The Syracuse Orange football program hauled in a top-50 recruiting class for 2018 -- at least for the moment. According to the 247Sports composite rankings, SU comes in at No. 49 overall right now, and ninth in the ACC.
Those aren’t earth-shattering numbers, necessarily. But it’s clear progress for Dino Babers’s staff despite an offseason that saw them lose top recruiter and co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis to Kent State. Especially given the fact that this was just an 18-player class (with three more spots available), it’s a strong sign that the group still ranks so well as we hit the stretch run on National Signing Day.
The visible difference between this class and others of recent SU vintages are the amount of four-stars in the door. Edward Hendrix, Qadir White and Atrilleon Williams all received four stars from at least one recruiting service. Sure, Syracuse may have struck out on a few more -- notably, long-time commit Tyrone Sampson and eventual Pitt signee Mychale Salahuddin.
But during the 2018 recruiting cycle, Dino Babers and his staff took at least a few swings toward the fences. And surprisingly (to some), they were able to make contact.
Even on the three-star players, you see the glut of quality offers coming in for many of those guys as well. The collection of desirable recruits at the top of our board is nothing new -- see Tommy DeVito and Nadarius Fagan last year, among others. Still, it’s becoming the standard for nearly every player offered. And that’s all with Babers looking for a specific scheme fit.
If the words sound nice, the numbers to back it all up should sound even nicer. Here’s how Syracuse’s 2018 class compares to recent years — all according to the 247Sports composite rankings:
- 2018: 49th (18 players)
- 2017: 54th (27 players)
- 2016: 62nd (21 players)
- 2015: 57th (29 players)
- 2014: 52nd (25 players)
- 2013: 74th (22 players)
Just three classes among the top 55, and many of those were volume-based classes due to attrition around two different coaching staffs (first Scott Shafer’s, then Dino Babers’s). The 2014 class may look a little similar to this one by the numbers, but it was based on taking some very big swings on academic risks... and most didn’t pan out.
This 2018 class appears to be without academic risks, and already has seven players on campus.
Due to NCAA rule changes, scholarships still count toward your total if they end up unused by way of qualifying problems. So in previous years, you could gamble on Corey Cooper, KJ Williams, Marquise Blair, etc. This time around, not so much.
That’s why Syracuse is seemingly holding spots for two players that are still working things out on that end in Jawhar Jordan and Fitzroy Gardner. If they figure things out, they’ll be donning orange. If not, we won’t be down the two scholarship spots.
Even without the rule change, though, it’s a shift in thinking at Babers continues to improve the level of talent coming in the door for the Orange. Many blueblood programs either don’t have to take on academic risks or if they do and they don’t pan out, it doesn’t destroy a class’s viability. The one-/two-man class model was typical of Syracuse in previous years. However, the goal is to get beyond that station.
We’re not completely there yet, but it’s getting closer.
The fact that an 18-player class ranks among the top 50 is incredible for Syracuse. And with three spots left, there’s a chance the ranking could rise more before the end of the offseason.
Of course, these are just numbers, and we still need to see what these players do on the field. However, momentum is building for a breakthrough as the talent level increases. If we can just catch a few breaks and avoid the injury bug, the program could be well on its way with a collection of excellent young talent that’s come in the door tailor-made for the system these past two years.
Your full 2018 class, by the way, for anyone that’s missed an article either today or in December:
Tre Allison, LB (3 stars)
Chance Amie, QB (3 stars)
Andre Cisco, S (3 stars)
Akeem Dixon, RB (3 stars)
Willem Froumy, OT (3 stars)
Taj Harris, WR (3 stars)
Edward Hendrix, WR (4 stars)
Gabe Horan, OT/TE (3 stars)
Jarveon Howard, RB (3 stars)
Cameron Jonas, S (3 stars)
Cooper Lutz, WR (3 stars)
Caleb Okechukwu, DE (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)