While the Syracuse Orange football program added a total of 14 players last week, the 2022 recruiting (and transfer) cycle is far from complete since there are still only about 73 scholarship players on the roster. So that means there’s quite a bit of work ahead for Dino Babers and his staff, including added three more assistants ASAP (they’re working on it).
The strength of SU’s sales pitch probably changes quite a bit depending on how the staff fills out, of course. But at least as it stands right now, here are the positions and players that the Orange are still targeting.
If Virginia’s Jason Beck is indeed the team’s top priority as QB coach, you’re probably seeing SU target more dual-threat options than pocket passers; something that many fans are probably thrilled to hear. Not sure what that means for the two uncommitted 2022 quarterbacks with ‘Cuse offers — three-stars Jalen Daniels and Ashley Tucker — but the better option for the team is probably to find an experience player to compete with Garrett Shrader.
Would assume that once an offensive coordinator and QB coach are installed, we see a transfer offer or two here.
This is a position of need for the Orange right now, with just three scholarship players on the roster right now when you include incoming freshman LeQuint Allen. Sean Tucker’s also the only player with experience among current running backs. It would be ideal to add another name to the depth chart. SU’s top priority right now may be New Mexico State’s Juwaun Price. The former Aggie has an Orange offer, and ran for 691 yards last year.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
One would think Syracuse would’ve been a bit more active trying to attract experienced wide receiver talent on the transfer portal, but there don’t appear to be any public offers extended as of yet. Things are also more complicated by the fact that wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel has departed.
That said, there are 10 wideouts on the roster. So perhaps the biggest thing is just finding a coaching that knows what to do with them (which Sterlin Gilbert clearly didn’t). Syracuse has also offered Lafayette transfer tight end Steven Stillianos. The Virginia native would be a grad transfer and definitely has the size (250 pounds) for how SU’s previously used tight ends. He did catch 21 passes for Lafayette this fall, though, so perhaps we see at least a little progress in terms of throwing to tight ends.
Syracuse has 18 offensive linemen on the roster right now if you count the class of 2022 additions. So it’s not crucial they make an add, though there’s also little experience beyond the top names on the depth chart. So someone like UL-Monroe transfer Willie Tyler (who had previously committed to SU last year) could be a welcome veteran addition. SU is still in the mix for guard Tapuvae Amaama as well, though he won’t be announcing his decision ‘til Jan. 22.
Syracuse has eight defensive linemen, so at least one more is preferred — especially if they’re experienced. Because ultimately, that’s what the Orange lack most. Losing their top five linemen (four via graduation) from a year ago means Caleb Okechukwu is the only returning player that’s played any real downs. Albany transfer defensive end Jared Verse was SU’s top target this offseason, but it’s going to be a tough sell with many of the top programs in the country also offering him at this point.
From a numbers perspective, 10 linebackers is pretty solid. They could and should add another given the fact that SU has the space. But right now, it’s not essential — especially with starters firmly established with Mikel Jones, Stefon Thompson and Marlowe Wax.
One of Syracuse’s remaining top high school targets is cornerback Avery Powell, though the New Jersey prospect also has some big offers in hand (from Penn State, Wisconsin, Ole Miss and others). Carrying 15 defensive backs right now means the Orange could be three-deep at every position. But if Garrett Williams opts to declare for the NFL Draft, things do get a little more tenuous on the experience front. So the Orange should try and make some experienced adds here if they can. Certainly won’t complain about bringing Powell aboard, however.
Anywhere else you’d like to see the team focus this offseason? Share your own recruiting takes below.