The Syracuse Orange have already updated their roster as we head into the 2016 season. The Class of 2016 will officially enroll this summer, but it is already time to begin discussing the needs for the team in the Class of 2017.
Syracuse has four commits for the class of 2017 already. The first was from Daewood Davis, a 6-foot-2 speedy wide receiver out of Florida, but he de-committed and flipped his decision to FAU. Shortly after Syracuse received a pledge from Isaiah McDuffie, a linebacker out of Buffalo. This past weekend Syracuse doubled the class. The Orange picked up a verbal from Tommy DeVito, a "Pro Style Quarterback" from New Jersey football powerhouse Don Bosco Prep. And just one day later Sharod Johnson, another receiver from Florida announced his commitment to Syracuse.
What other positions should we expect Syracuse to heavily go after?
Syracuse will go after some defensive backs, specifically cornerback, very hard during this recruiting cycle. The Orange have three safeties in the incoming class but did not sign a single cornerback. This year, redshirt junior Corey Winfield (provided he recovers from this weekend's injuries) and senior Wayne Morgan could be the team's starting corners. Winfield and Morgan do have experience backing them up, with redshirt sophomores Cordell Hudson and Juwan Dowels. After that, there's not much depth. Once Morgan graduates, Syracuse will only have four true cornerbacks on the roster for 2017. This alone is reason to bring in some corners during that Class of 2017. Some names to watch include Allen Stritzinger, Donovan Johnson, and Aapri Washington.
Syracuse already has one pledge from a linebacker in the class of 2017 but expect them to look for more. The Orange have two senior linebackers that figure to see action in, Marquez Hodge and Ted Taylor. Rounding out the list of linebackers that should see some playing time are juniors Parris Bennett, Jonathan Thomas, and Zaire Franklin. Redshirt freshman Troy Henderson and Shyheim Cullen could see action as well. The Orange were bringing in three linebackers in the Class of 2016 with Andrew Armstrong, Tim Walton, and Kenneth Ruff. But Ruff has already been converted to a defensive end, due to the lack of depth there. Syracuse needs to grab two more linebacker commits for the Class of 2017. Some names to look out for include Tyler Dunning, Olakunle Fatukasi, and Zach Morton.
Almost all of the Syracuse expected contributors at wide receiver this season are uppperclassmen. Brisly Estime and Alvin Cornelius are both seniors, while Steve Ishmael, Jamal Custis and Sean Avant are juniors. With new head coach Dino Babers's uptempo offense, Syracuse will need to substitute receivers frequently. They'll be relying on about five or six guys that will see significant playing time. Incoming freshman wide receivers are Carl Jones and Devin Butler, who has tremendous speed. Ervin Philips and Dontae Strickland could also find themselves catching passes. Although Syracuse does have one wide receiver already committed in this class, they could target as many as two or three more. Some names to watch include Juwan Burgess, Mac Hippenhammer, and Noah Jordan-Williams.
The Scott Shafer staff really backed themselves into a hole at the defensive line. Syracuse has no seniors at the position, but did switch former tight end Trey Dunkelberger over to defensive end. The Orange will also have JUCO transfer Gabe Sherrod for next, he and Dunkelberger will be the only guys above juniors on the defensive line. Syracuse is bringing in five freshman in the summer, and redshirt freshman Jake Pickard is a guy that will likely compete for playing time. The two starting defensive tackles will likely be Kayton Sammuels, Steven Clark, or Chris Slayton, all sophomores. So although the Orange are very young at the defensive line, they still should target the position hard in the class of 2017. Some names to watch include, Romeo Martin, Izayah Green-May, and Mike Tverdov.