All in all, there were a lot of positive vibes around the Syracuse Orange's National Signing Day yesterday. Jaquwan Nelson decided to stick with SU after getting a lot of interest from Georgia. Dino Babers was largely positive AND realistic in his afternoon press conference. With a 20-player class, and the potential to add a couple more JUCOs or under-scouted kids too (maybe?), we were/are pretty happy with how things turned out.
But since this is sports, how did we stack up to other programs in terms of the recruiting class of 2016? And more importantly, how did we stack up against fellow ACC programs?
Well, here's a grid.
(Yes, I know 247 aggregates others)
... And some takeaways:
- Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina and Miami at the top should surprise no one, as it's been that way for years now.
- Despite making a great hire in Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech's recruiting did not respond in kind.
- Virginia's recruiting, already falling over the past couple years, sunk once Mike London was fired.
- DUKE has a (nearly) top-30 class on average and did some serious work on the recruiting trail this cycle. As Dan pointed out on the podcast this morning, the "Stanford East" thing is really taking hold there as a selling point.
- Pitt continues to recruit pretty well, pulling in as many as four four-star recruits, depending on which service you ask.
- NC State and Louisville still aren't recruiting at an elite enough level that we should discount being able to catch up or beat them.
- Boston College... need I say more?
If memory serves, this is the first year since joining the ACC that Syracuse isn't bringing up the rear in these rankings (or at least splitting the last spot with Wake Forest), which is a huge positive. Even more positive: Babers made this class in about a month and if not for a low recruit total (20), SU would be higher up, for sure, and contending with the numbers of Virginia Tech -- a program that's largely been better than us for over a decade now.
So yes, the above may be a collection of small victories, but victories just the same. If we want to get back to competent football at Syracuse, it'll take giving Babers time to build the right program, and he's already gotten out ahead of that here. No, Syracuse isn't pulling in four-stars right now. But Duke wasn't either for a long time, and now they're contending for those players. If we let this thing grow, and let things build progressively year-by-year (that does mean seeing year-to-year on-field progress too), we might just be happy with the results. This year, we had 19 of 20 players rated as three-stars by most services. Next? Maybe it's a four-star tossed in. The year after, maybe multiple four-stars? And suddenly you've got a class in the 40-45 range.
Without getting ahead of ourselves, it's tough for Orange fans to see yesterday as anything but a success, even if some recruiting metrics don't back that notion in the traditional sense.