Syracuse Orange fans are still feeling out Dino Babers and his regime, but after a weekend that saw a flurry of verbal commitments, there's no denying that the new guy in charge is already remaking the program in his image.
Saturday, Syracuse received verbals from three-star RB Jo-El Shaw, three star OL Michael Clark and two-star DT McKinley Williams. Early Sunday, commitments came in from three-star DB Evan Foster and three-star DE Jaquwan Nelson. Before the day was over, three-star S/WR Devin Butler and three-star S/OLB Rashad Smith had given their verbals as well.
Thanks to a slew of de-commitments in the weeks following Scott Shafer's firing, the Class of 2016 had dwindled down to just twelve players. After this weekend, that number has swelled all the way back up to 20.
This is as good a time as any to once again remind everyone that recruiting is a crapshoot, especially when you're talking about guys in the two/three-star range. That said, all signs point to Syracuse Football's 2016 Class being in much better shape now than it was a few weeks ago. Not just numbers-wise, but talent-wise as well.
This is not to trash the guys who have left the program. They are wished well today just as much today as they were when they were supposed to wear
platinum orange. But looking at this as a numbers game, you can make a strong case that SU Football recruiting is reaching higher and pulling in more talent now than it was under Shafer (even with a very small sample size).
One way we can figure out the value difference is to see where SU's de-commitments end up. Some of them have already found new homes, including Will Harper (Tulane), Darius Stubbs (Georgia State), Taylor Riggins (UMass), Sadiq Palmer (UMass) Noel Brouse (UConn) and Cam DeGeorge (UConn, flipped from Villanova). On paper, all of those programs would be considered "lesser" than Syracuse, at least in terms of stature and visibility. That's not to say these guys can't be successful, but it is what it is.
As for the others, Monquavion Brinson (Tulane lean), Brandon Ginnetti (BC lean) and Dymelle Parker (Indiana lean) are in roughly the same boat, though you could make a case BC and Indiana are currently on the same level as SU.
Only Lindsey Scott, who has offers from LSU and Maryland, would be categorized as a talent lured away by better programs. If there's one de-commitment Orange fans will keep an eye on over the years to see what would have been, it will be him.
But for the most part, Syracuse has replaced much of that lost talent and then some with the new verbals. That doesn't even take into account the talent that was already there in the class. RB Moe Neal, DE Jamal Holloway and QB Rex Culpepper lead the way on a talented collection of players.
Again, the future is unknown and never more so then when discussing recruiting, but if you look at things through the prism of cold, hard truths, the early returns on the Dino Baber Era seem extremely positive. Recruiting took a step forward under Scott Shafer and it seems as though it's about to take another one.
Now let's keep the Drake GIFs coming...