Instant Juice: Syracuse adds Garrison Johnson, Steven Linton on 2019 National Signing Day

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Syracuse coach Dino Babers addresses the Carrier Dome crowd to celebrate SU's Camping World Bowl victory. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

A quick take on Syracuse football’s auspicious 2019 National Signing Day:

WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse signed two players that had previously had verbal commitments, and also won recruiting battles at the last minute for two prospects. The two latest additions are rated three-stars and happened to announce their college choices around the same time.

  • Syracuse was initially heavily pursuing running back Michel Dukes before he committed to Clemson. Following that, the Orange turned its attention to Texas running back Garrison Johnson. He took an official visit to Syracuse in January and that proved to be the difference, with him announcing his commitment to the Orange over offers from North Texas, Indiana, Nebraska and Virginia, among others.
  • Georgia defensive lineman Steven Linton announced his decision at his high school, picking between three hats: Syracuse, Missouri, and South Florida. Linton tossed the Missouri and South Florida hats aside, and donned the Orange cap as the room applauded.

» Related: An early look at the 2019 Syracuse football team

ANALYSIS: With SU receiving 17 letters of intent during the early signing period, there was a lot less drama heading into 2019 NLI day. Syracuse football started the day knowing they’d get two letters of intent and they got both. One was from Connecticut quarterback David Summers. He had previously committed to Maryland before decommitting following the turmoil involving former coach DJ Durkin. The other was from defensive lineman Jason Munoz, who switched his commitment to the Orange following the resignation of head coach Mark Richt. Both have a three-star rating from 247 Sports. All four commitments add to a talented class that contains three four-star prospects on the defensive side of the ball in linebackers Lee Kpogba and Mikel Jones, and defensive back Cornelius Nunn.

HERO: Syracuse coach Kirk Martin was instrumental in landing Johnson. Martin was the head coach at Johnson’s high school in Manvel (TX), and the relationship carried through to his commitment. At 5’10” and 233 pounds, he’s the type of bruising running back the Orange can use in its backfield.

ZERO: The Orange had initially received a commitment from Texas defensive back Dorian Hewett over the summer. He announced he was reopening his recruitment in January, though he did take his official visit to Syracuse. Things looked bleak over the weekend with Hewett taking an official visit to USC, and he announced his commitment to the Trojans earlier in the week.

WHAT’S NEXT: Heading into Wednesday, Syracuse had three scholarships available. Two of them are now off the table with the late additions of Johnson and Linton. Still, that number is likely to increase, with potential transfers and other attrition. The Orange is likely in the market for a graduate transfer to help out on an offensive line that lost three starters.

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Wes Cheng
About Wes Cheng 2428 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) 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. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.