As a former running back himself -- and a pretty good one at that -- new Syracuse Orange running backs coach Mike Hart obviously brings some expertise to the role. But beyond his knowledge of the position, the newest member of Dino Babers's SU staff might also be able to bring some recruiting names along with him.
The appeal of Hart is two-fold. Not only is he a local kid that went on to great things (at Michigan, but bear with me). But he's a recent story of success at the running back position, and one that was taking handoffs in the NFL not too long ago. For kids looking to find success at running back, at both the collegiate and pro level, having a guy like Hart on staff at least has you look again at Syracuse. You may recall how this worked for the Orange when fellow Michigan great Tyrone Wheatley held the same role...
Hart's early in his career, of course, but has already contributed to the recruiting and/or careers of Western Michigan standouts like Jarvion Franklin, Jamauri Bogan and LeVante Bellamy. In 2015, the three Broncos backs combined for 2,221 yards and 23 scores. In 2014, Franklin was the best running back in the MAC, with over 1,500 yards and 24 TDs on his own. Next year, the star trio is set to be joined by former 4-star (now 3-star) Michigan rusher Matt Falcon. The Southfield senior's season was cut short by a knee injury back in September. He was once committed to the Wolverines, but went with Hart and WMU over offers from a whole host of power programs.
While Falcon and fellow Broncos commit Emanuel Jackson are both three-star prospects, Falcon is the one swimming in power conference offers, and is the likely target if there is one, despite the injury.
Another name that you're already familiar with at the running back position would be Kentrail Moran, the 3-star Illinois recruit who many Orange fans already seemed to believe would flip BEFORE SU added Hart to the staff. We'll see what happens wit the 18th-best (per Rivals) halfback of the 2016 class once the quiet period ends.
There are, of course, other options beyond those three as well. One name that hasn't really appeared anywhere for Syracuse yet is 3-star back Martell Pettaway. While he's currently locked in with West Virginia, the Detroit product would seem likely to get a look from the Orange's newest staffers. As you'll recall, D-line coach Vince Reynolds has the state of Michigan pretty well covered already. Combined with Hart's Wolverine roots, it could be a conversation worth having.
With Hart just joining the staff yesterday, we've still yet to learn what benefits he'll bring, so perhaps all of this is just pointless conjecture. Still, you have to think Syracuse's odds to lock up any running back prospect just went up. Now if only he could go ahead and steal Tyrone Wheatley's prized recruit Kareem Walker (from New Jersey) before Signing Day... (not happening)