Qaadir Sheppard has been a prospect that Syracuse has been on since the beginning. And then off. And then on again. He had his official visit the same weekend as Ealey, Clark, Keller, and Dunkelberger, and became the 5th player to commit after that weekend. He ended his recruitment on Thursday by verbally committing to Scott Shafer and the Orange staff.
Sheppard becomes the 5th commit at DE in this class, and the 3rd commit from the state of New York. It's been a curious recruitment if you read the tea leaves and have paid attention behind the scenes. Eric White's twitter followed and unfollowed him two or three times, and there were times where it looked like we stopped recruiting him, but we always remained a constant name whenever he mentioned his top schools.
Qaadir also instantly became one of my favorite names on the team, as I am a huge fan of all-name teams. Syracuse fought off Pitt, BC, Rutgers, Virginia, UNC, UConn, and UCF to land the talented defensive end.
Another tape, another DE that athletically stands out. Qaadir is a kid that when he runs it almost looks effortless, and you can see that from the early clips of him at TE in this tape. Like Ealey, he could probably play both positions at the college level, but we need defensive end help bad. His football IQ looks very good from the tape, he overpursues a few times but generally looks to know exactly where the ball is.
I love his aggressiveness, he lays some vicious hits on the QB on this tape. He's definitely more of a physical rusher than a finesse guy, as the bull rush is definitely his preferred method and he doesn't appear to have too many moves. The good news is we have one of the best line coaches in the business and that, as well as his first step, will get better when he gets on campus.
Sheppard is definitely raw but there's a lot of talent here to mold into a solid defensive end. It'll be interesting to see if Sheppard still takes his UConn visit as he was supposed to visit them after the Dead Period ends, but I doubt they can match the Orange anyways.