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Syracuse Football Recruiting: Culpepper, Neal & Ruff Arrive on Campus

Three early enrollees for the Class of 2016 have arrived on campus for the Spring semester.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In the world of recruiting, very little is set in stone prior to National Signing Day. However, the Syracuse Orange have at least three recruits for the 2016 Class they are certain about because they've already enrolled.

Rex Culpepper is the lone QB in the recruiting class at this point after Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year Lindsey Scott de-committed to pursue other opportunities. Culpepper is a consensus three-star recruit, measuring in at 6'3", 225 lbs. and hailing from Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. Culpepper committed to Syracuse in June but then torn his ACL in July prior to his senior year at Plant.  Culpepper had an offer list that include the likes of Florida, Clemson, Ohio State, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia among others.

Once Coach Babers was hired, the new coaching staff made it a point to keep Culpepper on board, including a in-home visit the week the coaching staff took over. Culpepper has been rehabbing since the injury and expects to be able to participate fully in Spring practice.

Moe Neal was recruited as a hybrid back in Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester's system. When Coach Babers took over, his staff met with Neal to assure Neal there was a place for him in the new offense.  Neal is the most highly rated recruit in the 2016 class.  He is a 5'11" 160 lbs. all purpose running back and athlete. He will line up as both a running back and in the slot in Coach Babers' offense.

Kenneth Ruff was the first recruit the new coaching staff was able to "flip" from another program. Ruff was verbally committed to Virginia prior to switching to Syracuse. Chris Beatty, who was a running back coach at Virginia, may have assisted the Orange in acquiring Ruff's services, even if Beatty moved on the Maryland with former UVA Head Coach Mike London after working with the Orange for less than a month. Syracuse landing Ruff signaled a shift in defensive philosophy from speedy, undersized middle linebackers to bigger linebackers like Ruff.

According to 24/7 Sports, Culpepper, Neal and Ruff are three of the five highest rated recruits for Syracuse in the Class of 2016. Its nice to have them locked up ahead of time and allowing the staff to focus on other targets. Also, enrolling early enables these three to participate in Spring practices and prepare to contribute immediately in the 2016.