After landing a commitment from 4-star running back Robert Washington a little over a month ago, business has yet to pick up on the recruiting trail for Scott Shafer and his staff in the form of verbal commitments.
That trend continued as QB Anthony Brown out of St. John Vianney Regional High School in New Jersey recently pledged to Boston College over the Orange. Syracuse, specifically Coach Bobby Acosta, has made great strides over the past couple of years to re-open the New Jersey recruiting pipeline it used to enjoy before Rutgers’ ascension to mediocrity coincided with the hiring of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and his swift capsizing of the S.S. Orange. The loss of Brown hurts the Orange in multiple ways.
Syracuse competes not only against BC and Rutgers but also Pittsburgh for players in the Northeast corridor. Losing a recruit to one of those three schools, especially ACC conference foes BC and Pitt, strengthens a competitor while hurting its program at the same time.
The Orange had informed Brown that he was their top quarterback target for the 2016 class. Brown also trains with former Syracuse signal caller Madei Williams. Brown still picked BC despite two factors that would’ve seemed to give Syracuse an edge.
The bigger question now for Syracuse is where does it go from here? Senior Terrel Hunt is firmly entrenched as the starter heading into the season. Reserves Austin Wilson and A.J. Long both struggled mightily last year after Hunt was lost for the season with a leg injury. In fairness to both, the offensive line was decimated with injuries and two players Shafer counted on to help move the chains, Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime, missed a combined 16 games. Wilson and Long were both sitting ducks with the Orange’s anemic offense stuck in the mud. Syracuse signed two QBs with the 2015 class in Eric Dungey of Oregon and Kenterius Womack from Alabama.
While putting all its chips in the Brown basket, two other Orange targets at QB committed elsewhere. Wake Forest picked up Jamie Newman in April while 4-star stud Dwayne Haskins , Jr. committed to Maryland. Haskins was always a pipe dream; however, the thought of taking center snaps with Washington in his backfield gave Orange fans hope of pulling off the shocker. The Orange has offered David Moore, currently an SMU commit, so that’s a scenario certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Although Washington’s commitment didn’t help land Brown, it represents Shafer’s biggest recruiting score in his short Syracuse head coaching tenure. And there’s still plenty of time to turn his verbal into other commitments from much sought-after players. Syracuse’s 2015 class includes nine players who committed last June. Perhaps a repeat performance is in store with June a handful of days away. But as for now, Shafer’s quest for a quarterback in the 2016 class can only be listed as incomplete.