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Syracuse football 2018 National Signing Day preview

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We’re back for round two!

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange will (mostly) complete the 2018 football recruiting class this week when National Signing Day rolls around on Wednesday.

As you’ll recall, the first football early signing period was in late December and the Orange signed 15 players (seven of which are already on campus). They have room for six more players on the 2018 roster, and there are plenty of SU targets still out there to take those spots.

Who are the likely new Syracuse players? A look at the names sitting high on the Orange’s list, and the status for each.

Akeem Dixon, RB (3 stars)

Dixon was one of Syracuse’s earliest verbal commitments for 2018, but given a pretty quiet social media presence and the fact that he didn’t sign early, we weren’t sure what was going on with his status. Apparently he put in some strong academic work during the fall, and hasn’t waivered at all in his pledge to SU.

Fitzroy Gardner, OLB (3 stars)

The Florida (Tampa area) prospect was just on campus at Syracuse a couple weekends ago, and indicated the visit went well. Maryland — the other main contender for his services — was the final visit this past weekend, however. While the Orange already have three linebackers in this class, it couldn’t hurt to add a fourth. Gardner is lighter (215 pounds) with speed on the outside, something that will help in coverage.

Jarveon Howard, RB (3 stars)

Howard verbally committed last week, going with Syracuse over in-state options like Mississippi State and Southern Miss (plus national power Tulane nearby). The three-star back measures similarly to most of the Orange’s current rushers (around 6 feet and 200 pounds). He’ll sign on Thursday, so we’ll have to wait until the day after signing day to officially welcome him aboard unless he mails in the paperwork on Wednesday and just does a ceremony on Thursday.

Jawhar Jordan, RB (3 stars)

Jordan didn’t sign early, which left us wondering if he was still coming to Syracuse. But the shifty Arizona back says he plans to sign with the Orange this week, despite some larger offers -- like Oklahoma State and Texas -- coming his way. He’s similar in build to Moe Neal, and would definitely be our speed guy, rather than your between-the-tackles bruiser that Dino Babers’s offense needs to be at its most effective.

Caleb Okechukwu, DE (3 stars)

Okechukwu’s a strongside defensive end from Washington D.C. -- a strong area for the Orange this recruiting cycle. He’s a top-100 player at the position, nationally, and obviously addresses a big need for SU. Syracuse did not land any defensive linemen during the early signing period, so Okechukwu would be an essential addition. His late January visit seemed to go well, though we weren’t the final visit (that was Arkansas). He’ll choose between SU, Texas and the Razorbacks at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Mychale Salahuddin, RB (4 stars)

The former USC commit is down to Syracuse and Pitt (of course), but it does seem like he’s leaning toward the Panthers based on a recent interview with Rivals. Pitt getting the final in-home visit does seem like a strong indicator he’s heading that way, despite the hometown connections Salahuddin has with Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams at SU. He’ll be announcing on Wednesday. If I had to guess, he’s a Panther, as the Orange have three running backs potentially signing already.

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And unless something unexpected happens with another recruit not listed here, these are the names to be focused in on. It’s pretty unlikely the Orange sign all of them, especially with the long list of running backs here. For those final scholarships, the program can also play the JUCO and/or grad transfer markets, as they have in the past.

For a refresher on the 15 players already signed for the 2018 class, check out the full list below. As of this writing (Monday night), Syracuse has the 48th-best class in the nation. However, that is definitely going to change in one direction or the other by the time the dust clears.

Syracuse Football’s 2018 Signees So Far

Tre Allison, LB (3 stars)

Chance Amie, QB (3 stars)

Andre Cisco, S (3 stars)

Willem Froumy, OT (3 stars)

Taj Harris, WR (3 stars)

Edward Hendrix, WR (4 stars)

Gabe Horan, OT/TE (3 stars)

Cameron Jonas, S (3 stars)

Cooper Lutz, WR (3 stars)

Anthony Queeley, WR (3 stars)

Carlos Vettorello, OG (3 stars)

Juan Wallace, LB (3 stars)

Qadir White, OT (4 stars)

Trill Williams, CB (4 stars)

Lakiem Williams, LB (3 stars)