Syracuse University inked three of Long Island's top football players early this morning. Riverhead linebacker Malcolm Cater, Lawrence quarterback John Kinder and St. Anthony's defensive tackle Rob Welsh will all play for the Orange in the fall. Cater, the co-winner of the Hansen Award, presented to Suffolk's top player, turned down offers from multiple D-I schools to accept coach Doug Marrone's invitation.
"Syracuse is the right place for me," said Cater, who also won the Collotta Award given to Suffolk's top linebacker. "The coaching staff made me to feel very comfortable. And the head coach, Doug Marrone, treated me like family."
Kinder felt he same love from the Syracuse coaching staff. "It's a very exciting day," said Kinder, who led Lawrence to the Long Island Class III championship game. "I'm a part of Coach Marrone's first recruiting class and that's something I definitely wanted to be a part of. And the fan base in Syracuse is phenomenal. That's important for an athlete."
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Welsh, a bruising defensive tackle or end, was also excited at the prospect of playing in the Carrier Dome. He felt he could become a part of something big -- the rebirth of Syracuse football.
"It's the best feeling because we really are gonna turn it around," Welsh said. "It's a perfect spot. Everyone was friendly, they treated me like I was already there. I just realized this was where I was meant to play. It's awesome."
Stony Brook University also landed its share of prominent Long Island players. Half Hollow Hills West halfback JeVahn Cruz, Sachem North halfback Davon Lawrence and Roosevelt's defensive star Jawara Dudley will all play for the Seawolves in the fall. Cruz, the co-winner of the Hansen Award, led the Colts to the Long Island Class III championship with a win over Lawrence. The electrifying Cruz finished the season with a Long Island record 48 total touchdowns. The dual threat passed for 24 touchdowns and ran for 24 more.
"It's a big day for me and my family," Cruz said. "And there's a great opportunity to play at Stony Brook."
Brentwood wide receiver Christopher Jean-Pierre accepted a scholarship as a preferred walk-on at Bowling Green. The speedy Jean-Pierre, who had great leaping ability, earned the National Football Foundation's award as Suffolk's top receiver, caught 47 passes and scored 16 touchdowns this season.