Admittedly, this is likely to be a rough early signing period for the Syracuse Orange football program when most 2022 prospects announce their commitments on Wednesday.
As you know, high-end football recruiting success has never really been SU’s “thing,” and that’s especially true of late. Following a stellar 2018 campaign, Dino Babers has failed to cash in on that momentum both on- and off the field, and the results have meant recruiting classes with some impressive high-end talent. But also a lack of major steps forward in terms of upgrading the team as a whole.
Now, coming off three straight losing seasons, and faced with a very hot seat for Babers and his staff, this is the most challenging class yet. The rankings aren’t good. But more than that, the total volume doesn’t currently balance out what’s left the program. So without some big swings either flipping guys this week, landing JUCO signees and/or finding a ton of options in the transfer portal, it’s tough to see the way out of this mess.
Still, that’s not the fault of the incoming guys. And on Wednesday, we’ll be sure to cover signings like usual, leaving side commentary about the class and coaching staff for side pieces like this one.
With all of that out of the way, what can you expect from the early signing period this week? We have a quick primer on the names to keep an eye on.
Syracuse currently has just 10 players committed for the class of 2022. Those names (all are three-star players on the 247Sports composite rankings):
- LeQuint Allen, running back (Millville, N.J.)
- Belizaire Bassette, defensive end (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
- Donovan Brown, wide receiver (Gaithersburg, Md.)
- Joe Cruz, offensive tackle (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.)
- Dom Foster, cornerback (Warren, Ohio)
- Mekhi Mason, linebacker (Opa Locka, Fla.)
- Cornell Perry, cornerback (Flat Rock, Mich.)
- Quan Peterson, cornerback (Rock Hill, S.C.)
- Chad Schuster, offensive tackle (Franklin, Wisc.)
- Jeremiah Wilson, cornerback (Kissimmee, Fla.)
Of note there, Mason and Foster are set to be early enrollees, which you like to see — and was definitely a help for previous players, including Duce Chestnut this year. Allen also received some good news recently when he was named New Jersey’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
Who else is Syracuse targeting?
Given the fact that there are only 10 names above, this is the big question on most fans’ minds, as well as the coaching staff’s. The Orange will need to make some more additions. And if they do on Wednesday, they’re likely coming from this list.
Denis Jaquez, defensive end (Richland, N.J.): Jaquez is a long-time Orange target and recent Northwestern decommit. Some recruiting experts believe that the decommitment is tied to Syracuse, which would be a nice flip for SU, especially given how little depth they have on the line right now.
Tapuvae Amaama, offensive guard (Lehi, Utah): The big — 6-foot-4, 340 pounds — interior lineman visited Syracuse this weekend and this one seems to be between the Orange and Virginia. Given the fact that UVA’s Utah ties may all be out the door with the departure of Bronco Mendenhall, it stands to reason SU would at least have an inside track there now.
Avery Powell, cornerback (Jersey City, N.J.): Powell was another visit this weekend, though Syracuse is up against a lengthy list of big-name suitors — including Penn State, Ole Miss, Wisconsin and others. Can never have enough corners in this scheme.
Terrence McClain, offensive tackle (Sumter, S.C.): Syracuse is in McClain’s top five along with Memphis, Utah State, East Carolina and Jackson State. He spent last season at Coffeyville Community College, so SU would be bringing in an experienced college player along with the high school O-line prospects already committed.
Garrison Madden, linebacker (Hampton, Ga.): Madden is a very quick linebacker who would fit perfectly into the 3-3-5 scheme and figures to play well in coverage there. He visited SU a little over a week ago, but has since received an offer from USC as well.
Noah McKinney, offensive tackle (Henderson, Nev.): McKinney is currently committed to nearby UNLV, so not necessarily an easy flip. The Orange are his only Power Five offer, and he did just visit 10 days ago.
What about transfers?
Syracuse is obviously going to be busy in the transfer portal, but we’ve yet to see any commitments just yet. There are more name than this with interest, but two notable players include Albany edge rusher Jared Verse and UL-Monroe’s Willie Tyler.
Verse has been picking up a ton of offers from power programs, so selling the in-state option may not be as easy as it once was. But Tyler should also be a familiar name for Orange fans. After announcing a transfer in from Texas, Tyler never arrived for SU, and wound up at ULM. Now he’s on the move again and the Orange could be in the mix once more.
Any other names you’d note before Wednesday? There’s certainly more out there, but we’re largely keeping this to what’s been publicly reported, rather than message board fodder and paywalled conversations.