Over the years, former Syracuse University football players have produced some offspring with elite athletic talent. Unfortunately for the Orange, they program hasn’t had much luck in getting them to follow in dad’s footsteps. The Orange are hoping to change their luck with offensive line talent Jack Wohlabaugh, a 6-foot-4 prospect and the son of former Syracuse star offensive lineman Dave Wohlabaugh, who enjoyed a long career in the NFL.
Earlier today, CuseNation.com published a story for premium members about Wohlabaugh, and obviously I’m not going to delve into what the article actually says, out of respect for the subscription based model. What I will say is that there have been some fears among Syracuse fans that former head coach Doug Marrone may have left a sour taste in the mouths of some former Orangemen, and that could wind up being a massive hurdle in landing any of their progeny.
While it’s true that Marrone was less than welcoming to former Orange players in his time on the Hill, the good news is that he doesn’t appear to have rubbed Dave Wohlabaugh wrong, as the CuseNation article did indicate a friendly relationship does still exist between the former star and his alma mater (Wohlabaugh’s wife is also an SU alum).
Jack Wohlabaugh is a 3-star prospect, and is getting interest from numerous schools, particularly around the midwest. Akron, Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), Kentucky, Boston College, Minnesota, Purdue, Rutgers, Toledo, and Western Michigan have all offered in addition to Syracuse, with other schools like Ohio State and Michigan also expressing interest.
But having ties to Syracuse doesn’t necessarily mean much, as I alluded to at the outset. After all, there have been some high level talents with orange in their blood who have chosen not to attend Syracuse. The most high profile legacy to have spurned Syracuse in recent years is Rob Gronkowski, the all-world tight end for the New England Patriots who chose to head to Arizona rather than follow his father Gordy’s footsteps and play at Syracuse. The Orange were a consideration for Gronk, but ultimately the west coast, beautiful weather and, since this is Gronk we’re talking about, almost certainly co-eds of the University of Arizona won out.
More recently, the Orange lost out on Joey Ehrmann, the son of former Orangeman Joe Ehrmann, who played for Syracuse in the early 1970’s. Ehrmann the younger held an offer from Syracuse, but chose to play his college ball at Wake Forest, where he eventually became a starting linebacker for the Demon Deacons. Another legacy recruit that Syracuse failed to reel in Tebucky Jones, Jr., the son of former Syracuse star safety and longtime NFL player Tebucky Jones. Jones committed to Connecticut, before eventually winding up at Fordham. Of course with Jones, it never seemed like he was as high a priority for the Orange staff as Gronkowski or Ehrmann were, but it’s still another lost chance to land a legacy recruit.
Most recently, Syracuse was going hard after a wide receiver recruit named Corey Holmes, a 4-star talent from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale – a school that has had some strong ties to the Orange over the years through several recruits along with its former head coach, Rocco Casullo, whose own dad coached at Syracuse. Holmes is the son of David Holmes, a former standout defensive back for the Orange in the 1980’s. Corey Holmes was one of the most highly sought after wide receiver prospects in America, ranking No. 94 on ESPN.com’s Top 300 for the class of 2013. He had offers from basically every high major program in the country, including the Orange, and eventually signed with Notre Dame. Holmes redshirted last season, so we’ll still have to wait and see how big a miss that will turn out to have been for the Orange.
Scott Shafer and his staff will be hoping to turn things around with Jack Wohlabaugh, and the early indications are that they’re on the right track. Having a built in relationship with a high level prospect is supposed to be a huge advantage on the recruiting trail, but it’s one that Syracuse has unfortunately been unable to use over the last decade with some of its legacy recruits. We’ll have to see if the tide will begin to turn with Jack Wohlabaugh.