Proving once again that #OrangeIsTheNewFast, Dino Babers and his staff appear to have had a successful #NationalLetterofIntentDay. To date, the Orange has 18 recruits signed with room for three more, give or take any future roster defections. If you like the offense Syracuse has employed under Babers, then you’ll probably love what the Class of 2018 brings to the table.
Through Babers’ first two seasons, the ground game has struggled to keep pace with the passing game’s production. Dungey, much to Babers’ chagrin, has been the offense’s biggest threat out of the backfield. That seems about to change as the staff has worked to collect a stable of ball carriers that matches the potential assembled at wide receiver. Akeem Dixon and Jarveon Howard, both 3-star recruits inked NLI’s yesterday while a third RB, Jawhar Jordan, is set to sign assuming he can qualify academically.
Donate Strickland and Moe Neal, the two most established RBs on the roster, are set to lead the ground game next season. They’ll get some help from a couple of sophomores. Markenzy Pierre, who got some carries early last season though he played mostly on special teams, and Allen Stritzinger, who played on kickoff returns.
Four wide receivers signed during the December period. The jewel is Ed Hendrix out of Washington, D.C. The 4-star recruit brings the type of size the staff covets at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds. If Edwards doesn’t see the field as true freshman, a year in the Orange’s strength and conditioning program will help him add some muscle to endure the rigors of the ACC.
The staff once again mined Florida for Anthony Queeley, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds. Taj Harris is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound recruit out of the all-important New Jersey hotbed. And Cooper Lutz is a 6-foot-0, 190-pound burner from Reading, PA who will make his living in the slot.
Those three will join Sean Riley, Russell Thompson-Bishop, Jamal Custis, Cameron Jordan, Nykeim Johnson, and Sharod Johnson in a receiving corps eager to leave their marks similar to past #OrangeIsTheNewFast standouts Amba Etta-Tawo, Steve Ishmael, and Erv Philips.
Syracuse has previously dipped into the grad transfer market under Babers to shore up areas that needed immediate help. This offseason the Orange has landed to top-flight transfers who will both potentially give the offense a huge jolt after sitting out next season due to NCAA rules.
Sophomores Trishton Jackson, a former starting wide receiver from Michigan State, and Abdul Adams, a running back from Oklahoma, are both former 4-star recruits. Jackson ranked in the top 250 top recruits by both Scout and 247 Sports. Adams was the No. 15 running back in the 2016 Class according to 247Sports composite rankings. In addition to Oklahoma, Adams had offers from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Miami, and Georgia.
Both Jackson and Adams will take the field for Syracuse in the fall of 2019, when then-redshirt sophomore Tommy DeVito will presumably seize the starting quarterback reins.
Protecting DeVito’s blindside could very well be 4-star offensive tackle Qadir White out of the Bronx. Figuratively and literally, White, who signed back in December, was a huge recruiting win for the staff, staving off overtures from Auburn and Maryland.
And he’s a mammoth of a man standing at 6-foot-7, 334-pounds. White represents the type of size Syracuse needs along the offensive line to battle against the NFL-caliber defensive linemen conference foes like Clemson and Florida State seem to have in droves year in and year out.
Babers and his staff will next look to fill out the few remaining slots in the Class of 2018 while working on nabbing that all-important first 2019 pledge.
So Syracuse fans, how do you like your cake now? Served with a side of #OrangeIsTheNewFast, of course.