We start the defensive portion of this exercise today at Defensive End, as we dissect the committed recruits, and see what we’re looking at moving forward.
Micah Robinson, Redshirt Senior
Robert Welsh, Redshirt Senior
Trevon Trejo, True Senior
Donnie Simmons, Redshirt Junior
Ron Thompson, Redshirt Sophomore
Isaiah Johnson, True Sophomore
Chris Slayton, True Freshman
Dana Levine, Hallandale HS, FL (@D1_prospect17) – Levine was another George McDonald special, having committed to the Orange without seeing the school. He still hasn’t visited, but has family in Philly and New York.
Levine is raw as a football player, but you can see glimpses of the untapped potential in his tape. He has great agility for a defensive end, and a lanky frame that has a lot of room to fill out. He also appears to have great vision and identifies plays well enough to put him in the right position to make the tackle. I think Levine’s stock will rise greatly this season and this will be one of the kids the staff is in a dogfight to keep at the end of the year.
Offers – Syracuse, South Florida, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, UAB
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Brandon Ginnetti, Hamden Hall, CT (@Gknotts34) – Ginnetti, also an accomplished baseball player for Hamden Hall, committed to the Orange in June after his unofficial visit to the hill.
Ginnetti is an aggressive defensive end that delivers some punishing hits. While the competition he faced isn’t the best, you can only play against the team in front of you. Ginnetti proves he’s on a level above the kids he plays. He sheds blocks with his strength and wraps up very well. As a two-sport athlete, I believe once he concentrates on only football, his technique and ability will flourish and he should be a productive player for the Orange in the mold of Rob Welsh.
Offers – Syracuse, Boston College, Illinois, Army, Buffalo
Unlike the offensive positions, Syracuse is still recruiting players to fill a few more slots in this class. The defensive line position in particular is one where the Orange is looking to add at least one more prospect. Having missed on Jake Pickard (Wisconsin), it’s important for them to land Qaadir Sheppard (@HoopLife_Q13), Austrian Robinson (@UG_Aus), or Amir Ealey (@mir_montana24). Sheppard seems the most likely to join the 2015 class, as Robinson still hasn’t visited campus and Ealey seems like somewhat of a backup option. Nick Dawson (@iam_nick7) is an option as well.
The Orange is recruiting two types of Defensive End. The first is the strong side, run stopping DE in the mold of Rob Welsh and Micah Robinson, which is what Brandon Ginnetti will play here. The other is the weak side, speed rushing DE, like Donnie Simmons and Ron Thompson, which is what Dana Levine will play. I’d expect to see us follow this pattern in recruiting in the next few cycles as it’s an effective plan for the defense.
Syracuse having three seniors at the position means there isn’t a ton of depth moving forward. Also, the injuries at defensive tackle have forced Isaiah Johnson inside for the time being. So it’s important for the Orange to bring in at least three this class.
Tim Daoust is one of my favorite coaches on the staff here, and the kids absolutely love playing for him. It’s easy to see why Shafer made him his assistant head coach. Daoust has improved the defensive line every year that he’s coached here, and I’d expect it to continue moving forward.
I would expect us to be recruiting at least two more Defensive Ends in the next cycle. However, there aren’t any offers out at the position in the 2016 class yet so we’ll see what happens.
As I said last week about the O-Line, it’s an important philosophy to build a football team from the line of scrimmage, and shoring up the defensive end position is very important.