Blair’s denial leaves Syracuse, high school scratching heads

Syracuse’s football program announced a difficult piece of news on August 10, as Scott Shafer and his staff confirmed that proposed incoming freshman Marquise Blair was denied enrollment at SU by the NCAA, and would not be able to join the Orange this summer for training camp.

“We got notice that he (Blair) came up short,” Shafer told reporters on August 10. “He did everything asked of his school. He made the grades. I think they (the NCAA) just had a couple questions with the high school with a couple of courses, with the way they were handled.”

The news left Blair and his family let down, the folks at Syracuse frustrated, and the people at Wooster High School in Ohio — who worked so hard to get the defensive back eligible for college — scratching their heads as to what went wrong.

“For me, it was a little frustrating, but it was out of my control,” Shafer replied. “The most frustrating thing is a young man that put forth a ton of effort, overcame a lot of obstacles and did everything we asked. Unfortunately, the NCAA deemed him a little short.”

“We put together a plan for Marquise and he executed it flawlessly,” said Blair’s prep coach, Doug Haas, to Mike McAllister of “Unfortunately, in the NCAA’s eyes, they did not meet their course requirements.”

Haas was critical of the NCAA’s process, which took more than six weeks throughout the summer to come to completion, in a follow-up interview with’s Stephen Bailey.

The late judgment by the NCAA hindered Blair’s ability to find a subsequent home in time for the rapidly-approaching school year, with many Junior Colleges having already begun camp.

“If this is an organization that is supposed to be promoting kids, they sure did a poor job with this one,” said Haas. “Hanging a kid out to dry until August 6. The subjectivity that the NCAA took with regard to this, to me, penalizes the kid. I don’t know where the oversight is for them.”

Blair was a 3-star prospect ranked the No. 59 player in the state of Ohio in the Rivals class of 2015 rankings. Scout listed Blair as a 4-star recruit — the only one in Syracuse’s 2015 signing class — as well as the nation’s No. 24 safety prospect.

Shafer indicated that the Orange would continue recruiting Blair at a Junior College in hopes that he could potentially enroll at SU in the spring of 2017, when he’d have at least two more years of collegiate eligibility.

“Hopefully we’ll come on back and get him in a couple of years,” Shafer replied. “I felt like with Marquise Blair, the risk and reward was well worth waiting, because he’s a high character kid with a ton of ability. We look forward to coming after him hard in the next two years and getting him back here.”