The H-Back position is clearly a priority for the Syracuse University football staff during the 2016 recruiting cycle, and while Moe Neal remains the top target the coaches have extended two more offers today to H-Back prospects Connell Young and AJ Rose.
As I mentioned above, Neal is still clearly the top target at this position, and with his decision coming in either late July or early August this should not be viewed as the coaching staff moving on or thinking he’s headed elsewhere. At this point, the Orange remain at or near the top of Neal’s list, with Duke and Wake Forest seemingly the biggest threats should he choose to stay closer to home. However, it never hurts to lay the foundation for some backup options should he opt to head elsewhere, and that’s just what the Orange are doing.
Syracuse has also previously offered New Jersey’s Tyler Thompson and Missouri native Tre Bryant with an eye toward fitting them into the H-Back spot, and right now if I had to guess an order among the top three targets it’d be 1. Neal, 2. Bryant, 3. Thompson. It remains unclear whether the Orange will take more than one H-Back in this cycle, but at the very most I would not anticipate more than two being brought in, and would actually lean more toward a single H-Back in the class being realistic.
Like Neal, Connell Young is a North Carolina native and is actually a teammate of one of Syracuse’s 2017 quarterback targets, Hendon Hooker. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds Young has great size and solid speed with a reported time of 4.55 in the 40. He doesn’t have the top end speed of Neal, but as a backup plan he’s a very intriguing option with his combination of strength and agility on the perimeter. Syracuse is the second offer for Young, who also claims an offer from East Carolina. Young is not currently rated by 247sports.com or Rivals, but based on his film I’d wager he’ll end up being rated a 3-star prospect.
Rose, meanwhile, is an Ohio native who is actually a Kentucky commit. Like Young, he has great size at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, and also has offers from Bowling Green and Toledo. He’s rated as a 3-star talent by 247sports.com, and actually plays mostly quarterback at the high school level. However, it’s clear that the strength of his game is getting the ball in space and making plays with his feet, as he shows terrific agility and lateral quickness. Because he plays the quarterback position it’s hard to judge his hands, so it’s difficult to determine how well he’ll be able to catch the ball as an H-Back at the next level.
At this point, even if Rose climbs the H-Back board for the Syracuse staff it seems kind of unlikely he’d flip from Kentucky right now, while Young remains more of an under the radar talent who the Orange are no doubt targeting for the dual reasons of ensuring they have a backup plan in place if they miss out on Neal, and to potentially entice Hooker, who will almost certainly be one of the top QB targets for the staff in the next recruiting cycle.