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Early signing period roundtable: What do we think of Syracuse football’s 2022 class?

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You have some thoughts. Obviously we do as well.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange football program had an interesting early signing period, even if not a great one. SU signed 13 players while tacking on a transfer from Louisville (Braylin Oliver) as well. There’s clearly more coming for this class, as even Dino Babers admits. Because really, if there isn’t, we’re in for a even rougher road ahead than we though.

All of that aside, though, you’re probably wondering how to contextualize the group of players that are actually signed at this point. Well, the TNIAAM football staff gives it a shot:

Which offensive recruit has you most excited?

John: By way of his Gatorade Player of the Year Award in New Jersey, it’s LeQuint Allen. He’s not necessarily the power option that Sean Tucker can be, but he’ll potentially get time to develop on that front. Despite hot-and-cold results, this staff has actually ID’d some real talents at running back. Allen could be yet another player that didn’t get the recruiting buzz he deserved.

Kevin: Donovan Brown because we know what happens when you have speed on the outside. You force safety help which opens the middle for other players or you can keep throwing go routes on the outside. It feels like the Syracuse offense has lacked playmakers recently and Brown could be a game-breaker.

Steve: Should it be LeQuint Allen? Probably, but because of the man known as Sean Tucker, we’re not going to see him for at least a year. As such, I’ll go with Donovan Brown. He could find his way into the rotation early and make some waves.

Christian: LeQuint Allen looks like he has the speed to match Sean Tucker, which is promising. The physicality isn’t there, but you’d hope a season or two in the Manley weight rooms changes that. With the recent exodus of players from the running back room as well, he’ll move up the depth chart quicker.

Which defensive recruit has you most excited?

John: Denis Jaquez seems like he’s ready to go already at the FBS level, with a variety of moves and clear ability to get after the quarterback. Given the fact that we don’t know much about the defensive line as it currently stands, he could be on the field pretty quickly, too.

Kevin: Mekhi Mason. I think it’s easiest for linebackers to find a way to make an early impact and Mason fits the mold of what the Orange are trying to do on defense.

Steve: Probably Dom Foster. With some recent transfers the Orange need some depth at corner, and an athlete that was able to impress as Foster has, only recently converting to defense seems to fit the bill. The 6-foot-2 frame doesn’t hurt either. Bonus points for being an early enrollee too.

Christian: Gotta agree with Kevin here. Mekhi Mason seems like he’s got the speed to play in Syracuse’s system right now. With questions about the quality of linebackers behind the starting three, it leaves the door open for someone like him to step in immediately.

Which recruit will we miss most when he’s gone?

John: It’s probably Jaquez, since Syracuse is replacing the top four defensive lineman and needs someone to step up. Why not find the heir apparent to SU’s recent pass rushing legacy right away?

Kevin: Max von Marburg because we are #PunterU after all

Steve: Going to go with pedigree and say Kadin Bailey. If his dad and uncle are anything to track his progress on, Bailey will make an impact.

Christian: Dom Foster. He alongside with Mason are expected to enroll early and join the program in January. We saw with Duce Chestnut and with Terry Lockett that both guys enrolled early and made their way onto the two deep, which Chestnut starting. With secondary talent still a concern, starting early may give Foster a big boost.

Best name in the class?

John: No contest that it’s Aussie punter Max Von Marburg, who’s ripped straight from the pages of a Blade comic.

Kevin: Without a doubt it’s Belizaire Bassette. That’s a name with NIL potential.

Steve: While John is right on the Blade reference, I’ve got to go with Bassette as well.

Christian: It’s Belizaire Bassette. Sorry future play-by-play guys of Orange football.

Which recruit has the best chance to start (or at least make the most significant contribution) in 2022?

John: It may sound like I’m on repeat here, but it’s Jaquez. There isn’t much experience on the line right now, and with a new defensive line coach coming in, nothing’s likely to be sacred. Jaquez’s tape looks pretty solid, so expect to see him plenty next fall.

Kevin: I’d say it’s between von Marburg and Denis Jaquez. We all know about the punting issues and with the losses on defense you could see someone with Jaquez’s skill set being used to rush the passer.

Steve: Jaquez, or possibly the ‘Ville transfer, Bralyn Oliver? Not sure which cracks in first, but both are likely to see some time in relatively thin positions.

Christian: Bralyn Oliver. The safeties left a bit to be desired last season, with Garrett Williams and Duce Chestnut left to do a bunch of the work without much help. Hopefully an ACC talent who’s used to this level of competition can provide an additional spark.

Which recruit has the toughest road to playing time?

John: Could be Joe Cruz, who didn’t have a ton of offers aside from Syracuse and enters a crowded offensive line depth chart with pretty much everyone back. We’ve been surprised before, of course. Just seems like there are a lot of players already on the roster — with a lot of eligibility left — standing in his way.

Kevin: I would go with Joe Cruz because the path to playing time at tackle looks pretty steep and it would likely be better in the long-run if he gets to redshirt.

Steve: Also Joe Cruz, for reasons identified above.

Christian: Unfortunately, gotta continue the trend here and say Joe Cruz. Dino’s still probably shell-shocked from 2020 so he’s going to have as many OLs as possible in every given recruiting class. But that means some guys are going to sit for a while.