A lot to like about Syracuse football’s 2021 class

Sep 26, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers looks on against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, we began our analysis of Syracuse football’s 2021 class on the offensive and defensive lines. But there’s even more to like about the recruiting class Syracuse has assembled to this point, which includes 21 players.

New York State of Mind

Recruiting home-grown talent is important for all schools. But it is critical for Syracuse since New York doesn’t produce the type of talent that states like Florida, New Jersey, or even Illinois do.

So far the Orange has landed three of the top eight prospects in New York per the 247Sports Composite rankings. Jalen Moss, Malik Matthew, and Elijah Fuentes.

Big ten powerhouses like Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State tend to have success in landing the Empire State’s best players. While the Orange might not be able to consistently compete with factory schools like those, scoring commitments from recruits a cut below is that much more important.

Peer schools Boston College, Pitt, and Rutgers all recruit New York well. Keeping some of the state’s top talent home not only bolsters the Orange roster but weakens conference foes in BC and Pitt as well.

Fuentes is a great example as he was reportedly close to committing to Rutgers and BC at various times. Instead, he’ll play for Syracuse.

New Territories

Syracuse historically gets the bulk of their talent within a six-hour drive of campus. Babers and his staff have been casting a wider net in recent years. And this year is no different.

The staff has received commitments from players in Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, and even Hawaii. Aloha indeed!

Take the Reins

Syracuse’s struggles to land a top-flight quarterback since Tommy DeVito have been well documented. That might have changed with the commitment of Californian Justin Lamson.

Lamson is supposed to have DeVito’s arm and Dungey’s legs. Yes, please!!!

And California is one of a handful of states, along with Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and New Jersey, where talent is plentiful.

Carry the Rock

Some of Syracuse’s struggles in the run game this season have stemmed from Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard both opting out. Though, the rushing attack has a suddenly more positive outlook with true freshman Sean Tucker’s performance against Georgia Tech.

Enter Josh Hough.

Like Tucker, Hough brings a combination of power and speed to the gridiron. He’s Thunder and Lightning rolled into one package!

Hough ran for over 240 yards on just four carries last week while finding the endzone three times. And he hails from the football hotbed of western Pennsylvania.

» Related: Syracuse has prioritized the offensive, defensive lines in 2021

Going Deep

Successful wide receivers will always have a place in Dino’s offense, that’s for sure.

Justin Lamson must be licking his chops at the prospect of throwing to Umari Hatcher, Oronde Gadsden II, Kendall Long, and tight end Landon Morris.

Hatcher’s combination of speed and height – he stands 6-foot-3 – to present ACC secondaries some serious problems.

Like Moss on the defensive line, Gadsden also possesses NFL bloodlines. His father played for the Miami Dolphins for six seasons.

Long, another South Carolina recruit, gives the Orange a big, physical receiver. At 6-foot-3 and 215 lbs, Long will have the chance to dominate smaller defenders.

Morris gives the Orange a pass-catching threat at the tight end position for the third straight class. Last season Luke Benson flashed some elite speed while true freshman Steven Mahar out of Rochester was one of the gems of last year’s class.

Babers and his staff will surely be selective with the few remaining scholarships for the Class of 2021 as they look to fill out what appears to be a class loaded with talent and potential.

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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."