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Syracuse football recruiting: February update on the class of 2022

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Alright, back at it.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

As you recall, National Signing Day was last week and with that, we turn the page on the Syracuse Orange’s 2021 football recruiting class and start looking ahead at 2022.

It’s been nearly two months since we checked in on this coming class, and well... nothing’s really changed for Syracuse aside from some coaching shifts and some new offers. Though it’s not rare to have zero commits at this juncture — in fact, not even 75 FBS squad have one right now — some Orange fans may be understandably antsy about what’s ahead for Dino Babers’s staff. That’s alright. Let’s talk through what’s going on, and maybe you’ll feel better.

Quarterbacks

Same as before, Syracuse has five offers out so far, which probably isn’t enough. But in any case, those names, if you forgot:

  • Peter Delaportas, 4 stars (Sparta, N.J.) - Boston College commit
  • Preston Howard, 3 stars (Owings Mills, Md.)
  • Tevin Carter, 3 stars (Memphis, Tenn.)
  • Henry Belin, 3 stars (Bronx, N.Y.)
  • Beau Pribula, 3 stars (York, Pa.) - Penn State commit

SU is probably all in on Belin here, which is fine if you get him. But he does have interest from other schools (Rutgers, Pitt, Vanderbilt) and is a legacy at Vandy. As has been the case for most classes of late, Babers probably expands the list once we have a decision from our top target (Belin). We’ll see if it comes to that, and/or if it’s too late to move on to other targets.

Running backs

On the bright side, none of the 14 running backs that the Orange have offered thus far are committed elsewhere. But at the same time, SU doesn’t appear very close to earning commitments from any of those players just yet either. They’re specifically targeting four-star Samuel Brown (Glenside, Pa.) and three-star Sam Martin Jr. (Staten Island, N.Y.) most of all, but they’re up against plenty of bigger names for both.

We don’t know whether Syracuse will be looking at one or two running backs for this coming class. That will largely be decided by whether Jarveon Howard is back in the fold and/or whether SU adds a running back transfer this offseason. Right now, ‘Cuse has three scholarship running backs that we know are on the roster (Sean Tucker, Cooper Lutz, Josh Hough) plus two high quality walk-ons (Devin Flowers, Ja’Tarie Washington).

Wide receiver

While not to the same extent as some other spots, receiver’s become a bit of a question mark for the Orange as they’re looking for bigger targets on the outside to complement what looks like a pretty solid collection of inside receiver talent. The transfer portal is one place SU will be looking, while they continue to target high school recruits.

Of the 24 wideouts that Syracuse has offered, eight have already committed elsewhere — including six of the top 10 by 247 rating. After a couple years in a row of striking out on top receivers, the hope is that SU can land a couple of the four- or high-three-star players still on the board. Reggie Fleurima (Naperville, Ill.) and Samuel Mbake (Snellville, Ga.) would both be solid outside receiver options already weighing in over 200 pounds. However, competition is fierce with bigger programs offering both. Kevin Thomas (Haverford, Pa.) is another solid receiver with some size, but again... stiff competition.

One player who’s yet to get an offer from Syracuse is Addison Copeland from Buffalo. Though the fact that he just decommitted from Rutgers could sound like a sign for Syracuse to jump in on the three-star, he also just got an offer from Notre Dame. Copeland’s one of just two top New York recruits without an offer from the Orange, and it might be too late at this point. The other player is Sean Wilson (Middle Village, N.Y.), who also has a collection of bigger offers.

Offensive line

Syracuse has already added six players to the offensive line this offseason, and could still target another via transfer on the interior. That won’t stop this position group from continuing to be a priority in recruiting, however... once we find a new offensive line coach to replace Mike Cavanaugh.

Unfortunately, SU’s been losing out on some top targets of late, with three offensive line targets from New Jersey (Taj White, Nelson Monegro, Joe De Croce) all committing to Rutgers. At tackle, Laakea Kapoi is from the St. Louis School in Honolulu and could continue to build out the Orange O-line pipeline in Hawaii. He’s been picking up Pac-12 offers of late, though, which won’t help SU’s case.

Brad Harris, a three-star guard from Philadelphia, is another major target — though he’s also picked up some solid offers, including from Oregon. SU’s made a few newer offers since we last talked about the 2022 class, including tackle Alvin Ebosele (Coppell, Tex.), guard Jason Seraphin (Miami, Fla.) and Dawson Alters (Miami, Fla.), who all either are three-stars or project to be once rankings catch up. You’re definitely seeing a lot of offers in South Florida and Texas of late — indicative of the program’s typical emphasis on speed. With Texas, in particular though, it’s also stressing the addition of players already familiar with the system Babers and Sterlin Gilbert want to run on offense.

Defensive line

D-line looks similar to wide receivers in some respects. There are a lot of big offers out there, but many of the top targets have already made commitment decisions. On the current board, four of the top 10 defensive ends with offers have signed elsewhere, as of eight of the 28 ends total. A bunch of the other targets are also leaning toward bigger schools. An exception, however, is Denis Jacquez. The three-star from Richland, N.J. has plenty of P5 offers, of which Syracuse is one.

Another name that those following recruiting happenings are probably familiar with is Jimmy Scott. The Hamburg, N.Y. three-star has a ton of bigger offers and was a Tennessee commit for some time before the recent coaching change in Knoxville (and the resulting loss of quite a few recruits). He’s indicated that he’s still interested in SU. The top-500 player would be a huge addition for this class and defense.

On the interior, New York is the focus as well, with Fresh Meadows tackle Kaleb Artis. He’s a high three-star player at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, plus a ton of offers from schools like Notre Dame, Texas, FSU, Nebraska, Tennessee, Pitt, BC and more. It’s obviously not going to be easy to secure his commitment, but Syracuse is in contention early.

Linebackers

Syracuse has lost a decent number of linebackers to transfer in recent years, but we also have a core of young AND experienced players on the current depth chart. It’s worth adding more of course, and while SU’s lost out on some early targets (Nyair Graham, Donovan Westmoreland and Domanick Moon, to name a few), there are still plenty of names out there.

Once again, we’ll take a look at the priority player in New York. This time it’s Moses Walker from Brooklyn. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound outside linebacker is a four-star player just outside the top 100 on the 247Sports composite rankings. As you’d expect, he has offers from just about everybody.

Perhaps more attainable for Syracuse: Jordan Kwiatkowski (Sterling Heights, Mich.), Edwin Wilson Tara Kolenge (Clearwater, Fla.) or Derrieon Craig (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). But for now, let’s set our sights high.

Defensive backs

The Orange are a little shorthanded in the secondary with recent recruiting classes being smaller there, transfer targets not landing and several players heading off to the NFL Draft. So expect this to be a target position group for the 2022 class — and luckily, we have a pretty solid sales pitch! It’s looking very likely that at least two of Andre Cisco, Ifeatu Melifonwu and Trill Williams are selected in the draft this spring. That coming to fruition would nearly double the number of ‘Cuse alums in the NFL, and also put a spotlight on a position other than punter.

As mentioned late last year, four-star corner Trevell Mullen (Coconut Creek, Fla.) already has Syracuse among his top five. Also fellow corner Elijah Mc-Cantos (Miami, Fla.) seems to like the Orange as well — though LSU’s offered now, so that won’t help our case. When you look at the offers in the secondary, you’re definitely seeing a higher caliber of recruit that’s also more likely to pick SU because of recent results and an emphasis on takeaways. So despite five of the top seven corners either committed or leaning elsewhere, I don’t find it to be a major issue.

Safeties are less straightforward, though SU’s offered more South Florida prospects there in recent months (two of those include Anthony Rose and Phillip Dunnam). Fellow Floridian Jacolby Spells is a four-star athlete that projects in the secondary as well. Mike McAllister spoke to him back in the fall about Syracuse, and the Orange seem to be in a solid spot there, though with plenty of competition.

***

This is definitely not the exhaustive list of offers for Syracuse, rather it’s just some of the top names highlighted for your perusing pleasure. Over on 24Sports, there’s a good resource listing all known offers for the Orange right now, though obviously there are players that could also be off that radar, too.

Feel like there are other 2022 prospects out there that you’re more interested in? Let us know.