The Syracuse football team has snagged a couple of running back commitments in the early going of this recruiting cycle, and the timing couldn’t be better. After all, the backfield is going to be pretty depleted in the near future, so it’s no surprise that running back has been such a focal point thus far. So what’s next? And does Texas running back Devine Ozigbo (pictured above) factor into the equation?
The first prospect to commit was Tyrone Perkins, a 6-foot, 190 pound in-state product of Locust Valley. Perkins is an under the radar recruit for now, with SU having been the only BCS level school to express early interest in the athlete who boasts a good frame and could bulk up to become a power back with some explosiveness. He’s also athletic enough that seeing him transition to defensive back or even outside linebacker wouldn’t be a big surprise.
The second running back commit is another in-state prospect from Cedarhurst, the 5-foot-11, 195 pound Jordan Fredericks. Fredericks had a little more interest than Perkins, though this early in the process that amounted to offers from the likes of Temple and Stony Brook. The word on Fredericks is that he’s got explosive speed and real shiftiness, so he could wind up being a similar runner to someone like Devonte McFarlane.
The Orange are no doubt still looking at several other running back prospects, like the aforementioned Ozigbo, as well as Dontae Strickland and Jonathan Forrest. Forrest is another New York product, who at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds with a reported time of 4.5 in the 40, he’s got a solid blend of strength and speed. He’s got interest from several big time schools, but so far his only offer comes from Monmouth. He appears to be a B-option for Syracuse at this point, with the top options on the SU recruiting board seemingly Strickland, a New Jersey native with offers from Georgia Tech, Indiana, Temple, Virginia, Wake Forest, and West Virginia, and Ozigbo, a Dallas area prospect who has drawn offers from the likes of Boise State, Colorado State, Illinois, Iowa, Miami, Mississippi State, Wisconsin, among others, and who has recently been getting some real interest from LSU.
Ozigbo is the prospect that a lot of Syracuse fans have been clamoring for, as the 5-foot-11, 215 pounder with 4.44 speed has family in the Northeast and has been known to wear Syracuse socks and a Syracuse undershirt while playing for Sachse High. Not only does he like the Syracuse gear, but apparently Syracuse has been his favorite school all along, which has led to some frustration from Orange fans, since it’s never a bad thing to make in roads in the high school football capitol of the US.
Ozigbo’s got an impressive highlight reel that will probably remind some Syracuse fans of Delone Carter, as he’s got the same decisiveness in making a move and shows the ability to break tackles and drag defenders with him for a few more tough yards. He’s appears to be a little shiftier and might have better top speed than DC3 had, but he’s a guy who really appears to have serious potential.
Now, one of the reasons some folks have thought Ozigbo may not have gotten an early offer from SU is that it was unclear how his particular set of skills would fit into George McDonald’s offense. McDonald clearly wants to get more uptempo and find running backs who are just as adept at catching the ball in space as they are taking a handoff up the middle, and for the most part, Ozigbo has seemed like a pure, run it up the gut-type back.
The Orange will more than likely take at least one more back in this class, and maybe even two with the idea being one or more could move to a different position, or even convert to H-Back and play a similar role to a guy like Brisly Estime or Ashton Broyld. Between Ozigbo, Strickland, and Forrest, the Orange appear to have several strong options to shore up the backfield and provide depth early in their careers.