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Syracuse Football: Another Reason for Orange Struggles? Recruiting Below Power 5 Levels.

Recruiting matters, even if the difference between every three-star and two-star player doesn't.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange football is 35-40 over the last six seasons, a mark largely assisted by the team making a bowl game in three of four seasons at the beginning of that stretch..But when you look at that record and the team's recent trajectory, you can easily see that recruiting is part of the problem, even if there are plenty of other factors that play their own respective parts too.

Obviously, SU isn't recruiting at a top-20 level anytime soon (or ever). If they're going to improve, though, they could start by recruiting at a power conference level.

As SB Nation/Anchor of Gold's Christian D'Andrea showed yesterday, Syracuse hasn't done so since 2010. They're not the only team to regularly get passed up by non-power (Group of 5) teams, mind you. But they're certainly among the worst offenders here. Part of that, especially in the early couple years, is attributable to the Orange not being in the ACC. But what about since? Nine different non-power schools out-recruited SU in 2016, according to 247 Sports' class rankings. That number was just one last year, but after a full recruiting cycle for the coaching staff and a larger class.

A look at the worst offenders in this dubious category:

P5 Recruiting Fail

On the plus side above, there are teams (even peers -- HI BC!) that are worse than Syracuse. But even an up-tick in Orange recruiting due to the ACC effect (a debatbale factor anyway, as it is) still has a distinct ceiling. Duke has been playing competent football for over half of this stretch, yet still appears here and only recently looks clear of G5s in the rankings. Virginia, who had been seen as a "good" recruiting team under Mike London, sits on this list, as does perennial 7ish-win squad NC State. Wake Forest and Boston College sitting below the Orange is a plus. When we revisit this list in three years, though, SU needs to be much closer to that UVA territory if it has a shot of truly turning around.


No one's telling Syracuse to start winning national championships in football. That's probably too much to ask in this landscape, and y'know, that's fine. If the Orange are going to start becoming a consistent seven- or maybe even eight-win team, however, they have to recruit at a power conference level (which means out-recruiting G5 teams and peer programs). Until then, they'll be stuck looking up at the likes of NC State, Duke and others in the conference standings. Luckily, Dino Babers has plenty of room to go and build this thing up in the coming seasons.