While we’re all pretty happy with a 4-4 start for the Syracuse Orange, it’s not without its concerns. Two of those trouble spots are the secondary and running back positions. The safety position has gotten better over the course of the season due to improved production from players like Rodney Williams and Daivon Ellison, but overall, it’s still been an injury-plagued and thin spot. At running back, Dontae Strickland hasn’t been able to move the ball well behind a banged-up offensive line, though another reason could be his slimmer build (same goes for Moe Neal).
Recent SU recruiting offers are looking to address these concerns.
First up is 3-star Florida (Kissimmee) running back Markenzy Pierre, who’s currently committed to Western Kentucky. The 5-foot-11, 218-pound back would seem to fit the mold of an inside power back, much in the same build as Jo-El Shaw, who failed to qualify at Syracuse this past summer.
Pierre already knows SU freshman safety Devon Clarke, and is currently being recruited by co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis. Lewis offerd him on Wednesday, and Pierre shared some of Coach’s feedback with Syracuse.com:
"He let me know that the coaches' favorite play is power and the backs they have right now aren't physically able to run the ball downhill. He liked that I have the size and natural strength that none of the guys he has now do."
He plans to visit Syracuse once his senior season is over. Right now, the Orange are his only Power Five offer, though he holds several offers from schools like WKU, East Carolina, Appalachian State, Georgia State and Kent State, among others.
The Orange offered another Florida running back yesterday, too. B.J. Daniels, from Melbourne Senior High School, is another 3-star rusher in the bigger mold SU’s currently looking for (6-foot-1, around 200 pounds). He’ll also make you completely forget about former USF quarterback B.J. Daniels, which is a big plus.
Daniels is currently uncommitted, though he has offers from Maryland, USF (of course), FAU, FIU and others along with Syracuse. Otto’s Grove discussed him a bit the other day, focusing on Daniels’ efforts at the Opening in Orlando.
At the safety spot, Syracuse got an offer out to Iowa Western Community College’s Mykelti Williams on Wednesday as well. Williams was a transfer to Iowa Western after one season at Notre Dame (2015). The four-star recruit had offers from a host of schools, from the Irish to Ole MIss, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and more. His coach at Iowa Western confirmed yesterday that the Orange and Tulane (Dan and I are onto something...) offered him. It’s unclear if other offers have come through for the 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back, though several Big Ten programs are interested.
While recruiting momentum has cooled a bit of late, that doesn’t mean Syracuse’s coach’s aren’t doing a ton of work in the background to help set up a successful class of 2017. The Orange are looking improved on the trail so far this cycle — they currently (as of this writing) sit at 45th in the 247Sports composite rankings, which is 11th in the ACC and just behind NC State for 10th.