April 18, 2011

First 'Cuse commit talks Orange

Manlius (N.Y.) Christian Brothers junior defensive end Ben Barrett committed to Syracuse in late January, more than one year before National Signing Day for his class.

That's a pretty good sign that the 6-foot-4, 255-pound prospect was convinced he wanted to play for the Orange.

A two-way lineman that stars at offensive guard and defensive end for Christian Brothers, Barrett is coming off a big junior season that translated into an offer from Syracuse and interest from Penn State, Navy, Army, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Boston College.

"I committed the Saturday or Sunday before Signing Day," Barrett recalled. "I think it was January 30 or January 31 ... something like that.

"A lot of it was the coaching staff. I love the coaching staff down there, especially coach (Doug) Marrone from the top down. They're unbelievable. They're guys I'm going to love playing for and guys I have respect for. The year before I was up around Syracuse a lot because we did a lot of team camps around there.

"The school is great academically and I grew up loving Syracuse football. There was just something about coach Marrone when he took over. They had a couple of down years before he got there and now he's really turned things around."

Though listed as a defensive end it's not clear what position Barrett will play in college.

"When they recruited me they told me they don't know where they'll put me yet," he said. "They want to see how I mature and how my body fills out."

Barrett had been scheduled to attend junior days at Vanderbilt and Wake Forest but he canceled those plans after committing to the Orange.

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