As the Syracuse Orange make the difficult transition into the ACC this fall, they will be doing so without wide receiver Corey Cooper, their top-ranked recruit from the class of 2013. It was announced this week that Cooper fell short academically and will be attending a prep school for at least one semester this year.
Cooper verbally committed to the Orange in late January, a surprise coup for newly hired head coach Scott Shafer. Cooper, a native of Raleigh, N.C., had over 20 scholarship offers, including ones from Miami, Tennessee and South Carolina. He had been a verbal commitment for the Louisville Cardinals, but changed his mind before signing day, ultimately deciding on Syracuse.
This news is a particularly tough blow for a Syracuse team that has to replace a number of talented players from a high-powered offense. Not only is Ryan Nassib, the school’s all-time leading passer, gone, but so too are wide outs Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales, the two top receivers for Syracuse in 2012.
Cooper had a legitimate shot to play on the outside opposite leading returning receiver Jarrod West. Syracuse is thin at wide receiver and no one stepped forward this spring to lay claim to the no. 2 receiver spot.
So, coach Shafer and his staff will have their work cut out for them as they prepare for the 2013 season. They won’t have much time as their season opener is against Penn State.
Oh, and their first scheduled game ever in the ACC? It’s against the favorites to win the ACC Championship this year, the Clemson Tigers.
Welcome to the ACC.
B.L. is an ACC Football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed @coachlip on Twitter.