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National Signing Day: Syracuse leans on New York, Florida, DC in 2018

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Our recruiting took a few new turns in 2018 (and also stuck to some old habits, too).

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

The Syracuse Orange’s geographic recruiting focus changes a bit from year to year. But there are also certain constants.

SU will undoubtedly go in on Florida. They’ll grab a couple kids from New York. Everything else is some combination of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey -- then depending on the coach, Illinois/DMV/Michigan/Georgia.

Despite Dino Babers largely keeping to that script for Syracuse’s 2018 class, things did look slightly different than normal. The state-by-state breakdown:

  • New York (4)
  • Florida (3)
  • Washington D.C. (3)
  • Texas (2)
  • Michigan (1)
  • Mississippi (1)
  • New Hampshire (1)
  • New Jersey (1)
  • Pennsylvania (1)
  • Washington (1)

And in map form:

If you’ve looked on recruiting sites, that Florida number might seem a little low comparatively. And that’s actually due in part to IMG Academy. IMG is in Florida, but many of its players aren’t -- including both of Syracuse’s signees from the school this year. Juan Wallace is from D.C. and Dre Cisco is from New York.

Beyond those big three (DC/NY/FL), the other multi-player state ended up being Texas this time around. We mentioned how that was a smart play for Syracuse given the offense it runs, and how that’s likely going to increase with Kirk Martin now on board as the Orange’s new quarterbacks coach.

But despite the lower focus on Florida compared to previous years (five in 2017, six in 2016), Floridians still make up a sizeable portion of the roster. At this time last year, that number was 20 out of 85 scholarships, or 23.5 percent. As of right now, that percentage is down a bit to 19.5, 16 out of 82 scholarship players. However, the Sunshine State still has more than double the players from any other state. The top states on the current roster, including signees:

  • Florida (16)
  • New York (7)
  • Illinois (6)
  • Michigan (6)
  • New Jersey (6)
  • Georgia (5)
  • Pennsylvania (5)
  • Washington D.C. (5)
NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

For states other than Florida, the breakdown shows how much a class trend or two can skew that number a bit, too. Illinois has three seniors and three sophomores. Of New York’s seven players, six will play their final season in 2021. All of the D.C. players were added either this year or last year.

So while Syracuse continues to go in on Florida recruiting, it’s also been diversifying where it gets its top talent from as well. Some may be thrilled about a larger New York number, but that isn’t as important as how talented those players actually are. The rise from D.C. is the bigger story, as it’s an area we’ve wanted to get back into in recent years, but have only managed to do so over the last class or two. Part of that is due to Reno Ferri’s presence on staff.

Any of this surprising? It’s likely that in the coming years, Texas (three so far) rises up the list, while Georgia potentially dips down a bit. As mentioned, D.C. is poised to rise too -- likely by way of Illinois going down.

We’ll likely get this full roster look up in map form later. Just wanted to get the conversation started in the meantime.