August seems like an early time to start looking past the current recruiting cycle and ahead toward this year’s rising juniors, but that just happens to be where we are at this point as the Syracuse University football staff nears completion of its 2016 class. After a commitment from Moe Neal yesterday, Syracuse has 14 players pledged out of a class that will probably wind up in the 18-20 range in terms of scholarships.

Jay Rose is the next Syracuse target looking to decide, and has mentioned previously wanting to make his pick before the end of the summer. The 6-foot-3 tight end is one of the priority targets, along with safety Eric Burrell, who probably won’t be picking a school anytime soon. With so few openings left in 2016 and the remaining targets mostly weeks, if not months, away from selecting a school, why not take a look at some of the top names the Orange will be looking at in 2017?

Syracuse already has two commitments for its 2017 class in wide receiver Daewood Davis, rated the 222nd best player in America by ESPN, and Isaiah McDuffie, a linebacker from Buffalo whose stock should start to really rise this fall thanks to his outstanding size and athleticism. Having two terrific recruits already lined up is a great start for Scott Shafer and his staff. Now, let’s take a look at some of the players who could join them.

Kasim Hill – QB

The 6-foot-2 quarterback from Maryland is going to be one of Syracuse’s highest priorities in the 2017 class, and the staff absolutely loves him. Syracuse was actually Hill’s first offer back when he was a freshman, and right now he really seems to like Penn State and Michigan State as well as the Orange. Maryland will also always be a threat for an in-state player like Hill, especially given their recent pledge from quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Hendon Hooker – QB

Another quarterback target Syracuse will be monitoring throughout the upcoming season is Hendon Hooker, and the Orange have certainly created in roads in North Carolina with pledges from Robert Washington and Neal. The 6-foot-4 Hooker is a terrific athlete, and is a two-sport star who is receiving some low level Division I basketball recognition as well. Right now, Hooker is high on the Orange, and also has early offers from Clemson and East Carolina.

Aapri Washington – CB

The name in the 2017 class most Syracuse fans are already familiar with is Aapri Washington, Robert’s cousin and an outstanding lockdown corner. Aapri would probably be more highly regarded, but he’s only 5-foot-9. Still, he’s a terrific athlete who plays bigger than his size and has outstanding quickness and change of direction. He’s got a lot of early interest from Kentucky, TCU, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State among others, but Syracuse is in a good position with Robert and Neal on board already.

Noah Jordan-Williams – WR

The 6-foot-1 receiver from right in Syracuse’s backyard, playing his high school ball at CBA, is going to be a priority target for the Orange. He’s not as highly touted as some of the other receiver prospects the Orange are involved with yet, but the coaches don’t anticipate him staying under the radar much longer. Syracuse is his only offer for now but expect that to change. The Orange should be considered the frontrunner, though.

Anthony White, Jr. – WR

Another wide receiver that’s got a bigger reputation right now is Anthony White, Jr., who heads into his junior season ranked as the 208th best player in America by ESPN. The Miami native plays for a big time program (American) and his profile will only continue to grow, but he’s high on Syracuse early. The 6-foot-1 receiver also has offers from LSU, Kentucky, NC State, South Florida, and Illinois, among others.

Juwan Burgess – WR

One more receiver to keep an eye on is Tampa native (and teammate of Syracuse ’16 commits Rex Culpepper and Scoop Bradshaw) Juwan Burgess. Burgess is rated as the 152nd best player in the country by ESPN, and the 6-foot athlete probably would have seen his stock continue to soar even more, but with an unproven QB at Plant now that Culpepper tore his ACL, it’s tough to say how much he’ll blow up this season. He’s got a big time offer list that includes Florida, Clemson, Georgia, Miami, Kentucky, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and UCLA, among others, but reportedly plans on visiting Syracuse and is very much open to the idea of joining his Plant teammates in Orange.

Fred Hansard – DT

One of the most high profile players Syracuse is involved with early on is Fred Hansard, a 6-foot-4, 310 pound defensive tackle from the Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey. Hansard has some Syracuse ties as former Orange star receiver Kevin Johnson is on the Hun coaching staff, and Johnson’s son, Kevin Johnson, Jr., is a close friend of Hansard’s and a 2018 receiver prospect. Hansard is ranked as the 127th best prospect in America by ESPN, and boasts offers from Penn State, Rutgers, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and Kentucky among others. Still, Syracuse is in a pretty solid position and could pull off the upset at a position of extreme need.

Tyshon Fogg – LB

One of the top defensive prospects Syracuse will be pursuing hard in the 2017 recruiting cycle is Tyshon Fogg, a 6-foot-2, 220 pound linebacker from Baltimore who claims a 4.54 time in the 40, solid speed for a young linebacker his size. Fogg has visited Syracuse in the past and is pretty high on the Orange, and is also good friends with Kasim Hill and the idea of the pair becoming a package deal has been tossed around. ESPN rates Fogg as the 209th best player in America, and he has offers from Maryland, Kentucky, Michigan State, Stanford, and Rutgers, among others.

AJ Dillon – RB

The 6-foot-1, 230 pound AJ Dillon is rapidly rising up the rankings, especially after earning an offer from Notre Dame. The Massachusetts native also claims offers from Boston College, UConn, Virginia, and Temple, and could wind up being Syracuse’s top running back target in the 2017 class, though he’s big and athletic enough to potentially find his way to the other side of the ball as a linebacker. Dillon is actually a Notre Dame legacy (his grandfather, Tom Gatewood, was a star receiver for the Irish and later played for the New York Giants) so it’ll be tough to top them for his services.


Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good starting point as we look ahead. Some other names to keep in mind include Isaiah Wilson (OT – Brooklyn, New York)Romello Martin (DT – Brooklyn, New York)Kevin Mensah (RB/HB – Worcester Massachusetts)Anthony Hines (LB – Plano, Texas)Naytron Culpepper (DB – Hialeah, Florida)CJ Holmes (RB/HB – Cheshire, Connecticut), among many, many others.

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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