One of the highest profile recruits on the radar for Dino Babers and his staff at Syracuse University is CJ Holmes, the dynamic athlete from Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. Holmes has long been viewed as one of the most important players on the board in the class of 2017, though landing the 4-star talent is becoming a more difficult task by the day as he racks up big-time offers from across the nation.

Holmes, who Syracuse is pursuing mostly as a running back with the potential to also play either wide receiver or defensive back, named a top three of Syracuse, Penn State, and Tennessee as recently as early May. However, things can and will change in a hurry when it comes to recruiting.

Since then, Holmes has earned offers from Michigan, Alabama, and Notre Dame, making him one of the hottest prospects in the northeastern region. The 6-foot, 190 pound playmaker also holds offers from the likes of UCLA, Pitt, and Boston College, and is rated as the top athlete in his home state as well as being the No. 3 athlete in the East region by Scout. His profile took a huge jump recently as he earned a spot at The Opening finals later this summer.

While landing the electric athlete is going to be a tall order for Babers and his staff, the chances are certainly bolstered by the fact that Holmes has taken multiple visits to Syracuse already this year, and has developed a strong relationship with the Orange coaching staff. Members of the Syracuse staff also recently visited Cheshire to let Holmes know of their continued heavy interest.

Holmes is being recruited at multiple positions, and that versatility is part of what makes him such a big target now on the national stage. Watching his highlights, it’s easy to see just what coaches are finding so enticing. He’s already got terrific size and speed, and possesses the elusiveness to be a huge home run threat with the ball in his hands, if he winds up sticking on offense – which is where Syracuse sees him. Some schools are looking at that same size and speed and see an elite safety prospect, though indications are that he’d prefer to play on the offensive side of the ball.

We’ll see how things shake out with his recruitment moving forward. With his early, high interest in Syracuse, as well as the proximity to home, the Orange should continue to be among the favorites to land the dynamic playmaker, though obviously things get a lot more interesting and potentially difficult when programs like Alabama and Notre Dame enter the mix.

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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


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