New Jersey is quickly becoming a hotbed for college football talent -- something Syracuse fans were aware of for a long time, and in particular, were sensitive about when the program lost its recruiting foothold in the state next door. Even while reestablishing its Northeast connections during the Doug Marrone regime, the Orange still needed to get itself more firmly entrenched in New Jersey again to start a real push back to success.
As you know, this is where Bobby Acosta came in last season. Starting off as a tight ends coach, and this year, promoted to handling wide receivers, the New Jersey native arrived to give SU the boost it needed in the area (he and Scott Shafer were clear about that goal too). A little over a year later, the results are impressive, as the coach's "$avage" approach is resonating with kids in the region.
In his (relatively) short time on campus, Acosta already has the following recruits attributed to him:
- Trey Dunkelberger, TE (PA)
- Jake Pickard, DE (NJ)
- Tyrone Perkins, RB (NY)
- , RB (NJ)
- Daivon Ellison, DB (NJ)
- Jordan Fredericks, RB (NY)
- Kenny Carter, OL (NJ)
You can also add 2016 commit Sadiq Palmer (wide receiver; NJ) after the Red Bank Regional High School product announced he'll go with the Orange this past weekend. Palmer is also friends with three-star QB recruit Anthony Brown, another SU target in the state.
So while we're still pushing to get into those conversations for the four-star guys in New Jersey, it's clear that Acosta has the Orange raiding the state for quality talent. The Orange are becoming part of the decision process for most NJ recruits, and that's a great start toward bigger things. Acosta's family-oriented approach has been a hit in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, and that's likely to continue. And the more success these local guys see -- looking at Dunkelberger, Pickard, Strickland and Perkins in particular right now -- at SU, the more likely Acosta gets more talent to buy in.
At this moment, no, Acosta may not be the Orange's most noteworthy name on staff. Or the chief offensive strategist, or anything else like that. But to go back to the original premise of the post: he IS the most important member of this coaching staff as it relates to bringing in talent. And he's done it in about 14 months. If SU improves its lot in the ACC, it's going to be on the shoulders of these (largely) New Jersey kids. Expect to see a lot more of them in the door going forward -- or as long as Acosta's with us (please let that be awhile).