Who do the Orange turn to with one spot left on the staff?
It’s already been a pretty busy offseason for the Syracuse Orange football program, and there’s still more work to do, as head coach Dino Babers noted on Monday. Along with hitting the transfer portal and finishing up the 2022 recruiting class, Babers also shared that the final coaching staff spot will be filled by a wide receivers coach.
Who could Syracuse turn to in order to fill that role, though? This is far from a foolproof list, but based on Babers’s connections, relationships generated through new additions Robert Anae and Jason Beck, or just hot/available coaches, here are some names to keep an eye on. Will say that’s it’s largely based on a list of possibly available coaches, though.
Del Alexander, WR coach, Notre Dame
Could Syracuse be the beneficiary of yet another Power Five coaching change? Notre Dame’s new direction led to Alexander not being retained on Marcus Freeman’s staff, so he’s now a free agent. While the Irish haven’t been a prolific passing attack the entire time since Alexander arrived in 2017, they’ve had their moments (this past year was pretty solid), and he finds success on the recruiting trail. According to 247Sports, he’s landed 15 different four-stars over the years. He has West Coast ties (USC) and is at least worth a call at this point.
Jafar Williams, WR coach, Virginia Tech
Admittedly, Tech wide receivers haven’t been much to brag about these past four years, but Williams is available, has experience at both Rutgers and Maryland. He’s landed a ton of skill position players around the country, and has coached a couple players that wound up in the NFL as well.
Marcus Davis, WR coach, Hawaii
Davis is currently employed at Hawaii, but since things appear to be coming apart under Todd Graham, there’s an opportunity to poach. Plus, both Dino and Robert Anae have direct ties to Hawaii and can make the sell if Davis is interesting in leaving. He’s not overly experienced, with just a couple years under his belt, but he’s worked at both Florida State and Auburn (his alma mater). The fact that he only graduated six years ago could be a real recruiting assist.
Andre Allen, WR coach, Washington State
Another guy with Hawaii ties, Allen’s spent the last two years at Wazzu, where the Cougars have had top-40ish passing attacks. Before that, he was part of prolific offensive staffs at Hawaii, and he also has a lot of California ties from his long stay (27 years) at CCSF. So he’s not a young up-and-comer, which could be appealing given the tepid situation SU’s staff may be in right now.
John Allen, WR coach, UConn
Skip Holtz’s firing at Louisiana Tech put his staffers on the market over a month ago, and Allen wound up at UConn shortly thereafter. Is it likely that he’s leaving a gig he just got for an opportunity on a hot seat staff? Perhaps not. Though Syracuse should also be able to pay to make it happen up against the Huskies. The Bulldogs were a top-40 passing attack last year, FWIW.
Matthew Middleton, WR coach/offensive recruiting coordinator, Kent State
Matthew’s a tertiary branch off the Dino tree by way of being on Sean Lewis’s staff now at Kent State. And on top of his wide receiver coach duties, he’s also in charge of offensive recruiting, which is a plus for an Orange staff that’s struggled on the trail this cycle. As you probably now, Kent State’s offense has been impressive since Lewis arrived, though the passing attack hasn’t always been the biggest aspect of that success. He’d be a recruiting-focused hire with the experience to grow into a great receivers coach as well.
Eric Scott, WR coach/passing game coordinator, San Jose State
Scott’s still employed at SJSU, but has a direct tie to Babers from their shared time at UCLA (2006-07) and has L.A. roots as well. The passing game was typically top-40 when he was at his previous stop at Nevada, and he’s served in a recruiting capacity as well. Bringing Scott aboard would pull him away from the West Coast where he’s spent his entire coaching career since 1999, so it’s a possible long shot. But he could be an interesting hire.
Alex Bailey, WR coach, Colorado State
Bailey is looking for a new gig since Steve Addazio was let go in Fort Collins, and while he’s only spent a single season as a wide receiver coach — 2021 where the Rams’ passing game was 52nd in the country — he has a bunch of experience as a recruiting-focused assistant. He’s handled portions of recruiting duties at Ball State and Valparaiso, and went to Youngstown State. The big draw is that he’s coached some great receivers at Ball State, including Justin Hall (over 300 career receptions), KeVonn Mabon (244 receptons) and Jordan Williams (200).
Again, not an exhaustive list, but at least a look at some coaches that could at least be sort of available when Syracuse makes the hire (hopefully soon). Have anyone else that should realistically be on the list for the Orange? Share your own ideas below.