It’s been a rocky couple of weeks for the Syracuse Orange football program. The positive vibes from a 7-5 season are being blown away by a cold-front of tough news blowing in from the South.
After losing Tony White and Robert Anae, Syracuse saw their top two high school commits flip this week. This is obviously not the results people wanted after the on-field success. Syracuse’s high-school recruiting class is at the bottom of the ACC. Did the Orange land more untapped potential like they did with Matthew Bergeron? Will some of these players out-perform their offer lists like Garrett Williams? Time will tell and that is on the coaching staff to have identified fits and use their talents.
What I find interesting about comments about rankings is that for years (including leading up to this season), people have pointed out how Jim Boeheim recruits for his system and we shouldn’t worry about the rankings of those recruits. This isn’t to say Dino Babers gets afforded the trust that Boeheim has built up, but to point out the inconsistent arguments here and across Syracuse’s online fandom.
The rankings also ignore the transfers who are part of this class. Steve did the work and so let’s look at the Top 25 Syracuse recruits of the 247 era and I left LaNorris Sellers in there so you can see where he would have placed.
Top 25 Syracuse FB recruits (247 era)
|Carlos Del-Rio Wilson||0.9357||2022T||QB||4||Babers|
|LaNorris Sellers||0.8926||2023||QB||3||Flipped to S. Carolina||Babers|
If we’re going to talk about recruiting, we should note that the staff has found five transfers who make this list, including the three from this season. We’ll also point out that these rankings don’t guarantee success on the field, which is my overall point. Let’s see what happens with this group in the upcoming seasons.
We also need to see what happens with the transfer portal. This window of the transfer portal closes on January 18th. There is also a 15-day spring period from May 1-15. Players will be leaving Syracuse and other schools and for a program that needs to grab athletes ready to contribute in 2023, these are the players who matter most to the immediate on-field success all of us want to see continue.
No matter Syracuse will need some playmakers on both sides of the ball next Fall. Are those players currently on the roster? Will others enter the portal after the bowl game? Can they get Ja’Had Carter or Duce Chestnut back in the fold? Should they hold back a couple of scholarships for May portal entrants?
It’s clear the staff wanted offensive lineman and corners who were ready to see the field. Did this class fill those needs? Will the young defensive ends and wide receivers be ready to emerge by Fall?
The Sellers flip stings but Syracuse still has Shrader, Del-Rio Wilson and last spring’s standout Justin Lamson in the QB room. Losing the top recruit in the class isn’t a good thing, but in the time it would take for a high school quarterback to emerge at the top of the depth chart there will be other transfer targets.
I know this won’t change anyone’s mind (because we saw what 7 wins did for all those in the new HC camp) but it’s about taking a step off the ledge and pointing out that the rankings are not a complete picture. Yes, the national champion will have a lot of 5-stars but they’ll also have a lot of 4-stars hitting the portal as well.