles playing defense

Florida State heads into Wednesday with a class ranked No. 6 nationally by 247Sports. Whether it will still be that high by Wednesday evening depends on how well coach Mike Norvell and his staff can to play defense.

They have their hands full trying to keep their top-rated recruit, 5-star safety KJ Bolden, in the fold.

Bolden, a native of Buford, Ga., committed to the Seminoles in October. But that hasn’t stopped Auburn from putting on a full-court press to flip him. According to the Auburn website Tiger Wire, coach Hugh Freeze visited Bolden last Tuesday. Bolden, however, said this week that he remains committed to FSU and wasn’t going to visit Auburn.

FSU is no stranger to losing its top commitment in a signing day surprise. It was stunned 2 years ago when 5-star cornerback Travis Hunter, the nation’s No. 1 prospect, decided to sign with Deion Sanders and Jackson State instead of the Seminoles.

And even though Bolden has said he will be a Seminole, he isn’t the only potential 11th-hour recruiting disappointment.

Armondo Blount, a 5-star edge rusher from Miami Central HS who flipped from Miami to FSU in October, is now apparently having second thoughts and could stay home. Instead of taking an official visit to Tallahassee as planned, he instead went to Coral Gables for an OV with Mario Cristobal and his staff.

pic.twitter.com/GQRnuEbhQu
— Armondo Blount (@ArmondoBlount) December 15, 2023


While there’s a heavy focus on keeping their own recruits, the Seminoles also have the potential to do a little flipping of their own. Among the players on their radar are Ohio State pledge Jeremiah Smith, the No. 1 wide receiver in this year’s class, and defensive tackle LJ McCray, who is committed to Florida.

Mario’s momentum

Cristobal might have trouble remembering to have his quarterback take a knee and other end-of-game clock management situations, but man, the guy can recruit.

He put together a top-10 national class that included several immediate contributors – including offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Reuben Bain – in his first effort with the Hurricanes last year. This year’s class looks to be just as strong.

And it’s still getting stronger with Monday’s announcement that 4-star running back Jordan Lyle has decided to stay close to home after originally committing to Ohio State to Miami. Lyle prepped at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Another Broward County product, Wisconsin pledge Xavier Lucas of American Heritage, could also be ready to flip. The 3-star defensive back made an official visit to Miami last weekend, as did 4-star linebacker and Florida commit Adarius Hayes.

With 27 players already committed, led by 5-star defensive lineman Justin Scott and 4-star receivers Ny Carr, Josiah Trader and Chance Robinson, the Hurricanes are currently ranked No. 6 nationally in 247Sports’ recruiting rankings. They still have the potential to rise even higher if Cristobal can flip any or all of his other signing day targets, including Blount.

Tigers losing their bite

Clemson has now gone 3 straight years without a College Football Playoff appearance and the drop-off is taking a toll on recruiting. Dabo Swinney saw his streak of 5 straight top-10 classes snapped last year when haul was ranked No. 11 overall and 2nd in the ACC behind Miami.

This year’s class is in danger of slipping even lower. The Tigers sit at No. 13 nationally and 3rd in the conference behind their 2 rivals from the Sunshine State.

There’s still plenty of quality, especially as it pertains to filling the program’s biggest need with commitments from 3 highly-rated wide receivers – 5-stars Sammy Brown and Bryant Wesco, and 4-star TJ Moore. Swinney also addressed another area of concern that plagued his 2023 team by recruiting the nation’s top-ranked kicker Nolan Hauser.

If there’s 1 glaring omission from the group of 18 players in the fold, it’s the absence of a quarterback. Barring a signing day addition, Swinney will either be forced to pick up 1 off the transfer portal, something that goes against everything he holds dear, or go into 2024 with only 2 scholarship quarterbacks – incumbent starter Cade Klubnik and redshirt freshman Christopher Vizzina.

Big class not in the Cards

Jeff Brohm made an immediate splash last year when, despite getting a late start as a new hire, he still managed to put together a class ranked 4th in the ACC with 7 4-star signees. The early momentum continued onto the field this fall with a 10-win season that earned his Cardinals a trip to the ACC Championship game.

That success, however, doesn’t appear to have given Brohm and his staff a recruiting bump in the current cycle.

Perhaps they’ve concentrated more effort on recruiting the transfer portal, where they’ve already made some significant pickups. Whatever the reason, their incoming freshman class on the eve of signing day consists of only 15 prospects. And only 1 of those, wide receiver JoJo Stone, is rated as high as a 4-star. Stone flipped from LSU to the Cardinals in November.

I’m HOME https://t.co/qFFk0ix2sB
— Jojostonejr (@jojostonejr) November 4, 2023

As it currently stands, the class is ranked only 11th out of 14 ACC teams. But it should also be noted that defensive lineman TJ Capers, the 4th-highest-ranked recruit in program history, reclassified to be included in last year’s highly-rated class.

New coaches playing catchup

Fran Brown earned a reputation for being one of the nation’s best recruiters in helping Georgia coach Kirby Smart build a roster that won back-to-back national championships. It’s one of the qualities that helped him land the head coaching job at Syracuse last month.

Although he’s only been on the job for a short time, Brown’s recruiting chops are already paying dividends for the Orange. Not only has he attracted a strong transfer class, headed by former Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord, but he and his new staff are also in the process of putting together a strong group of freshman prospects.

Within the past few weeks, they’ve picked up commitments from athlete Emanuel Ross, receiver Jaylan Hornsby and running back Yasin Willis. All are 3-star recruits. Ross flipped from soon-to-be ACC rival Stanford (sorry, that still sounds strange), Hornsby from Texas A&M and Willis from Pittsburgh.
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ACC rival is reportedly the leader to land former Virginia Tech football four-star recruit (fightinggobbler.com; Roche)

Marcellus Barnes, Jr. de-committed from Virginia Tech in November to reopen his recruiting, and an ACC foe and rival is reportedly the leading candidate to land him which would be a stunning development.


Four-star cornerback Marcellus Barnes, Jr. decommitted from Virginia Tech in November to reopen his recruitment. One of the top defensive backs in the Class of 2024, the Tennessee native has several suitors to land him soon.
Since he de-committed, schools have been lining up to get him, but according to On3, an ACC school and a Hokies' 2024 opponent is the heavy favorite to land him.

Syracuse is the leading candidate to get Marcellus Barnes, Jr.

According to On3, Syracuse is the favorite to get a commitment from Barnes, who recently visited Western New York with Orange's new coach Fran Brown. He has a long list of offers waiting for him, including Florida State, Tennessee, Georgia, and Vanderbilt just to name a few. He de-committed from Virginia Tech because he felt like he rushed his decision to come to Blacksburg he said last month.

“This has been on my mind lately, and after talking to my family about it, opening things back up is what we feel is best for me,” Barnes said. “I have not been able to get back to Blacksburg and I have been taking other visits, so I wanted to re-think things and make sure of my decision in December.”


Of course, Barnes may not end up with Syracuse, but after his visit, they are the predicted leader, and what a turn that would be. There is no doubt that he is one of the top DBs in the Class of 2024, but if he ends up with the Orange, Brown is doing one heck of a job of quickly reshaping the roster and making the Orange a team to be reckoned with next season. They also will host Virginia Tech in 2024.

First, he got former Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord in the transfer portal Sunday and now as the leader for Barnes, things are getting interesting during the recruiting period in December where surprise decisions are coming from all over college football.


https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/t...exas-am-through-bowl-following-syracuse-hire/ (saturdaydownsouth.com; Stone)


Elijah Robinson was hired to be Syracuse’s new defensive coordinator over 2 weeks ago. However, he said not soon after that he will remain with Texas A&M as the Aggies’ interim head coach through the Aggies’ bowl game.

Robinson, who coached the Aggies’ D-line and served as Co-DC this past season before taking over as interim HC, told reporters on Tuesday that nothing has changed from that original sentiment, saying it’s important to him that he stays through the game. Robinson noted that he’s still keeping up with his duties at Syracuse when the Aggies were not out practicing.

freestar

Elijah Robinson: “My commitment was to see these guys through for the bowl game.”
“It was important that I finished through the bowl game. There were days where we weren’t practicing that I was out recruiting (for Syracuse).”
— TexAgs (@TexAgs) December 19, 2023


Some fans were not thrilled to hear that Robinson will be staying on and still actively recruiting for the Orange, as Syracuse is currently a top target for former Aggie Fadil Diggs, who is currently in the transfer portal.

Here’s all Robinson said Tuesday regarding Diggs:

Elijah Robinson: “(Shemar) Stewart has been practicing. Shemar (Turner) has been at practice. Fadil (Diggs) has not been practicing.”
— TexAgs (@TexAgs) December 19, 2023

The Texas Bowl between Texas A&M and No. 20 Oklahoma State is set for Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
...



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98atdMGLeag (youtube; podcast; Ovies & Giglio)

North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham joined Ovies & Giglio to discuss his thoughts on NCAA super conferences, future of the ACC, and breaking through on the promise of football.

https://ncsportsnetwork.com/2024-acc-football-transfer-portal-updates-incoming-signees/ (ncsportsnetwork.com; Glenn)

(Details on OUTGOING transfers can be found here.)

Thanks to the NCAA’s creation of the transfer portal in 2018, then the organization’s revolutionary 2021 rule change that allowed first-time transfers to be immediately eligible at their new school, the manner in which college football teams are built and sustained has changed dramatically.

The two teams in this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game, Florida State and Louisville, are the two teams that were most aggressive in the transfer portal during the 2022-23 cycle. It’s not an exaggeration to say that a majority of the Seminoles’ and Cardinals’ best players in 2023 started their college careers elsewhere.

Meanwhile, of the 12 offensive players honored this year on the All-ACC first team, six — exactly half! — were major college transfers: Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis (formerly of Louisville), Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan (Syracuse), Virginia wide receiver Malik Washington (Northwestern), Florida State wide receiver and punt returner Keon Coleman (Michigan State), Florida State guard D’Mitri Emmanuel (Charlotte) and Louisville center Bryan Hudson (Virginia Tech). Interestingly, three of those six standout players were incoming transfers from other ACC programs.

At the quarterback position alone, 11 major college transfers were full-time or part-time starters for ACC teams during the 2023 season, including two each at Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech: NC State’s Brennan Armstrong (formerly of Virginia), Boston College’s Thomas Castellanos (UCF), Virginia Tech’s Kyron Drones (Baylor), Georgia Tech’s Haynes King (Texas A&M), Virginia’s Tony Muskett (Monmouth), Louisville’s Jack Plummer (Purdue and California), Pitt’s Phil Jurkovec (Notre Dame and Boston College), Syracuse’s Garrett Shrader (Mississippi State), FSU’s Travis (Louisville), Pitt’s Christian Veilleux (Penn State) and Virginia Tech’s Grant Wells (Marshall).

Although only 25 percent (approximately) of major college transfers in the 2023-24 cycle already have picked a new school, more than 70 such players are destined for ACC programs. The list of ACC teams below includes 2024 newcomers California, Southern Methodist and Stanford because those schools’ incoming transfers will be participating in the league next fall.

At the quarterback position alone, six ACC teams already have received a commitment from a player with significant starting experience at another school or schools: Cal (Chandler Rogers/Louisiana-Monroe and North Texas), Louisville (Tyler Shough/Oregon and Texas Tech), North Carolina (Max Johnson/LSU and Texas A&M), NC State (Grayson McCall/Coastal Carolina), Syracuse (Kyle McCord/Ohio State) and Wake Forest (Hank Bachmeier/Boise State and Louisiana Tech).

Other high-profile quarterbacks in the portal who were considering ACC schools in mid-December include Kansas State’s Will Howard (Miami), Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei (FSU) and Washington State’s Cam Ward (FSU and Miami). Uiagalelei played at Clemson for three seasons before transferring to Oregon State in 2023.

Reminder One: Current NCAA rules allow for two standard transfer windows in football: #1-a 30-day stretch that begins the day after the College Football Playoff teams are selected (meaning Dec. 4 through Jan. 2, 2024, this time), and #2-a 16-day period that arrives soon after schools’ spring practice schedules are completed (April 15-30, 2024).

Reminder Two: The players below are listed with their class/eligibility during the upcoming (2024) season. Under recently revised NCAA rules, virtually all major college transfers are immediately eligible at their new school.

2024 ACC Transfer Commitments/Signees
(Incoming)

Boston College (5)


Gardner-Webb DT Jai Barnes, Jr. (2-year reserve; 6-2, 300 pounds)
Georgia State CB Bryquice Brown, Gr. (3-year starter; 2023 captain; brother of NBA player Bruce Brown)
North Carolina TE Kamari Morales, Gr. (2023 backup; 2022 starter; 761 career receiving yards, 15 starts)
Ohio State CB Ryan Turner, r-So. (2023 reserve; 2022 redshirt)
Kansas State RB Treshaun Ward, Gr. (2023 backup; 1,884 rushing yards; 6 career starts at Florida State/2022)

California (3)

Cal-Davis LB Teddye Buchanan, Gr. (2023/2022 2nd/3rd-team All-Big Sky; 208 career tackles, 8 interceptions)
Notre Dame DT Aidan Keanaaina, Gr. (4-year reserve; 11 career tackles)
North Texas QB Chandler Rogers, Sr. (7,096 career passing yards, 53/15 TD/INT; 28 starts at ULM/UNT)

Clemson

none

Duke (1)

Pennsylvania DT Will Seiler, Gr. (3-year reserve; 6-4, 290 pounds; 45 career tackles)

Florida State (1)

Georgia LB Marvin Jones Jr., Jr. (2-year backup; son of FSU legend Marvin Jones Sr.; 1 career start)

Georgia Tech (5)

Tennessee CB Warren Burrell, Gr. (2023 reserve; injured 2022; 2021 full-time starter; 22 career starts)
Mississippi State TE Ryland Goede, Gr. (2023 part-time starter; 7 career starts at Georgia/MSU)
Louisville LB Jackson Hamilton, r-So. (2022/2023 reserve; 2021 redshirt)
Yale TE Jackson Hawes, Gr. (2x 2nd-team All-Ivy; 3-year starter; 6-5, 253 pounds)
Middle Tennessee State OG Keylan Rutledge, Jr. (1st-team All-CUSA; 2-year starter)

Louisville (14)

Alabama WR/KR/PR Ja’Corey Brooks, Jr. (3-year backup; 896 career receiving yards, 10 TD catches)
Miami RB Don Chaney Jr., Gr. (2-year backup; medical 2021/2022; 852 career rushing yards, 6 TDs)
Kentucky TE Izayah Cummings, Gr. (4-year backup at WR/TE; 293 career receiving yards, 4 starts)
Ohio State OL Victor Cutler Jr., Gr. (2023 reserve; 2-year starter at Louisiana-Monroe; 21 career starts)
Harvard DT Thor Griffith, Gr. (2x FCS All-American; 2x 1st-team All-Ivy; 3-year starter; 6-2, 320 pounds)
Florida International DT Jordan Guerad, r-Jr. (1st-team All-CUSA; 2-year starter; 83 career tackles, 19 starts)
Ball State TE Tanner Koziol, Jr. (3rd-team All-MAC; 2-year starter; 668 career receiving yards; 16 career starts)
South Alabama WR/PR Caullin Lacy, Gr. (1st-team All-Sun Belt; 3-year starter; 2,521 receiving yards, 32 starts)
Yale OT Jonathan Mendoza, Gr. (2023/2022 1st/2nd-team All-Ivy; 2-year starter; 6-9, 308; 20 career starts)
Texas Tech OT Monroe Mills, Gr. (2023 HM All-Big 12; 2-year starter; 6-6, 315; 22 career starts at LT/RT)
Northern Illinois OC Pete Nygra, r-Jr. (2-year starter; 6-4, 292 pounds; 23 career starts)
San Diego State TE Mark Redman, Gr. (2x 2nd-team All-MWC; 632 receiving yards; 25 starts at UW/SDSU)
Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough, Gr. (4,625 career passing yards, 36/17 TD/INT; 20 starts at Oregon/Texas Tech)
Central Florida CB Corey Thornton, Gr. (2023 HM All-Big 12; 2x PFF All-AAC; 4-year starter; 39 career starts)

Miami (3)Indiana OC Zach Carpenter, Gr. (2-year starter; 27 career starts at Michigan/Indiana)
NC State NT/DE CJ Clark, Gr. (2-year starter; 72 career tackles, 23 starts)
Vanderbilt S Savion Riley, r-So. (2023 backup; 2022 redshirt; 48 career tackles, 2 starts)
North Carolina (3)
Georgia OL Austin Blaske, Gr. (6-5, 310 pounds; 3-year backup at center, left tackle)
Texas A&M TE Jake Johnson, Jr. (2-year backup; he and brother Max = sons of ex-NFL QB Brad Johnson)
Texas A&M QB Max Johnson, r-Jr. (5,853 career passing yards, 47/12 TD/INT; 22 starts at LSU/A&M)
NC State (8)
Maryland CB Corey Coley Jr., Gr. (3-year backup; 6 career starts)
Maryland DB Tamarcus Cooley, r-Fr. (2023 backup/redshirt, 4 games; prep star from Rolesville HS)
Notre Dame OC Zeke Correll, Gr. (3-year starter; 6-3, 306 pounds; 31 career starts)
Missouri OT Valen Erickson, r-So. (6-5, 304 pounds; did not play in 2023; 2022 redshirt)
Wake Forest WR Wesley Grimes, Jr. (372 career receiving yards, 5 TD catches, 3 starts)
Connecticut TE Justin Joly, Jr. (578 receiving yards #6 among FBS TEs in 2023; 9 career starts)
Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall, Gr. (3x Sun Belt POY; 10,005 career passing yards, 88/14 TD/INT)
Duke RB Jordan Waters, Gr. (2023 3rd-team All-ACC; 1,624 career rushing yards)
Pittsburgh (6)
Western Carolina WR Censere Lee, Jr. (1,426 career receiving yards, 14 TD catches, 14 starts)
Kansas State DE Nate Matlack, Gr. (2023 backup; part-time starter in 2021, 2022; 7 career starts)
Nebraska CB Tamon Lynum, r-Jr. (2-year reserve; 14 career tackles)
Clemson DE David Ojiegbe, r-Fr. (2023 reserve/redshirt; 4-star prep prospect from D.C. area)
Western Carolina RB Desmond Reid, Jr. (2x All-SoCon; 1,723 career rushing yards, 18 touchdowns)
Connecticut LS Nilay Upadhyayula, r-Jr. (2023 starter)
Southern Methodist (5)
Oklahoma OG Nate Anderson, Gr. (4-year reserve; 4-star prospect from Reedy HS in Dallas suburbs)
Oregon WR Ashton Cozart, r-Fr. (2023 redshirt; 4-star prospect from Marcus HS in Dallas suburbs)
Miami DE Jahfari Harvey, Gr. (3-year part-time starter; 10.5 career sacks, 18 starts)
Georgia DT Jonathan Jefferson, r-Jr. (2-year reserve; 6-3, 295 pounds; 6 career tackles)
West Virginia DT Mike Lockhart, Gr. (2023 starter; 6-3, 309 pounds; 19 career starts at Georgia Tech/WVU)
Stanford
none

Syracuse (5)

Buffalo S Devin Grant, Jr. (2023 1st-team All-MAC; 88 career tackles, 5 INTs, 11 starts)
Georgia WR Zeed Haynes, r-Fr. (2023 redshirt/4 games; highly rated 2023 prospect from Philadelphia)
West Virginia LB James Heard Jr., r-Fr. (2023 redshirt; prep star from Camden HS in New Jersey)
Ohio State QB Kyle McCord, Sr. (2023 starter; 3,776 career passing yards, 27/8 TD/INT, 13 starts)
Georgia WR Jackson Meeks, Sr. (3-year reserve; 132 career receiving yards)

Virginia (5)
...


https://theacc.com/news/2023/12/19/general-greatness-is-amonumental-fall-semester-for-the-acc.aspx (theacc.com)

Greatness is …A Monumental Fall Semester for the ACC

  • Four ACC teams win NCAA Titles, most of any conference
  • Eleven bowl-eligible teams, the most of all Power 5 conferences
  • Among the nation’s best in academic metrics - U.S. News and World Report Rankings and NCAA Graduation Success Ratings
  • Relocation of the office headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Addition of three world-class institutions Cal, SMU and Stanford
  • Launch of a new brand campaign

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference continues to ACCOMPLISH GREATNESS with a monumental start to the 2023-24 academic year.

The 2023 fall season saw four different ACC teams win four NCAA Titles across the seven league-sponsored fall sports. The conference as a whole, also continued to rank among the nation’s best in both U.S. News and World Report Rankings and NCAA Graduation Success Ratings while making momentous changes to the league with the relocation of the office headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina, the announcement of the addition of three world-class institutions in University of California (Cal), Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Stanford University and the launch of a new brand campaign.

“It has been another terrific season for the ACC, and we are so proud of the continued success of our amazing student-athletes, coaches, and programs,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “The athletic and academic accomplishments by our member institutions are second-to-none, and we look forward to watching our winter and spring sports as they each strive for ACC and NCAA Championships.”

ACC teams finished 2022-23 with a league-record nine NCAA titles alongside 29 individual national championships. Combined with the seven national titles won in 2021-22, the league’s 16 team national championships during the last two academic years are a conference record and the most of any conference.

With the addition of the four new team national championships this fall season, which were all ACC Champions in their respective sports, the ACC has totaled 20 NCAA titles since 2021-22. The four national titles thus far this year are the most of any conference nationally, while the 20 total titles are the most NCAA titles among all conferences over the last three years. The next most NCAA Titles during that stretch is 17.

National Success:
ACC teams won NCAA championships this fall in the following sports:

  • Women’s Cross Country – NC State (three-straight NCAA Titles)
  • Field Hockey – North Carolina (two-straight, and five of last six NCAA Titles)
  • Women’s Soccer – Florida State (two of last three NCAA Titles)
  • Men’s Soccer – Clemson (two of last three NCAA Titles; three-straight NCAA Titles for ACC teams)
Additionally, five ACC teams joined the conference’s NCAA championship squads in reaching the national finals or semifinals during the fall season, also the most of any conference:
  • Virginia Field Hockey – NCAA Semifinals
  • Duke Field Hockey – NCAA Semifinals
  • Clemson Women’s Soccer – NCAA Semifinals
  • Notre Dame Men’s Soccer – NCAA Finals
  • Pitt Volleyball – NCAA Semifinals
ACC football has 11 bowl-eligible teams, the most of all Power 5 conferences, and four teams ranked in the final College Football Playoff Rankings – Florida State (No. 5), Louisville (No. 15), NC State (No. 18), and Clemson (No. 22).

https://accfootballrx.blogspot.com/2023/12/links-news-and-rumors-2023-dec-19.html (RX; HM)

Links, News and Rumors 2023 Dec 19

From Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports:
Top 10 recruits, 10 different schools: NIL has helped spread the wealth ... of talent
Early Signing Day is shaping up to be "somewhat historic". Why?

The top 10 recruits in the country were committed to 10 different schools.
That’s never happened before, at least not since Rivals began ranking recruits back in 2006...
In the past, top recruits tended to bunch together, usually to sign with one of the hot programs of the moment or a steady national champion contender. In 2020, for example, Clemson signed three of the top four recruits alone.
This year's top 10 players are committed to Ohio State, Nebraska, Missouri, Alabama, Auburn, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas and Miami.
...

https://accfootballrx.blogspot.com/2023/12/realigned-fb-titles-by-conference-1973.html (RX; HM)


Realigned FB Titles by Conference, 1973-2022

In answer to some ignorant talk about how the ACC has been the weakest of the Power Five leagues, I've created this table of realigned national champions (listng each under their 2024 conference):

SeasonChamp2024 inSECACCB1GXIIIND
2022GeorgiaSEC1
2021GeorgiaSEC1
2020AlabamaSEC1
2019LSUSEC1
2018ClemsonACC1
2017AlabamaSEC1
2016ClemsonACC1
2015AlabamaSEC1
2014Ohio StateB1G1
2013Florida StateACC1
Decade subtotal63100
SeasonChamp2024 inSECACCB1GXIIIND
2012AlabamaSEC1
2011AlabamaSEC1
2010AuburnSEC1
2009AlabamaSEC1
2008FloridaSEC1
2007LSUSEC1
2006FloridaSEC1
2005TexasSEC1
2004USCB1G1
2003LSUSEC0.5
USCB1G0.5
Decade subtotal9.500.500
Running total15.531.500
SeasonChamp2024 inSECACCB1GXIIIND
2002Ohio StateB1G1
2001MiamiACC1
2000OklahomaSEC1
1999Florida StateACC1
1998TennesseeSEC1
1997MichiganB1G0.5
NebraskaB1G0.5
1996FloridaSEC1
1995NebraskaB1G1
1994NebraskaB1G1
1993Florida StateACC1
Decade subtotal33400
Running total18.565.500
SeasonChamp2024 inSECACCB1GXIIIND
1992AlabamaSEC1
1991WashingtonB1G0.5
MiamiACC0.5
1990ColoradoXII0.5
Ga TechACC0.5
1989MiamiACC1
1988Notre DameIND1
1987MiamiACC1
1986Penn St.B1G1
1985OklahomaSEC1
1984Brigham YoungXII1
1983MiamiACC1
Decade subtotal241.51.51
Running total20.51071.51
SEASONCHAMP2024 inSECACCB1GXIIIND
1982Penn St.B1G1
1981ClemsonACC1
1980GeorgiaSEC1
1979AlabamaSEC1
1978AlabamaSEC0.5
USCB1G0.5
1977Notre DameIND1
1976PittsburghACC1
1975OklahomaSEC1
1974USCB1G0.5
OklahomaSEC0.5
1973Notre DameIND0.5
AlabamaSEC0.5
Decade subtotal4.52201.5
Running total251291.52.5

The fact of the matter is that the ACC as currently configured has the second most national titles of any football conference over the last 50 years!
...


https://www.espn.com/college-footba...tate-discussing-future-acc-following-cfp-snub (ESPN; Adelson)

Florida State has had renewed in-depth discussions about its long-term future in the ACC in recent weeks, sources told ESPN, with talks reignited following the Seminoles' omission from the College Football Playoff earlier this month.

That snub, which occurred after the Seminoles completed a perfect 12-0 regular-season record before winning the ACC championship game, angered many at the university and among its board of trustees, essentially the last straw after a year spent voicing their displeasure with the conference.

The situation is expected to come to a head in the near future and be formally discussed soon, sources indicated to ESPN. While there has been renewed discussion, no board of trustees meeting has been called.
...


Other

3R7IKKA2GNHSLEX32Y6KLQCPQU.JPG

Changes to Interstate 81 will make it easier for drivers to get in and out of the Inner Harbor in Syracuse. Scott Schild | sschild@syracuse.com Scott Schild | sschild@syracuse.comScott Schild | sschild@syracuse.

https://www.syracuse.com/news/2023/...arbor-more-inviting-for-drivers-visitors.html (PS; Breidenbach)

Most of the attention on the state’s plan to remake Interstate 81 in Syracuse has been on downtown, but the $2.25 billion project could also bring some life to the long-neglected Inner Harbor.

From Downtown to Destiny USA, the state is preparing to fix exits, entrances and bridges over the highway. State officials also plan to spend significant energy to make city streets more appealing for drivers who won’t need to use the highway for a short trip.

The hope: Make the struggling waterfront neighborhood more inviting to drivers, visitors and development.

If you’ve ever tried to navigate I-81 around the Syracuse Inner Harbor or Destiny USA, you know it’s not easy. Sometimes, you wind up in a jam around the Regional Market. Southwest of the highway, you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of acres of vacant land on a long path to the entrance ramp.

To get back on the highway, you have to throw yourself into high-speed traffic.

The I-81 project gives the state a chance to fix highway entrances and exits that never made sense.

It also gives an extra boost to a part of the city that for years officials have been struggling to make more inviting for developers. There are hundreds of acres of vacant land on unappealing, unlit streets near Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.

The state is working to award the third of eight contracts on the large I-81 project. The state rejected the first round of bids earlier this month because they all came in with overestimated costs. They plan to start again early next year, officials said.

This part of the project extends from the Butternut Street bridge to the mall.

The state will close three entrance ramps and eventually build a new interchange near the mall. That means drivers will have just one place to get on and off at Bear and North Clinton streets instead of driving alongside the highway on Genant Drive and merging into high-speed traffic.

The winning contractor will design the details, but generally, the project also calls for big improvements to the streets and sidewalks away from the highway.
...
 

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