Orange fireworks cause for July celebration

Twitter tea leaves hinted at some pending football commitments

Babers+GaTech
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

At the end of June, Nick Monroe promised on Twitter that Syracuse fans would soon see Orange fireworks. Over the next several days leading up to, and on, the Fourth of July, the staff delivered on Monroe’s claim.

For months, Syracuse football recruiting, at least to the public eye of a fanbase starving for positive signs of life, has been stuck in neutral with only four commits. The most recent of which, Belizaire Bassette, committed on March 27.

More alarming was the success of peer schools Boston College and Rutgers.

Jeff Hafley and Greg Schiano are both entering their second seasons, and each has been collecting quality recruits – if the recruiting website rankings are to be believed – hand over fist.

BC is obviously an ACC foe and Rutgers is on the schedule this year. It is an out of conference game that would behoove Dino Babers and the Orange to hang in the win column.

June is typically a month that sees Syracuse land multiple verbal commitments. And with the NCAA allowing campus visits starting in June as the national pandemic wanes and vaccination distribution rises, schools everywhere were primed to capitalize.

But as July followed June on the calendar, Syracuse still had just the four verbals.

That is until Monroe, Syracuse’s best recruiter and golfer extraordinaire, took to Twitter.

When the #SwagDaddy tweets, #OrangeNation listens!

Florida Finds

Florida is known for producing oranges so its fitting that the Orange fireworks kicked off with a Sunshine State commit.

Cornerback Jeremiah Wilson announced on June 30.

A 3-star recruit out of Kissimmee, Wilson also held offers from Arizona, Iowa State, and Washington State. He stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs 173 pounds.

Recruiting quality defensive backs takes on a higher importance given that under Tony White, Syracuse switched to a 3-3-5 defense last season. The Orange will need to bring in a consistently large number of secondary recruits each year as that grouping now plays a significant role in the defense.

One day later, Syracuse tapped Florida again with the commitment of linebacker Mehki Mason out of Opa Locka.

Monroe bagged a solid commit in Mason as the Orange beat out Georgia Tech and a resurgent Big Ten recruiting machine in Indiana. Mason also fielded an impressive offers list that included LSU, Florida State, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss.

Mason will add to Syracuse’s quality linebacking corps with his powerfully built 6-foot-1, 220 pound frame. He is set to join Mikel Jones, who burst onto the scene last year, Geoff Cantin-Arku, Stefon Thompson, and true freshman Marlowe Wax.

Strengthened Secondary

The Orange fireworks continued July 4 with another defensive back commitment.

South Carolina native Quan Peterson continued Syracuse’s success with Palmetto State recruits as he’ll join Kendall Long and Jatius Geer from the Class of 2021.

Peterson and his 6-foot-1 height should fit in well at corner in the 3-3-5. He also had offers from Georgia Tech, Coastal Carolina, and Liberty.

The Price is Right

Q’yaeir Price is a defensive lineman out of New Jersey. He is also the latest Syracuse commit.

Price took an official visit to Syracuse on June 18 followed by an official to West Virginia a week later. He was considered to be an Orange lean. But fans became skeptical when he did take the West Virginia official and even more so when a couple of weeks went by after completing his visits.

That changed when Price tweeted that he’d be announcing his college choice Saturday, July 10 at 4:00 pm. Still, Orange fans were anxious up until Price’s announcement. The Orange coaches were quiet on Twitter leading up to the announcement and that wasn’t typical as of late.

Syracuse coaches have consistently dropped hints on Twitter for an expected commitment without giving away the recruit’s identity. But with one tweet, Syracuse fans rejoiced, and Price became the eighth member of Syracuse’s class; seven of which are on defense.

Price, a 3-star recruit, is a massive recruiting win for Dino Babers for several reasons. He also had offers from Boston College, Rutgers, West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Purdue.

New Jersey is a talent-rich state that ACC rivals like BC and Pitt successfully recruit so any commitment from a Jersey player is big. Rutgers is again keeping more kids home with Greg Schiano back at the helm. And, Big Ten powerhouses Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State tend to have their pick of the better New Jersey players.

Syracuse’s 2022 recruiting class doubled in size from four to eight players in the matter of 11 days. Orange fireworks indeed!

Who’s Next?

Who are some names to look for to potentially commit in the coming weeks ahead? Here are five recruits who just might trigger the next Twitter barrage by the coaching staff.

Chad Schuster

Schuster is an offensive tackle from Franklin, WI. He has great height at 6-foot-6 and already weighs 280 pounds. The 3-star recruit has one 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction for Syracuse.

Tapuvae Amaama

Another offensive lineman who would look good in orange is Tapuvae Amaama out of Utah.

Amaama is a massive man at 6-foot-4 and 340 pounds and would be an ideal road grader in the run game. Offers of note for the 3-star include Miami (FL), Colorado State, BYU, and Hawaii.

Jordan Anthony

Anthony is a wide receiver out of Tylertown, MS. He has speed to burn as he recently ran a 10.21 in the 100-meter for his high school track team.

The 3-star recruit announced a top 7 of Syracuse, BC, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Houston, Memphis, and South Alabama. Ole Miss might be the favorite here as two Crystal Balls for the Rebels were just cast. He plans to announce his commitment on July 27.

DeAunte Hunter

Hunter is a 6-foot-4 linebacker from Georgia. This could be another contest between Syracuse and West Virginia as 247Sports lists both schools as “warm” on his profile. Hunter officially visited Syracuse and West Virginia in June.

Davin Jackson

Jackson is another South Carolina product. The 3-star defensive lineman officially visited Syracuse on June 25.

Though, the Orange might be on the outside looking in with Jackson as 247 shows three Crystal Ball predictions all for South Carolina. And, Appalachian State, NC State, and South Carolina are the only three schools listed as “warm.” Besides 247, Rivals also shows two FutureCasts for the Gamecocks.

One potential twist in Jackson’s recruitment is that he recently announced that he tore his ACL. Will that cause some schools to back off? If Syracuse is trailing and other schools do cool to Jackson, will that give the Orange the inside track if they ramp up their recruitment?

The Fourth of July might be in the rearview mirror. But that doesn’t mean more Orange fireworks won’t follow.

About Steve Auger 128 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. His work has been published on Care.com, Tom’s of Maine, Purina’s Petcentric.com and the Westford Patch. 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. Follow him on Twitter @Corner_Cube.