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Syracuse football and the 2020 transfer portal

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The Orange are securing the 2020 recruiting class, but transfers could also be important.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Duke James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As crazy as it seems, next Wednesday is college football’s early signing period — the de facto National Signing Day for the majority of the 2020 class. The Syracuse Orange coaching staff has been busy locking up current commits, and working on securing some new ones too. But that’s not the only place SU’s likely to add new players this offseason.

The transfer portal has become a major part of programs’ player acquisition strategy, and it’s one a team like Syracuse will want to utilize to fill some immediate needs, as well as create some more meaningful depth.

With all of that in mind, we created the list below of both transfer players that Syracuse has been mentioned with, as well as potential additions for the Orange as UConn football seemingly comes undone. Obviously we’re not getting all of these players. But don’t be surprised if a couple wind up making it to campus.

Cade Fortin, QB/North Carolina

The biggest name on the list and the one that SU’s been involved with the longest. Fortin was displaced as UNC’s starter in preseason after Sam Howell’s emergence, and got out immediately so he could enroll elsewhere and maintain eligibility for 2020. He’s picking between Syracuse, Kansas and Vanderbilt, and you can read more about that recruitment process on 247Sports. The former three-star QB could pose a challenge to Tommy DeVito, though DeVito was the better prospect and has proven more as a college player to this point.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Bleich, OG/Florida

Bleich has also been to SU already, and could plug right into a need for Syracuse, which is replacing Evan Adams at guard. The former three-star prospect was a starter for Florida last year as a redshirt freshman, though wouldn’t be eligible for 2020 without a waiver. He’s a Pennsylvania native, so the Orange have a good shot at landing him — though in-state Pitt is also in the running.

Noel Brouse, OT/UConn

Brouse had a Syracuse offer coming out of high school as part of the class of 2016, and was a three-star prospect at that time. At UConn, however, he didn’t see the field — something that either says he’s not going to work out well for the Orange, or tells us that Randy Edsall doesn’t know how to use talent on his roster. Since he’s a grad transfer, we’d be able to plug him in right away. Could be a worthwhile one-year depth rental.

Nino Leone, OG/UConn

Leone is the preferred add of the two UConn options listed here, as the former three-star was a starter with the Huskies and has the size (6-foot-4, 312 pounds) to potentially plug in right away with SU. When UConn ran the ball well, he was a big part of that. And as mentioned with Bleich, we could use some help at guard. Leone would also be eligible right away as a grad transfer.

Anthony Brown, QB/Boston College

We’re pretty familiar with Brown, having offered him back in 2016, and seeing him suit up for Boston College — when he wasn’t injured in Steve Addazio’s questionable offense. Brown’s no sure-thing, but the grad transfer could be another interesting rental, and one with some mobility, too. Rutgers may be more likely for the former New Jersey three-star, however.

Evan Stewart, LB/Boston College

After the linebacker exodus of 2018-19, Syracuse could still use some backfill at the position. The Orange offered Stewart in 2018, and though he’s only recorded one career tackle so far, the former three-star has the size we’d be looking for there (6-foot-2, 225 pounds). He’s a New Jersey kid, so another potential Rutgers lean. But with a better situation out of the box with the Orange, perhaps we have a chance.

Daevon Robinson, WR/Rutgers & Jalen Jordan, WR/Rutgers

Listing both players together not because they’re a package deal, but because the same idea applies for both. Greg Schiano coming on could wind up helping the Scarlet Knights retain both players. But if not, there’s potentially room for the bigger receiving targets — and the selling point of what transfers like Amba Etta-Tawo and Trishton Jackson have been able to do in this system. They’re New Jersey kids, so don’t hold your breath. Worth keeping an eye on, however.

Malachi Burby, DT/Rutgers

Burby hasn’t played much for Rutgers so far — has just one tackle — but he’s a former three-star recruit who had some P5 interest (including a Syracuse offer) before picking the Scarlet Knights just last year. He’s a Connecticut kid, which could help the Orange. And SU will need additional bodies in the middle either this year or next, so he has time to come along.

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Obviously plenty more players in the transfer portal that Syracuse could get involved with. This is just a look at those we’re clearly looking at, and how coaching turnover also adds some other names to that list. Have others that the Orange are focused on, or you think they should be looking at more closely? Add some names in the comments below.