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Over the years, there haven’t been many quarterback prospects in New York that you could really classify as “elite” national recruits. This past year there was Jake Zembiec, and in 2005 there was Greg Paulus, but otherwise, the talent level at QB has been good, if not great. This year, however, there’s a legitimately elite prospect in Jack Coan, and he could prove to be the most crucial target for Dino Babers and his staff in the entire 2017 class.

The Orange are involved with a number of terrific looking quarterback prospects in this upcoming class, including Kasim Hill, Rodney Hall, and Jairus Grissom, all of whom have received offers from Babers and his assistants. That’s not even counting some other 2017 signal callers Syracuse is taking a long, hard look at. But in terms of the sheer impact it would have on the program, none is bigger than Coan.

Coan was just minted a 4-star recruit and found himself in Scout’s national Top 300 for the first time, coming in at No. 255 in the nation and the top quarterback prospect in the East. At 6-foot-3, 191 pounds, the pocket passer has more athleticism and escapability than you might initially think – and I’ll go ahead and avoid the hot button issue for why his athleticism is underrated – and last year he was named the New York Class A Co-Player of the Year by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

The rising senior from West Sayville, as it’s pretty well known at this point, was a lacrosse commit to Notre Dame before his football stock started to take off last year. This past year, he threw for 2,499 yards with 36 touchdowns and rushed for 1,275 yards and 17 more scores on the ground, which is why the likes of Michigan, Maryland, Miami, Nebraska, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Temple, UConn, Boston College, Wake Forest, and Indiana have already offered him a scholarship.

It’s not overstating things to say that Syracuse has really struggled when it comes to keeping the top talent home in recent years, which is part of what makes landing Coan so crucial. Dino Babers has said publicly that he wants to make it a priority to keep the state’s top players home, and if he were to bring in a player of Coan’s caliber, it could wind up having a similar effect to Tim Green signing with the Orange in the 1980s. Only in this case, rather than a defensive lineman, you’re talking about a player at the most important position on the field. And that’s nothing against defensive linemen, of course. But these days especially, when you reel in an elite QB, it boosts your recruiting cache more than just about any other position can.

I mentioned that Syracuse has had a tough time keeping top quarterback talent home, and obviously, there hasn’t always been a talent worthy of bringing to the Hill. This year, I already mentioned Zembiec. Prior to that, the biggest QB recruit out of New York in recent years was Chad Kelly in 2012, and obviously he’s had a bit of a troubled path.

Syracuse actually did manage to land the top signal caller in the state of New York in both 2010 and 2011. Of course, in 2010 that was John Kinder, who never threw a pass for the Orange, and in 2011 it was Ashton Broyld, who wasn’t brought in to play under center. In 2007, the Orange missed out on Mike Paulus, who chose UNC and eventual obscurity over staying home, while in 2005, Mike’s older brother Greg shunned the Orange in favor of playing basketball at Duke.

Obviously, the former Gatorade National Player of the Year would eventually play quarterback for Syracuse, but after four years on the hardwood, that’s a little different than selecting his hometown team directly out of high school. If Paulus the elder had chosen to follow the football path when he came out of CBA, from everything I recall, the signs were pointing to Notre Dame as his probable destination.

Landing Coan would be an enormous win for Syracuse both in terms of getting an elite prospect and also making a statement about keeping New York’s top talent at home. He’s an outstanding looking prospect, with pocket presence as good and mechanics as clean as any I’ve seen in a high school signal caller in ages. He throws with accuracy, with zip, and with a tight spiral, and looks to legitimately be one of the top QBs in the entire 2017 class.

If Dino Babers wants to win the state of New York, it begins with Jack Coan. I’ve thought for a long time that Michigan seemed to be the frontrunner for his services, but to loosely paraphrase Ric Flair, to be one of the big boys, you have to beat some of the big boys on the recruiting trail.

Syracuse will in all likelihood take two quarterbacks in 2017 to fill Dino’s offensive system, and starting things off with an in state talent like Coan would lend a lot of credence to the ideas that Babers wants to keep New Yorkers home, and that his system is just that attractive to top offensive talent.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish

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