Well, now that my outrage over the Gus Edwards situation has jarred me from my nearly week-long slumber, it feels like as good a time as any to get caught up on some of the things transpiring with Syracuse football recruiting. Let’s dive on in, shall we?
The two biggest tidbits from the last couple of days have to do with additions to Syracuse’s recruiting class. Over the weekend, while on his official visit to the Orange, former Western Michigan commit Chris Elmore pledged to Dino Babers and Syracuse. The 6-foot-1, 260 pound defensive tackle is also being brought in to play a bit of H-back, giving the Orange a big, bruising lead blocker in addition to some depth in the middle of the defensive line.
The 3-star recruit from Chicago is rated as the No. 2 defensive tackle in Illinois by Scout.com, and also had offers from Central Michigan, Ball State, Wyoming, Florida Atlantic, and a handful of others.
Last night, the Orange got more help on the defensive line in the commitment of junior college transfer Brandon Berry. The 6-foot-4, 230 pound defensive end gives Syracuse more depth and athleticism as an edge rusher, and immediately becomes one of the most explosive defensive ends on the roster. The Griffin, Georgia native is rated as a 3-star prospect, and also had offers from Colorado State, Minnesota, Toledo, and Charlotte.
Berry should be able to come in and compete immediately for playing time, after racking up 12.5 sacks last season – good for the sixth best total in junior college football in 2016. Berry will take his official visit to Syracuse this weekend.
This past weekend, as well as the upcoming weekend, are going to be busy ones for Syracuse with regard to hosting players on their official visits. Last weekend the Orange brought in a number of players, with Markenzy Pierre among them. Pierre had previously taken an official visit to Purdue the prior weekend, where head coach Jeff Brohm now walks the sidelines. Brohm had previously gotten a commitment from Pierre at Western Kentucky.
It’ll be interesting to see if Pierre sticks with the Orange after taking a trip to visit the Boilermakers. He’s not the only recruit Syracuse fans need to keep an eye on when it comes to the Big Ten potentially poaching, either. As I write this, Ifeatu Melifonwu is on his way to Michigan for an official visit. Right now, Melifonwu doesn’t hold an offer from the Wolverines but for Jim Harbaugh to bring him to campus so close to signing day, it’s a situation to monitor, without question.
Melifonwu, a Massachusetts native, has flown under the radar despite good size and athleticism (and the fact that his older brother, Obi, was a standout defensive back for UConn). But as teams like Michigan look to fill those final holes in their classes, it’s no surprise to see them come and try to pry away some players from a school like Syracuse.
Melifonwu is currently slated to visit Syracuse this weekend, so it will be interesting to see what happens on his trip to Ann Arbor over the next couple of days.
Speaking of this weekend’s visits, that brings us to Josh Palmer. The highly talented wide receiver from Brampton, Ontario, who spent his senior season playing at powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, decommitted from Syracuse a couple weeks ago just before heading to an official visit at Tennessee.
Palmer didn’t commit to the Vols, and this past weekend took a trip to UCLA. In the meantime, both Penn State and Ohio State have shown interest, though Syracuse remains in the mix. Like Melifonwu, Palmer was originally intending on visiting Syracuse this weekend, though whether or not he now makes the trip is a bit of a mystery. If he does, the odds of him re-committing to the Orange obviously go up. If he doesn’t, it all but eliminates Syracuse.
Hopefully, the coaching staff is able to get him on campus as previously planned, because among the other visitors this weekend are Sharod Johnson, Nykeim Johnson, Russell Thompson-Bishop, and Cam Jordan – every other receiver in Syracuse’s class. Tommy DeVito will also be in town, as well as offensive lineman Dakota Davis and defensive linemen Curtis Harper and Jonathan Kingsley.
Getting Palmer on campus with his fellow receivers, and quarterback Tommy DeVito, could be crucial in swaying the 6-foot-3 Palmer back to the Orange.