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Syracuse football 2021 early signing period preview

The ‘CROOTS you need to know before Wednesday

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, we’ve reached the early signing period for college football recruiting.

On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the Syracuse Orange will receive signed letters of intent from most of the incoming class of 2021. There may be some stragglers who wait for National Signing Day (February), plus some additional transfers who come in or out of the program in the weeks and months to follow. But for this early signing period is pretty crucial toward establishing a quality class for a given cycle.

Right now, Syracuse has 21 commits. Those names (plus positions):

Of those, at least four will also enroll early. Those names: Duce Chestnut, Malcolm Folk, Terry Lockett, Landon Morris. Others could be added to that list, however. Over at 247Sports, Stephen Bailey also notes that all but one of the players above will sign this week except for Jaelin Moss (who is still “fully committed” as Bailey mentions).

As of right now, Syracuse has dropped out of the top 50 in the 247Sports composite, which is not what many of you (perhaps self included) want to hear. Though there are some caveats there. This is the least-scouted class by recruiting services in the last decade or more due to COVID, and at least a few players have seen their ratings fall by way of one site. That list includes Chestnut, who was a four-star on Rivals until a week or two after he picked SU, then was downgraded to a three.

Obviously we’d prefer Syracuse is in the top 50. And there’s a chance they can still get there. But ultimately, the difference between where they’re at and where we’d like them to be is a single four-star prospect some years.

Assuming Syracuse winds up with all 21 players currently committed, who else is worth mentioning as potential additions, though? There aren’t a ton of names here, as Dino Babers’s staff seems likely to aim for more immediate upgrades by way of what should be a very busy transfer portal this offseason. Still, some names to know on the high school and JUCO recruiting front:

William Wells, DB

Wells, a 6-foot-2 (180-pound) corner from West Palm Beach, Fla, has been a name most should recognize since he’s had an offer from Syracuse for some time. The three-star prospect has a couple Pac-12 offers (Utah, Washington State) along with FAU and UCF, though the Orange could be the favorites to land him right now — even if there’s been no indication on timing for that. The need to add another defensive back in this class has increased a bit in recent months with at least two departures (Andre Cisco and Trill Williams) and others possible. Hopefully there’s good news on Wells soon.

Calvin Johnson, ATH

Johnson’s a Navy commit, but also recently received a slew of recent Power Five offers from the likes of SU, Duke, Florida Sate, Iowa, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Given all of that, you can probably walk right past the 2-star rating on 247 (three stars in the composite). He’s a player who could have potential at either receiver or defensive back, and has a ton of speed. On 247, he appears to be a Miss. State lean at the moment.

Jacqui Graham, OT

Just last week, Mike McAllister mentioned that recent Southern Miss decommit Jacqui Graham has been in contact with Syracuse a bunch, though does not yet have an offer from the Orange (or any other P5). That would seemingly make an early signing period decision in favor of SU unlikely. But the three-star JUCO tackle is 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds, and could be a nice February addition for what’s clearly a trouble area for SU.

Anthony Belton, OT

Speaking of the O-line, Belton is another potential JUCO target, who used to be committed to TCU. NC State may be the frontrunner there, and Syracuse may not have offered yet. Still, he’s 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds. Hopefully remarks that the Orange have been recruiting him hard pay off.


There’s not enough out there to truly speculate on transfers Syracuse could land, though former Mississippi State passer Garrett Shrader is the name everyone’s interested in hearing more about. The Orange will be in the mix for plenty more players in the transfer portal too, as coaching changes continue to spur decisions. Fingers crossed there, as it would be ideal to see an immediate influx of talent ready to go at QB, O-line and D-line, and maybe receiver as well.

If anything changes on the transfer front, we’ll be sure to note it. In the meantime, Wednesday will be the usual recruit-a-palooza with articles detailing each signee. We’ll spend time looking ahead to 2022 by Friday as well.