After receiving signed National Letters of Intent from 20 recruits, Syracuse Orange football head coach Dino Babers held a press conference to share his thoughts. Here are some of the biggest takeaways:
Combine the 2016 And 2017 Classes
Babers repeatedly said the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes will be "a blend." Recruitment is a year-round process, and since Babers was only hired as the head coach in early December, he and his staff were severely behind in the 2016 recruitment process. As a result, Babers told the media to combine the 2016 and 2017 classes when it comes to judging his "first" recruiting class as the Orange's head coach.
The 2016 Class Could See Action Early
While incoming recruits typically see very little action their freshman year, or even sit out the entire season as a redshirt, Babers cautioned that the 2016 class could receive more playing time than they may be anticipating. "We're at a situation in the program where a lot of these young men will play early," Babers said. "They're going to take their lumps and then they're going to grow a lot faster, because you can't get better unless you are on the football field."
Of course, Babers didn't flat-out tell Syracuse fans to prepare for a losing season, but he certainly wasn't exactly guaranteeing a bowl appearance either. Babers is attempting to reinvent Syracuse football and install an entirely new system of play – both of which takes time. He called the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes the "foundation" of what Syracuse football will eventually become, but cautioned that there may be a few bumps in the road along the way. "We just may have to take a step backwards before taking a step forward," Babers warned.
No Update On Qaadir Sheppard And Amir Ealey
Last November, both Sheppard and Ealey were suspended indefinitely due to a violation of team rules. It was later reported that the two then-freshmen defensive ends failed two drug tests each, according to Syracuse.com. When asked about the suspended players, Babers was coy on the subject, stating Syracuse needs "every capable man that can play."
The Orange Will Consider Anyone...Including Fraternity Members?
Shortly after proclaiming that Syracuse needs all the able-bodied players they can get, Babers jokingly even went as far as to say he'll consider anyone – seriously, anyone. "We may put an ad out in the school newspaper and see what we can get out of the fraternities," Babers said. Rumor has it that at this very moment, dozens of Sig Chi, Sammy, and Lambda Chi brothers are digging through their closets to find their old high school jock straps. If you thought "Invincible" was an entertaining movie, just wait until its Syracuse-themed sequel eventually hits theaters.