Depending on your point of view, yesterday's news that Robert Washington was decommitting from Syracuse for 2016 was either surprising or expected. Sean dug into it from the perspective of simply losing the highly-touted running back. But now, we have to discuss the rest of the matter. What happens to the remainder of a still-talented class of 2016 for the Syracuse Orange football program?
We start with ATH Moe Neal, a good friend of RW's and a player many were concerned about the second yesterday's news arrived. Apparently there's nothing to be concerned about for now... he confirmed with Syracuse.com's Stephen Bailey that Washington's decision has no effect on his status with Syracuse. Neal's one of two players slotted in as a hybrid back right now, along with Atlanta's Darius Stubbs.
Another hybrid target, Tre Bryant, could now be back in play -- especially since the main factor for him choosing Kansas State back in July was the fact that he had a chance to be a traditional running back there. Now with that slot open at SU (and Orange recruiting director Eric White already following him again), perhaps that sweepstakes opens back up. Bryant got in touch with Bailey yesterday afternoon and (at least for now) he's still "pretty solid" on KSU.
By and large, other 2016 commits with a verbal Syracuse have not really weighed in on Washington's decision -- mostly because they weren't really tied to him. That could be a major relief for SU as the 2015 regular season gets started and recruiting gets even more hectic (and possibly tied to on-field results as well).
Some additional names to keep watch on, in relation to Washington:
- Tre Bryant, RB (St. Louis, Mo.): See notes above.
- Christian Colon, DT (Charlotte, N.C.): Long thought to be heavily tied to both RW and Neal, we now get to see if the latter is enough to get him to take a look at the Orange on his own. He has seemed pretty set on Penn State, and as we've discussed before: a visit to any other school would pull his PSU offer immediately. It would be pretty tough to imagine him flipping tothe Orange at this juncture.
- Tyler Thompson, RB (Oakhurst, N.J.): We haven't really spoken about Thompson up until this point, but he's worth taking a look at if Bryant's already sold on KSU. Despite an injury in 2014, he's still a well-regarded 3-star back who has interest in Syracuse already and an offer from the Orange as well. He scores similarly to Neal but obviously fills that more traditional role. He'd also assist SU in further re-establishing itself in New Jersey.
- Connell Young, RB (Greensboro, N.C.): Another prospect you probably haven't heard much about (me neither). Young only holds two offers right now, but one of those is from SU (which he received back in May). He's admittedly unrated by recruiting services, however the Orange cannot really afford to ignore his size (6'1", 200 pounds) given the current backfield's limited power options. He's probably not the team's top option, but that could change in a hurry with other names on this list committing elsewhere.
Amir Tyler, RB (Lakeood, N.J.): Tyler's unrated and seems under-recruited for the time begin. But with Pitt, UNC, Temple and others hanging around and offering, that's likely to change very soon. More to come here, for sure, as SU now wades back into the waters of talking to traditional running backs.
No matter what happens with the players above, Syracuse's 2016 class is very likely to be without a "marquee" name yet again. That sounds bad on paper because of what we "had' (yet didn't). But with any of the names above, plus the rest of a solid class remaining in the fold, the Orange can still find themselves in very good condition to improve come February.