We won’t see a lot of these players on campus until the summer (though some arrived in January already), but it’s still worth assessing how this class shaped up. We asked some of the TNIAAM football staff what they think right now — and how we might look at this class in the future:
Which offensive recruit has you most excited?
Brendan: David Summers
Kevin: Anthony Red
Andy: David Summers. The QB logjam that freed itself this offseason was perhaps the greatest source of depth for the Orange roster. Say Tommy DeVito has an amazing season this year; the QB has the option to move on. Summers already knows DeVito and all reports indicate he’s fine waiting behind his friend a few years should that situation arise.
Dan: With this defense being so defense-focused, there aren’t a top of great options here. The story of the new-look Syracuse offensive players rest with the explosive transfers who starred in the Camping World Bowl. Beyond them, though, I’ll be lazy and default to the quarterback. Personally, I love seeing guys from my native Fairfield County thrive, so it is cool to see Syracuse add David Summers late in the cycle. On tape, you can see the similarities in release to his training buddy Tommy DeVito, which should make this a pretty seamless transition, whether Summers is forced into action at some point, or if he inherits the job whenever DeVito leaves.
John: I’ll actually go with late addition Garrison Johnson. No, he may not get a shot to contribute right off the bat. But he’s a big body at 230 pounds and could help alleviate some of those red zone woes we’ve been complaining so much about in recent years. Plus, his success helps grow a burgeoning Texas pipeline that stalled a bit when Chance Amie announced he was transferring.
Which defensive recruit has you most excited?
Kevin: Lee Kpogba
Andy: Mikel Jones, not just because of the meme potential. Jones (and Lee Kpogba) have a real chance at stepping in from day one at playing at a depleted position for the Orange defense. The number one weak point of the Orange defense was on plays where LB’s had to be the primary rusher or coverage options. These guys should help change that.
Dan: Mikel Jones. I love getting guys from high school programs like IMG Academy, where building a pipeline can be so huge, and his offer list is up there with any of the guys we’ve signed in recent seasons. He’s also at a major position of need, but with he, Lee Kpogba, and Geoff Cantin all among our top 2019 recruits, the program did a nice job of restocking at linebacker this year.
John: Jason Muñoz, since he already has the size and potential strength to jump in right away and make an impact as a pass-rusher (not that we need him to just yet, but the option’s there). With a a year or two in SU’s strength and conditioning program, he could round into one of the ACC’s top young defensive linemen.
This is one of the greatest signing days you will ever see. Hanahan’s Cooper Dawson picks Syracuse- but does it by first telling close friend Kingsley Feinman. Kingsley announces the decision- Dawson adds that Kingsley taught him the only disability is a bad attitude. @ABCNews4 pic.twitter.com/3OGJzJmlXg— Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) December 19, 2018
Which player are we going to miss the most when he’s gone in 4-5 years?
Brendan: Mikel Jones
Kevin: Cooper Dawson because he seems like the next Cuse player who really makes the community proud on and off the field
Andy: I really think Muñoz has a chance to be something special for the Orange. He’ll be a player we look at as a huge grab from the class.
Dan: On the offensive line, Canadian recruit Matthew Bergeron flew beneath the radar a bit, for a few obvious reasons, but he definitely has the size to make an impact after a year or two in the program. We’ve seen what having experience and consistency on the OL looks like, and it is always tough when you lose those types of players.
John: It’s probably Jones or Kpogba. We have a lot of potential at the linebacker position on the roster right now, but no clear indication of who steps up. Those guys could be two- or three-year leaders on the defense similar to players like Zaire Franklin, Cam Lynch and more. Since this defense is predicated on quality linebacker play, they’ll probably grab the spotlight whether we’re blitzing as much as we did in 2018 or not.
Best name in the class?
Brendan: Cooper Dawson
Kevin: Jawhar Jordan
Andy: #Kpogback memes are gonna be great when Lee comes back for his senior year.
Dan: We definitely don’t have another Atrilleon “Trill” Williams in this class, unfortunately. An oversight that I hope this staff can recover from, for sure. For the guys that are joining up, though, Ishmael Goulbourne is pretty strong.
John: It’s either Kpogba for the soccer references, or Jawhar Jordan.
Which players have a shot to start (or at least contribute significantly) in 2019?
Brendan: Mikel Jones, primarily.
Kevin: Kpogba, Mikel Jones and Ishmael Goulbourne
Andy: With a loaded returning group at Wideout/Running back, if we’re looking at non linebackers I mentioned above, I like Cornelius Nunn to step in. Andre Cisco showed just how much athleticism can carry a safety in this system, and Nunn sure feels like Cisco 2.0.
Dan: The aforementioned linebackers could all factor in, with our lack of returning experience at the position on that side of the ball. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Darius Tisdale get a shot on the offensive line. You don’t offer JuCo guys to sit, and unless we score on some of the prominent offensive line transfers we’re involved with, there is an opening for him with Cody Conway and Koda Martin leaving the tackle positions open.
John: Both Jones and Kpogba could challenge for significant playing time on the defense with the linebacker position in flux. Tisdale will probably push to start at offensive tackle if the team doesn’t add a transfer and/or move Airon Servais out there. Muñoz is the other player that could get into the mix due to his size and/or some unfortunate injury luck. Nunn will be battling Cam Jonas and Evan Foster at safety opposite Andre Cisco, probably.
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