A quick take on Syracuse football’s first day of the 2018 Early Signing Period:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange added 17 new players to its roster, including four defensive backs, four defensive linemen, three linebackers, three offensive lineman, one tight end, one running back and one wide receiver.
|Courtney Jackson||WR||5-10||165||Monroeville, Pa.||Gateway|
|Andrew Tuazama||DL||6-5||215||Knightdale, N.C.||Jireh Prep|
|Aman Greenwood||DB||5-10||180||Washington, D.C.||St. John’s College HS|
|Joe Rondi||DL||6-3||265||Wayne,||N.J. Wayne Hills|
|Mikel Jones||LB||6-0||215||Miami, Fla.||IMG Academy|
|Anthony Red||OL||6-5||285||Bloomfield, Conn.||St. Thomas More|
|Garrett Williams||DB||5-11||175||Harrisburg, N.C.||Hickory Ridge|
|Matthew Bergeron||OL||6-5||295||Quebec City, Quebec, Canada||Cégep de Thetford|
|Luke Benson||TE||6-3||210||Doylestown, Pa.||Central Bucks West|
|Lee Kpogba||LB||6-1||215||Winston-Salem, N.C.||Parkland|
|Adrian Cole||DB||5-10||170||Plantation, Fla.||Plantation|
|Cooper Dawson||DL||6-5||245||Hanahan, S.C.||Hanahan|
|Ishmael Goulbourne||DL||6-3||205||Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.||Dwyer|
|Darius Tisdale||OL||6-4||275||South Brunswick, N.J.||South Brunswick|
|Geoff Cantin||LB||6-3||210||Quebec City, Quebec, Canada||Cégep Garneau|
|Cornelius Nunn||DB||5-11||170||Miami, Fla.||Miami Palmetto|
|Jawhar Jordan||RB||5-9||165||Long Island, N.Y.||Hamilton (Ariz.)|
- The crown jewels of the early signing class are linebackers Mikel Jones (Miami, Fla.) and Lee Kpogba (Winston-Salem, N.C.). Each was considered a four-star prospect, with Kpogba appearing as the No. 124 recruit on Rivals.com’s Top 250 list and Jones ranked as No. 296 on the ESPN 300. Jones is the second ESPN 300 signing for head coach Dino Babers, with the other being Tommy DeVito in 2017.
- The coaching staff went the extra mile to get Jawhar Jordan (Long Island, N.Y.) and Cornelius Nunn (Miami, Fla.) on this roster. Jordan originally committed for the class of 2018, but needed to get academically cleared by the NCAA in order to enroll. He’ll join the team in January. As for Nunn, he had an unusual recruitment, pledging Syracuse over the summer before switching his commitment to Miami following SU’s loss to Pitt in October. But Nunn, in a rare move, switched his commitment back to the Orange in November. Nunn is also one of the top recruits in SU’s class.
- Aside from Cooper Dawson’s (Hanahan, S.C.) heartwarming commitment to Syracuse (more on that below), the staff did an outstanding job of retaining him. The Orange had to hold off a late push from Clemson for Dawson, who can play both tight end and defensive line.
- The two prospects that are the most intriguing are OL Matthew Bergeron (Quebec City, Quebec) and LB Geoff Cantin (Quebec City, Quebec). According to ESPN, they are the No. 2 and No. 3 Canadian prospects, which has been a mostly untapped resource. Both have three-star ratings from 247 Sports, and could be the beginning of a huge pipeline for the Orange given the proximity and now familiarity.
- According to 24/7 Sports, the Orange’s class ranks 57th in the country, which puts them 13th in the ACC, only above Louisville, which is beginning a complete overhaul. While you’d think that Syracuse would be higher given that it just had its best season since 2001, recruiting is largely a two-year process, which means that SU was really recruiting many of the signees based on a 4-8 performance in 2017. Still, SU’s success this year wasn’t without its spoils, as Nunn, Kpogba and Jones all committed in late November.
- Syracuse did well in perhaps its two most important pipelines states, with four players coming from Florida and two from New Jersey. The remaining class includes three from North Carolina, two from Pennsylvania and one each from Connecticut, New York, South Carolina and Washington D.C.
HERO: This video of Dawson speaks for itself.
This is one of the greatest signing days you will ever see. Hanahan’s Cooper Dawson picks Syracuse- but does it by first telling close friend Kingsley Feinman. Kingsley announces the decision- Dawson adds that Kingsley taught him the only disability is a bad attitude. @ABCNews4 pic.twitter.com/3OGJzJmlXg
— Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) December 19, 2018
ZERO: Syracuse made a late push for Georgia cornerback Taj Dodson, as he came up for an official visit in early December. But Dodson ended up signing with Kentucky. Syracuse had also made a major last push for the No. 1 recruit in New York State, DE Adisa Isaac. That was enough to vault SU into his top four along with Texas A&M, Miami and Penn State, with a scheduled official visit to SU over the past weekend. But Isaac ended up not coming and pledged to Penn State.