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Syracuse football recruiting: Mid-August updates on the class of 2021

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It was a pretty successful month since we last checked in on things.

Syracuse v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

There’s plenty of uncertainty around whether 2020 football seasons even happen at both the college and high school level. At least for now, though, that won’t halt recruiting. The Syracuse Orange’s 2021 class is continuing to roll along at this point, and there are still more players to add in the coming months.

As of right now, Dino Babers has 17 players in this class, currently slotting them in around 53rd in the 247Sports composite rankings. Obviously we’d like this to be a top-50 class if we can swing it. Getting the players to make that happen is easier said than done, though.

Before we take a look at who’s still out there, here’s who has already given Syracuse a verbal pledge, now updated with our three new adds since last time:

So who else are we keeping an eye on? Here’s a (not exhaustive) list of who still seems to be on SU’s radar:

Quarterback

It’s highly unlikely Syracuse looks to bring in a second passer beyond Lamson, especially since they added two quarterbacks in the class of 2020.

Running Back

Even given the departure of Garrison Johnson, there’s still a bit of a logjam at running back with six scholarship players and promising walk-on Devin Flowers all on the current roster — and Abdul Adams as the lone senior. 247 lists Hampton, Va. running back Anthony Turner as “warmer” toward Syracuse, but there hasn’t been a ton of word about his recruitment lately. Unless a big name shows interest, SU may be done at this position.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Morris is the lone tight end for the Orange, but wide receiver still has some options beyond Long, who’s the only current wideout commit. CuseNation’s Mike McAllister recently spoke with Virginia (Woodbridge) three-star prospect Umari Hatcher about his timeline and Syracuse’s pursuit. While he noted that SU (and Babers) are in “constant contact” with him, we’re also up against the likes of Penn State and Michigan State, among others. Hatcher’s a tall but lanky receiver (6-foot-3, 175 pounds) who’s ranked among the top 1,000 prospects and has a slew of offers from ACC and Big Ten schools. He’s tweeted out a lot of SU recruiting edits, for whatever that’s worth.

Fellow three-star prospect Oronde Gadsden II (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) is another receiver to keep an eye on, and one that 247Sports notes as “warm” toward Syracuse, along with Georgia Tech, UCF and USF, plus he has offers from the likes of Penn State, Kentucky, Baylor, Indiana and more. At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, he’s a strong potential outside target who comes from an NFL family given his dad’s time in the league.

Lastly, three-star receiver Jimmy Valsin III (Arlington, Tex.) listed Syracuse in his top eight back in June along with Oregon State, Kansas State, Utah, Illinois, Colorado, Houston and Indiana. It’s interesting that none of those schools are in Texas, which could be helpful for SU. But the Orange have also lost three of their last four Texas high school recruits to transfer at this point, so not sure SU has an easy sell there. Valsin’s the highest-ranked prospect of the three pass-catchers. per 247.

Offensive Line

Syracuse has been busy on the line, with four commitments over the last few months. It’s been an impressive effort for O-line coach Mike Cavanaugh, in particular, who’s restored some faith following a disastrous front end of the 2019 season. Even with four linemen already in the door, there’s potential for two more additions since SU likely will have the room.

Chief among those names is Enrique Cruz, a four-star tackle from Villa Park, Ill. who 247Sports ranks just outside the top 200 prospects in the class of 2021 (he’s No. 465 in the composite rankings, however). At 6-foot-5 and 252 pounds, he’s an fleet-footed pass protector who would have to toss on a few pounds at the college level. Still, if he can maintain a lot of that agility with more weight, there’s a lot to like. Interest has been heating up on him lately, with offers from Utah, West Virginia, Arizona State, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State since the start of July. But 247Sports has Syracuse as the lone school trending “warm,” which is a definite positive.

Avoiding the very extensive updates on the rest of the targets:

Brooklyn guard Armon Bethea has long been “warm” on Syracuse, but has also been stacking up offers from the likes Maryland, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Kansas, Arkansas and Georgia Tech since the start of July. He’s already a big body at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds. Bethea’s also on the All-American Bowl roster.

Tyler Maro (Davenport, Iowa) is a tall (6-foot-7) tackle with multiple Pac-12 offers this summer to go with other overtures from Duke, Illinois, Louisville and more. The three-star player a possible backup option at tackle if Syracuse doesn’t land Cruz, but competition is pretty fierce here.

Recent Syracuse offer Gabe Blair (Denton, Tex.) is considered the 14th-best center in the class by 247 and is a three-star prospect with a random group of schools in on him — ‘Cuse, USC, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Tulane, North Texas, ULM and some others. Recent seasons have proven SU could always use a quality and experienced center. If they wind up with six O-line players, his addition could be a big part of why.

Christopher Adams (Hagerstown, Md.) is another tackle who is unrated in the 247Sports composite, but 247’s own rankings put him as the 109th-best OT in the class. He’s “warm” on Syracuse and Virginia Tech right now, with offers from Buffalo, ODU and UMass. He’s a possible add, though not before the other names here.

Defensive Line

No real new information here compared to last month. Syracuse is still in the running for four-star Jersey City, N.J. tackle George Rooks, but the legacy also has a lot of interest from Penn State and Michigan. Ikenna Ugbaja (Hyde Park, Mass.) had the Orange in his top eight earlier this year, but it seems that interest may have cooled on both sides. Three- star tackle Elijah Fuentes (Bronx, N.Y.) attended SU’s junior day earlier this year, and is also an option inside. However, 247Sports sees him as a Boston College lean.

On the outside, Robert Jackson (Warminster, Pa.) put Syracuse in his top 10 awhile ago, and the 6-foot-6, 260-pound edge rusher has plenty of P5 interest from the likes of Arizona State, Indiana, Pitt, Rutgers, Boston College, Nebraska and more. Monroe County C.C.’s Jimmori Robinson could be a possible commit down the road, though Auburn has also offered him. He collected 10 tackles for loss at Dodge City C.C. last year.

Linebackers

Recent linebacker targets like Sebastian Sagar (Georgia Tech) and Jason Henderson (Old Dominion) have opted to head elsewhere, so Syracuse sort of has to start over at linebacker if they want to add anyone else there. One offer out there is Eric Ford (Bethesda, Md.), who’s 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds and seems to fit the mold of what the Orange have been transitioning to at linebacker lately. Bryce Myers (Bridgewater, N.J.) is just as tall as Ford, but with 25 more pounds on him. He doesn’t yet have a Syracuse offer, but told CuseNation it would be a “dream come true” earlier this month. His top offers are all Ivy league right now.

Secondary

The addition of Duce Chestnut is enormous, but SU may not be done at the corner spot either. William Wells (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is a three-star prospect with offers from Washington State, UCF and FAU, among others. He told CuseNation that Syracuse led for him back in April. We’re still very much in on him, so hopefully his opinion of where ‘Cuse stands hasn’t changed.

The status of Cam’Ron Dabney (Gainesville, Ga.) hasn’t changed much since he was noted as “warm” toward Syracuse months ago. So wouldn’t be shocked if things aren’t really progressing — especially given the fact that SU seems to be trending better with Wells.

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Any names jump out here? Or any others you think should be on this short list as well? Share your own thoughts below.