The Orange got an early start to the July 4th weekend with some recruiting fireworks of their own as Dino Babers and his staff continued their trend of landing commitments from players outside of their typical recruiting footprint.
The latest two commits are quarterback Justin Lamson and defensive end Jatius Geer. Lamson hails from California while Geer is from South Carolina. Geer joins wide receiver Kendall Long as the second Orange verbal from the Palmetto State.
Lamson and Geer together gave a bump to Syracuse’s recruiting class ranking as the duo are the two highest ranked recruits per the 247Sports Composite rankings for the Class of 2021.
Quelling the QB Quandary
Lamson’s verbal will, at least for now, silence the critics from playing the “Dino Babers hasn’t landed a priority quarterback recruit since Tommy DeVito” card. That mantra had become almost as annoying as “Syracuse has never been able to make free throws under Jim Boeheim!”
Yes, it is true that Babers and his staff have missed out on some of their desired signal calling targets over the past several seasons. But instead of donning the tin foil hat and believing that there is some conspiracy among recruits to spurn Babers, the more likely reasons were obvious. Eric Dungey and Tommy DeVito.
Dungey was a four-year starter and DeVito was set to take the reigns as a redshirt sophomore. That didn’t leave many snaps for a high-profile recruit.
More Help Up Front
How do you like your offensive lineman; road graders, pass blockers, or both?
If big, nasty linemen who can move tickle your OL fancy, you just might get your wish. Twice.
» Related: Syracuse lands in Duce Chestnut’s final eight
The Orange are looking to snag both Enrique Cruz and Lyndon Cooper to fortify a haul of offensive linemen that would also include Austyn Kauhi and Wes Hoeh.
The 6-foot-5, 252-pound Cruz recently visited Syracuse unofficially. He told Mike McAllister that he wants to visit Memphis, Kansas, Arizona, and Utah before selecting a school.
Cooper also recently toured the Syracuse campus with his mom. He stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 315 pounds, though he is currently unranked in the 247Sports Composite.
His top six schools include Syracuse, NC State, Charlotte, East Carolina, Texas State, and Troy. This race appears to be between Syracuse and NC State. All three Crystal Ball selections have been cast in favor of NC State. But those picks were made before Cooper’s visit to Syracuse.
Roasting Wide Receivers
Christmas could come early for the Orange with a commitment from 4-star defensive back Darian “Duce” Chestnut.
The 4-star prospect from Camden, NJ is the type of recruit Syracuse needs to land on a regular basis to compete in the ACC Atlantic. He just released his top eight schools and Syracuse made the cut. Louisville, Miami, Rutgers, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, and Kansas round out the list.
Chestnut will certainly have his chances to roast wide receivers should he pick Syracuse.
Longing for a Legacy
Syracuse fans of a certain age no doubt reflect fondly on years past when George Rooks, Marvin Harrison, and Johnnie Morant routinely made game-changing plays that contributed to Orange wins.
A generation later and those same fans long to see the second coming of Rooks, Harrison, and Morant help bring Syracuse football back to the level that their fathers once enjoyed. That has not been the case for two of the three.
Jordan Morant is set to begin his freshman season at Michigan while Marvin Harrison, Jr., has committed to Ohio State’s Class of 2021.
George Rooks is the last of the trio who has yet to pick a school. A verbal from Rooks would make him the gem of Syracuse’s class. Plucking the 4-star recruit out of talent-laden New Jersey would also be a coup for Babers. Big Ten heavyweights Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, along with conference foes Pitt and BC, regularly mine Jersey for players. And a rejuvenated Rutgers under Greg Schiano is getting their share of talent to stay home too.
Rooks might join fellow Jersey-ite Morant at Michigan if the recruiting experts are to be believed.
Rounding out the Linebackers
Syracuse can close out a solid class of linebackers by securing a commitment from Jason Henderson.
Henderson, from Milford, PA, would join Malik Matthew and Austin Roon as the first linebacking corps to commit to Chris White’s 3-3-5 defense. Matthew and Roon are both 3-star recruits while Henderson has yet to receive a ranking in the 247Sports Composite.
His final four includes Syracuse, Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion, and Villanova. Despite the lack of other Power 5 offers, the Syracuse coaches are working hard to land Henderson. Fans and the staff won’t have to wait much longer as Henderson announced that he plans to commit on July 24.
Players around the country are back on campus preparing for a season, that, at best, seems questionable to be played.
And though the season might stop before it gets started, recruiting continues to be a year-round sport.