Recruiting Roundup: Syracuse inks three on NLI day; Mychale Salahuddin picks Pitt

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Dino Babers coaches during the first half of Syracuse's game. Mandatory photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

The Detroit Lions defense is about to get more multiple… On to today’s recruiting roundup featuring our NLI day recap:

Syracuse football announced on Wednesday that it added three members to its 2018 class, with running back Akeem Dixon, running back Jarveon Howard and defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu signing National Letters of Intent. Syracuse’s class is now ranked 43rd in the country with an average score of 85.58, and 50th according to total score, according to 247 Sports.

Akeem Dixon had committed to the Orange back in May, but wasn’t among those in the early signing period because of academic concerns. Those concerns were addressed with a strong fall semester, allowing Dixon to qualify to play for SU, writes’s Stephen Bailey. Check out video of Dixon signing courtesy of’s Jon Santucci.

Jarveon Howard, a Mississippi running back rated 3-stars by 247 Sports, chose Syracuse over offers from Mississippi State, Ole’ Miss and Tennessee, among others. When he first received the offer from the Orange, he didn’t think there was any way he go. That changed quickly once he visited, he said to The Columbian-Progress’s Joshua Campbell. “I don’t feel like it’s so far away,” Howard said. “It’s four hours on a plane. It was a four-hour car ride to Mississippi.”

» Related: Major Syracuse storylines heading into NLI Day

Syracuse won a recruiting battle at 11:30 a.m., with Caleb Okechukwu selecting the Orange over offers from Texas and Arkansas. The three-star defensive lineman from Washington, DC announced his commitment over a video posted to Twitter. Once he adds weight to his frame and hits the strength and conditioning program,” 247 Sports’ Mike McAllister writes, “he could become a valuable piece among the defensive line.”

It wasn’t all good news for the Orange, though. Four-star running back Mychale Salahuddin was deciding between Syracuse and Pitt, and initially put on an Orange hat before tossing it aside to reveal a Panthers t-shirt. The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell posted video of Salahuddin’s last second flip-flop. He previously was committed to USC and had also considered North Carolina.

2018 defensive lineman Fitzroy Gardner will not be joining the Orange, for now at least, reports The Tampa Bay Times’ Bob Putnam. The Florida product will instead attend Iowa Western Community College, and if he qualifies, the Orange will hold a scholarship spot open. He could conceivably qualify in time to join the team for the fall season.

Syracuse is also officially out of the running for one-time commit Tyrone Sampson. The four-star offensive lineman officially scratched Syracuse off the list, and is now considering offers from Arizona State, Nebraska, Mississippi State and Western Michigan according to MLive’s Jared Purcell.

That’s all from the recruiting world for today. Have a great Thursday!

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]