Shafer plans to begin recruiting in Texas

Syracuse hasn’t touched the fertile recruiting ground that is the state of Texas much with Scott Shafer at the helm, but the first-year head coach knows firsthand just how valuable the territory is.

Shafer was the defensive coordinator at Stanford in 2007 when the Cardinal was recruiting Andrew Luck — a Houston native. He left for Michigan before the quarterback arrived in California, but watched from afar as he developed into a No. 1 draft pick and Heisman Trophy candidate.

“I was part of the recruiting process, and got to know his parents” Shafer said during a press conference in Houston on Friday, “and if we can find a couple guys like that I think it’d be well worth it.”

Shafer took a detour from recruiting in Florida on Friday for a press conference in Houston leading up to the Texas Bowl against Minnesota on Dec. 27. He arrived on a plane from Tampa earlier in the day before his 11 a.m. press conference and said he had “already met like five Syracuse people” in the area.

But Texas is largely an unfamiliar spot for the Orange. SU isn’t targeting any high school players from the state — JUCO quarterback Josh Greer is its only target of any kind from the state — but Shafer said he’s ready to start looking before Syracuse plays in the bowl game in two weeks.

“We’re going to put a couple of my new friends on detail work to start sending us some recruiting video across the Internet,” Shafer said. “Maybe we can come down and find some kids in the area.”

Before former head coach Doug Marrone left to take the same job with the Buffalo Bills, the most intriguing recruit in the Orange’s Class of 2013 was Zach Allen, a three-star quarterback from Temple, Texas. But when Marrone jumped for the NFL, Allen flipped his commitment to Texas Christian.

The majority of SU’s attention has been devoted to Florida, where offensive coordinator George McDonald has familiar ties, and across the East Coast.

“Those are the homes we’re going to be in the most,” Shafer said.

But Syracuse has also recruited well in the Midwest, a part of the country that Shafer grew up in. Shafer grew up watching and reading about schools, players and coaches in Texas. They were similar to the ones he was familiar with in Ohio where his father was a high school football coach, just with a “little bit different drawl.” But the philosophical background, he said, was the same.

“Who knows? Maybe this can be a bridge that opens up some opportunity to recruit some kids, and they can watch our guys play, and this is how relationships are built,” Shafer said. “Maybe we can find a couple and start the bridge down from Syracuse, N.Y., to Houston, Texas.”


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