Quarterback recruit Zach Allen works to keep recruiting class together, praises new head coach Shafer

Two candidates to replace Hackett as offensive coordinator come from outside the program.

Zach Allen has been working the phones, talking to who he hopes are his future Syracuse teammates and selling them on the program they all committed to play for.

Since Doug Marrone left for the head coaching job of the Buffalo Bills on Monday and took offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett with him two days later, Allen, a quarterback recruit from Temple, Texas, has been busy.

“This is one of the strongest recruiting classes Syracuse has had in a while,” Allen said, “but honestly, with Coach Marrone leaving and Coach Hackett leaving, it put a twist on a lot of the guys that had committed and what they thought about the program.”

Allen has been touted as perhaps the top recruit in the Orange’s class, a quarterback invited to ESPN’s Elite 11 Finals. Allen committed to Syracuse in May and his commitment has remained steadfast throughout the SU coaching changes following the team’s 8-5 season. The Orange’s new head coach, Scott Shafer, has been SU’s defensive coordinator the last four seasons and will be introduced in a press conference Friday. Allen praised the direction Shafer wants to take the team.

“He’s been waiting for an opportunity like this his whole career and he’s going to make the most of it,” Allen said. “Everything I’ve heard; he’s a great coach. I really liked him when I went up on my visits and I just feel really comfortable playing under him.”

Allen thinks he spoke with about 10 recruits this week, attempting to keep them sold on the program. Those recruits included outside linebacker Devan Carter of Rochester, N.Y., and running back Augustus Edwards of Staten Island, N.Y., two players who have softened their verbal commitments to Syracuse. Edwards said on his Twitter account he would be taking three visits to other schools.

Carter and Edwards were not the only recruits thinking about their decision, Allen said, though he would not specify who else was questioning their commitment. He said the concern of fellow recruits spiked when news broke that Marrone was headed to Buffalo.

“A couple guys were talking about taking visits and then they were just interested in looking at other opportunities, making sure they’re not missing out,” Allen said.

Allen and Hackett spoke on Tuesday, Allen said, and Hackett told him the program is looking at two new offensive coordinator candidates who will run the same offense Hackett ran.

The two candidates under consideration are outside the current coaching staff, Allen said.

“He said they’re really fired up, real intense, always just wanting the players to be better,” Allen said of the two offensive coordinator candidates Hackett told him about, “and that’s someone I can play under every day.”

Allen said his fellow recruits on both sides of the ball are largely buying into his vision of the program’s future and of the offense under Hackett’s replacement. He has not spoken to Shafer since Tuesday.

Defensive end Malik Brown, an SU commit from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., texted with Allen throughout the day Wednesday.

“He was like, ‘stay committed,’ you know what I’m saying,” Brown said. “’If we keep it together, we all as a recruiting class stay together, we can win a ACC Championship.’”


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