The Syracuse University football staff is hosting several high profile recruits for official visits this weekend, and one of the names that’s been talked about less than others is Sam Brodner, a 3-star running back from Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Brodner is a former Vanderbilt commit who reopened his recruitment back on December 16.

The running back position – and offensive skill positions in general – are clearly highly important to Dino Babers and his staff, and Brodner is one of the top prospects on their board. The 5-foot-11, 215 pound Brodner is certainly a bit bulkier than some of the other recruits Babers and his coaches are looking at, but don’t let his sturdy frame fool you. Brodner is a terrific athlete who has excellent speed for a high school senior already tipping the scales at 215.

Brodner has official visits to Illinois next weekend and Wisconsin the weekend after that, and Syracuse remains among his favorites for now, though it will be tough to pull him out of the midwest. If the Orange are able to land Brodner, he would become the second Gatorade Player of the Year in the 2016 class (joining Lindsey Scott). Brodner earned Player of the Year honors in Illinois after rushing for 1,959 yards and a staggering 40 touchdowns this season while leading his team to a 14-0 campaign and a state title.

Brodner capped off his senior season by rushing for 264 yards on 28 carries, with four touchdowns, in a 34-28 win in the Illinois Class 7A championship game, earning MVP honors for his efforts. Along with his ability to run the football, Brodner can also make plays in the passing game. This season he caught 31 passes for 402 yards and seven touchdowns and, oh yeah, he also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season. In short, the kid is a freak athlete.

The numbers don’t lie with Brodner, either. Go ahead and watch his highlights and you’ll see a runner with great speed and quickness, who finds gaps in the defense and exploits them with his strength and acceleration. And for added fun, go to the 30 second mark of his regular season highlights and check out the ridiculous one-handed catch he makes along the sideline, in between a pair of defenders. He’s clearly a threat in every facet of the game on offense, and would be a more than welcome addition to the Syracuse football program.

Brodner remains surprisingly under-recruited despite his athleticism and jaw-dropping numbers, with offers from Illinois, Syracuse, Iowa State, and Vanderbilt marking his only current Power 5 offers to go along with offers from Nevada, Wyoming, Illinois State, and yes, Bowling Green. If Wisconsin offers this talented runner, they’ll be difficult to beat, but Syracuse is in solid shape with Brodner and a good visit this weekend could help Dino Babers land one of the most underrated running backs in the midwest.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, 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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