This is a big weekend for the Syracuse University football staff as they look to hang onto one defensive end prospect while potentially adding another. National Signing Day is only a few days away, and right now there’s a legitimate fear that coveted commit Jaquwan Nelson could choose to flip to Georgia when he takes his official visit this weekend. Meanwhile, the Orange are also looking to secure a commitment from Josh White. But in case things go terribly wrong, I figured I’d take a look at another potential target.
Nelson committed to Syracuse last weekend during his visit to Central New York, but since then, Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart have been going after the talented, 6-foot-4 prospect hard. Ultimately, the allure of the SEC may be too much to pass up for Nelson, meaning that the Orange could drop from three defensive end commitments to two in no time flat.
That’s where White comes in. I talked a bit about White not so long ago, and the 6-foot-5, 230 pound athlete has emerged as a potentially huge recruit for the Orange as the look to shore up the defensive end position. There may be no position on the roster in more dire need of depth, so if Syracuse comes away with fewer than three commitments it will be a difficult pill to swallow.
A new name to keep an eye on as we enter these final few days is Rhashaun Epting. The 6-foot-4, 220 pound weakside defensive end is rated as a 3-star talent by Scout, and holds offers from Western Michigan (giving the Orange a connection through new DL coach Vince Reynolds), Eastern Michigan, Toledo, North Dakota, and Stony Brook. He also took an official visit to Minnesota, and the Gophers are certainly interested, albeit potentially as a backup plan (hence the lack of an offer from Minnesota so far).
Epting is from Privo West High in Illinois, a school whose most famous football alum is Flozell Adams. You may be more familiar with Proviso East, which has produced a ton of basketball talent including Michael Finley, Dee Brown (the Illinois one, not the Slam Dunk champ), and Doc Rivers.
Epting has good speed, clocking in at around 4.6 in the 40, and he certainly shows some pretty solid wheels in his highlights when he runs down smaller, faster skill position players in the open field. He certainly needs to get stronger to compete at the line of scrimmage, and seems to have a little bit of trouble getting off blocks and penetrating the backfield from time to time, but the tools are certainly there to turn him into a very solid pass rusher, given his length and speed.
At this point, Epting is no more than on Syracuse’s radar, and barring a disastrous weekend that sees the Orange without either Nelson or White, he’ll likely fade off the staff’s radar altogether. Still, he’s a name to keep an eye on, along with Massachusetts native and Ohio University commit Amir Miller, as well as Georgia native Chris Henderson, who is currently an Indiana commit.