National Signing Day 2015 is over for most schools at this point, so why not take this time to assess what others have. We've already summarized Syracuse's recruiting class (which was finalized pretty early today), but it's also worth seeing just how well we stack up with our ACC cohorts' respective classes.
First, the raw numbers. Keep in mind that we're not endorsing stars or anything like that -- they're not as useful for prospects outside of the top-300. Just including them here for you guys as a reference (all numbers from 247Sports):
|School||Ranking||Total||Top Recruit (National Rank)|
|Florida State||3||20||S Derwin James (5)|
|Clemson||8||25||WR Deon Cain (19)|
|Miami||26||21||RB Mark Walton (83)|
|North Carolina||28||19||DE Jalen Dalton (57)|
|Virginia Tech||29||24||DT Tim Settle (101)|
|NC State||30||23||RB Johnny Frasier (75)|
|Louisville||32||24||OLB Darius Smith (315)|
|Georgia Tech||43||27||WR Christian Philpott (504)|
|Virginia||47||23||LB Jahvoni Simmons (150)|
|Duke||50||18||OLB Ben Humphreys (164)|
|Wake Forest||53||22||QB Kyle Kearns (519)|
|Boston College||55||25||G Wyatt Knopfke (487)|
|Pittsburgh||61||14||CB Jordan Whitehead (106)|
|Syracuse||62||26||RB Dontae Strickland (460)|
Get down about that "last-place" finish if you really need to, but in reality, it doesn't mean much. The Orange grabbed a solid class that addressed glaring needs on the roster, and also managed a full class (yes, there are still two spots left). The difference between these subjective rankings is minimal for the bottom third of the conference, so there's really very little separating us from Virginia at nine, other than a four-star recruit (which again, is subjective). Rivals listed us in the top-50 because they see a couple four-stars in this class. All of that is fine. We know we have talented kids here, regardless of how many "stars" they have. If they're not in the top 300, stars don't mean nearly as much.
On top of a better-than-those-numbers-let-on showing above, Syracuse WAS able to lock up top players at their respective positions. Sure, they may be special teams guys, but that's progress. Not included below is Matt Keller, who committed in December and is the top-ranked long snapper in the country. The list here shows the top ACC recruit at each position on the field:
|QB||Deondre Francois||Florida State|
|RB||Jacques Patrick||Florida State|
|WR||George Campbell||Florida State|
|C||Tommy Hatton||North Carolina|
|DE||Josh Sweat||Florida State|
|CB||Tarvarus McFadden||Florida State|
|S||Derwin James||Florida State|
See? TWO different Syracuse players in this recruiting cycle were the best at their position. For those fans who sat through the GERG era, that wasn't happening then. It wasn't when Doug Marrone was here either, honestly. It's been a building process, and it continues to be a building process. This year, we hang our hat on this. Next, we hang our hat on something bigger. Rinse, repeat, and repeat again...
Some additional takeaways, which pertain to Syracuse to varying degrees:
- The 26-man class was the second-largest in the conference -- only Georgia Tech (who really swung and missed last offseason) had more.
- Florida State was about one more stud prospect from the second overall spot in the national recruiting rankings. Want to know why this team's a national title contender every year? That's why.
- For all the talk about Virginia's recruiting, you can see that four years of diminishing on-field returns have taken their toll. Mike London can't work miracles when kids are seeing losing records. Bowl games -- no matter how bad -- matter. I could go off on a scheduling tangent here, but will spare you...
- Clemson pulls in yet another top class. If we're going to catch them the 'Noles, we're going to need to start getting closer to that caliber of athlete. Otherwise, third place in the Altantic is SU's ceiling.
- Wake Forest's late push gets them out of the basement, but that shouldn't discourage 'Cuse fans. Tyler Cross sticking with SU after visiting the Deacs means a whole lot more.
- We're going to circle back on scheduling one more time. LOOK AT NC STATE RIGHT NOW. That has little to do with George McDonald, honestly, and much more to do with scheduling. The Wolfpack beat up on a garbage slate each year and in return they get to bounce up in the recruiting rankings (and had two top-100 guys this year). Let's do that!
Other takeaways? Anything worrisome on the horizon based on what we see here? Share below.