At this point, my own feelings on the subject of #Restore44 are pretty well documented. Following the hashtag on Twitter, it’s also become pretty clear that I’m not alone on the subject. Well, recently a particularly ardent supporter of the movement asked me if I would publish an open letter to the Syracuse University coaching staff, and I feel comfortable enough at this point in obliging. Without further ado, here is an open letter to the Syracuse football coaching staff on what needs to happen with the number 44.

Dear Syracuse football coaching staff,

As Orange fans watch the days go by as we await the start of the 2015 season, and with the 2016 recruiting cycle still just starting to take shape, we would like to express our thoughts on this year’s recruiting. For the last two years we have watched as the recruiting cycle has grown stronger and stronger. However, we fear this year the 3-9 season of last year has hurt the new cycle. We stare vigilantly at the forums waiting for a “boom.” We refresh Twitter at lightning speed, hoping for news. We are so anxious, even a simple staff tweet of “Yes!” sent us into a frenzy. We have faith in your abilities, and in Coach Shafer we trust! Even the internet naysayers will bow to the staff’s recruiting abilities. However, we are growing a bit nervous at this time. Our nails are chewed, and our blood pressure is high.

Which brings us to today, and what can be done to put all of us at ease. We know you, too, must have a trepidation for the recruiting so far. Last year the success of the season before made it easier, and put us in a more comfortable position. As the days tick by and commitments for other schools mount, we must all be sharing the same fears.

We as fans want to put you at ease. We trust you. We want you all here for a long time. We want success for the staff and the team. Luckily we have an opportunity before us. We can set the world on fire with one easy step. We can begin what could be the best recruiting cycle in decades. The foundation has been laid the last two years, and this could be the one that puts us over the top.

You can land Robert Washington to start the cycle. A player who by himself can change the game, but as an added bonus wants to recruit other 2016 players to come to Syracuse with him! He is a player who has played with the “who’s who” of 2016 All-Stars for years. He has top tier friends, teammates, and family who would love to play for whichever team he chooses. This could change the entire landscape of Syracuse football for years to come!

As I said, we have the opportunity, but how do you seize that? We as fans want you to know we support Syracuse University in doing anything to make this happen! We have less than three weeks until Robert makes his decision. And we want him! We want him as a person, a student, and an athlete. You have made the offer and have watched him grow for three years now. You know the talent he has and the upside that he brings with him.

We also know he has publicly asked to wear the 44 jersey. He has said he wants to wear the jersey and continue the legend of Syracuse runningbacks. He wants to bring Syracuse back to the national stage. He has the talent every top program is dying for. Every coach in the country would love the opportunity you have in your hands. Imagine something as simple as a jersey number being the difference between Syracuse and TCU, or Alabama, or Florida….the list goes on and on.

We are also aware that with recent changes to the athletics department that may be a difficult time to bring back this legendary jersey number. For that, we have a simple request. Just make it clear to Robert you will do everything you can to bring the number back. Let him know we all want him. Let him know when the time is right, and the details worked out, the number can be his.

The current team wants him. The incoming class wants him. The alumni wants him. The fans want him. The staff wants him. And best of all, he has indicated a strong desire to be here! It’s time to separate Syracuse from the pack! Do whatever you need to get it done. Show Robert the family atmosphere this team has. Show him the great things this school has to offer. And above all, #Restore44 and let’s get this recruiting cycle off to the best start Syracuse has had in years!

Thank you,

The Fans!

Feel free to sign on to this sentiment by voicing your agreement in the comments, and make sure you sign the petition.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish