Recruiting rankings are important, but there are caveats all over that statement:
Some players are scouted more heavily than others. For some regions, it’s easier to gauge how a player’s talent level translates than it is in others (a particular problem for parts of the Northeast). There are a ton of three-star prospects and the differences between most of them are marginal. The same can be said for the low 3-star and high-2-star talent.
Players graded out at 4- and 5-star grades are the ones that are probably heavily scouted and have more tape on them, so those grades are at least more informed — though not a direct indication of whether or not that player will pan out for their chose school. Also, if you don’t have a top 15-20 class, there’s likely a minimal amount of distance between you and the 5-10 classes both ahead of and behind you.
All of that said, it’s still worth looking at where the Syracuse Orange have finished in recent years, both under Dino Babers and Scott Shafer.
- 2019: 51st (20 players)
- 2018: 50th (20 players)
- 2017: 54th (27 players)
- 2016: 62nd (21 players)
- 2015: 57th (29 players)
- 2014: 52nd (25 players)
- 2013: 74th (22 players)
As I mentioned earlier, the distance from spot to spot is likely minimal at best, so the one-place drop for the Orange this time around comes from a few different factors. Classes could’ve just been slightly better on average at this point in the rankings (SU’s per-player average was slightly lower). Syracuse had two Canadian players this year, versus zero last year and guys from the Great White North aren’t necessarily scouted or graded as well. Our ranking also doesn’t include Jawhar Jordan, who was technically a 2018 commit. All in all, it’s safe to say that this class is improved where it counts.
That’s before you even go into the number four-star players on the list for 2019. Lee Kpogba, Mikel Jones, Cornelius Nunn were all four stars from at least one service. Getting Jones out of Florida was also a major coup and got the Orange on a short list of schools outside of the state to pick up a blue-chip player from there. The only others on that list? Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.
And before the lingering five people in the #IStandWithShafer crowd get going, that era was largely defined by big classes and taking big swings on guys that were unlikely to qualify academically. Remove those names from those previous classes, and the rankings fall a lot further. We don’t need to take those risks anymore, and haven’t in the Babers era.
Speaking of the Babers era, the way Syracuse closed out the 2019 cycle is probably more indicative of where things are headed going forward as the program cashes in on the promise from this 10-3 season. Of the Orange’s top prospects in this year’s class, six of the top seven (as rated by the 247Sports’ composite) were added between late November and National Signing Day. That’s clear momentum that should carry into 2020.
But enough of what we think... who are you most excited about in this class? Any players you’re hoping to see on the field early? Any and all recruiting analysis is welcome below.
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