Landing Duce Chestnut was a huge win for Syracuse football

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers
Sept. 7 2019; College Park MD, USA; Syracuse head coach Dino Babers speaks with reporters following the Syracuse Orange's 63-20 loss to the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Bierman, The Juice Online.

Syracuse football landed a crown jewel of their 2021 recruiting class on Sunday, receiving a verbal commitment from four-star cornerback Darian ‘Duce’ Chestnut.

The Camden (NJ) native selected Syracuse from a crowded field that included finalists Miami, Louisville, Michigan State and Rutgers. He made his decision via Twitter on Sunday.

Chestnut is ranked 325th in the country, and the No. 23 cornerback in his class. He is also the No. 6 recruit in New Jersey according to the 247 Composite.

Syracuse now has 16 verbal commitments in its 2021 class, and Chestnut is the top ranked of the group. It also continues the New Jersey pipeline for the Orange, that includes former top pledges Taj Harris (2018), Tommy DeVito (2017) and Dontae Strickland (2015).

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steveSteve Auger
Associate Editor/Senior Columnist

Any coaching staff will tell you that to win games on the field, you need to win recruiting battles off the field.

Syracuse won a huge recruiting battle on Sunday with the commitment of 4-star cornerback Darian “Duce” Chestnut. The Camden, NJ product chose the Orange over Miami, Louisville, Michigan State, and Rutgers.

With Andre Cisco expected to depart for the NFL after the season, and Trill Williams possibly joining him, Dino Babers needs to restock the Syracuse secondary with potential playmakers.

So, who else did Babers turn to other than ace recruiter Nick Monroe?

Monroe had help in landing the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Chestnut from Chip West, who was hired by Babers in the offseason. West was previously named the ACC Recruiter of the Year when he was on Virginia’s staff from 2010-2015. The combination of Monroe and West handed the Orange a big recruiting win that they very much needed.

To emphasize how important the Orange consider Chestnut to be to their future secondary, Chestnut told Mike McAllister that he spoke regularly to Cisco and Williams about playing for Babers and the Orange. The two best players in Syracuse’s secondary took an active role in recruiting the heir apparent.

Another aspect of securing Chestnut’s commitment is the statement Syracuse makes by landing one of the top players in New Jersey.

The Garden State is a hotbed for gridiron talent. Big Ten powerhouses such as Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan regularly pluck blue chip recruits. Conference foes Pitt and Boston College have always had success recruiting Jersey. And Greg Schiano’s return to Rutgers once again provides an option for recruits to stay home.

Sure, the Orange doesn’t own New Jersey the way they did during the Paul Pasqualoni era, but they get their share of quality players despite what some recruiting analysts think. Tommy DeVito and Taj Harris will have an enormous impact on Syracuse’s success this season. Both players are from New Jersey.

With Chestnut in the fold, Babers and his staff can continue their pursuit of another New Jersey 4-star recruit, George Rooks. Rooks is a legacy recruit whose father was a defense force for the Orange.

Syracuse won a big recruiting battle on Sunday.

Players like Chestnut can help Babers turn that initial off the field victory into many more on the field victories.

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About Steve Auger 165 Articles
Steve Auger is a freelance writer whose work has covered a variety of topics including sports, pets, parenting, healthy living, local government and human interest stories. Steve’s been a diehard Syracuse sports fan for over 25 years. To this day, the words “Smart takes the shot” still make him cringe. And according to Rutgers' fans, he's "not a take."