Well, this is not the best way to start the week. We’ve known for awhile that highly touted safety prospect Marquise Blair probably wasn’t making it to Syracuse University this fall, but now it’s apparently become official. Scout.com’s Mike McAllister first reported the news, which is a big blow to the Orange but not one that comes as much of a surprise.
Blair, a 4-star talent from Ohio, completed all of his coursework but the NCAA clearinghouse has been investigating several of his classes over the summer, and determined that several of the courses he took do not meet their criteria for eligibility. According to the report by McAllister, Blair is five credits short and therefore must proceed to the junior college ranks. For awhile, it seemed as if Blair would be headed to prep school for the fall semester and then head to the Hill in January, but that’s no longer a possibility.
Instead, Blair needs to graduate from junior college in order to become eligible to compete at the NCAA Division I level, which means the soonest Syracuse could see the talented defensive back is 2017. This is the second straight year the NCAA has denied one of Syracuse top prospects, following quarterback Alin Edouard last season. Edouard is still working through the junior college ranks in hopes of finding a landing spot with an NCAA school, with Syracuse more than likely no longer a possible destination. Hopefully, that will not be the case for Blair, who probably would have come right in and cracked the 2-deep, or even potentially earned a starting spot at safety, had he been cleared to attend SU this season.
Now, the Orange need the young defensive backs to step up even more than they were already expecting, and it’s worth keeping an eye on physical safeties Christopher Fredrick and Kielan Whitner in particular. Both are already two of the larger safeties on the roster, and physically ready to step in and compete. Daivon Ellison is another possibility in the freshman class, but at 5-foot-8 he’s a little less likely to step in as a true freshman.
What this means now is that Blair’s scholarship has been freed up to go to linebacker Adam Giordano, most likely, which does help the 2016 class. Giordano was expected to take one of the scholarship spots for the class of 2016, but with Blair no longer a possibility for this year or the 2016 class, there’s no reason for Giordano to be pushed back, so he should be able to take a spot in the 2015 class and free up an additional scholarship for 2016.