After losing to Wake Forest to fall to 4-6 on the year, it was evident that the Demon Deacons currently have more talent on their roster. I believe that this year’s Wake team is actually an accurate example of what Syracuse will be in two years (with an even higher ceiling, if you can believe that).
Wake has recruited better and developed players to be able to run the system that their coach wants run. You can see the pattern in Wake going from horrible to respectable – and any realistic Syracuse fan should see that Syracuse is rebuilding their talent to be able to do the things that Dino Babers wants to do on a consistent basis.
That being said, it’s clear we need more talent on this roster, and that’s where recruiting comes in. I may be more optimistic on the talent we have currently committed for the 2018 recruiting class than others, but I’m okay with that. Let’s take a look at the offensive players currently committed for Syracuse, and see how they project once they get to campus.
Tyrone Sampson – Center | 4-Star Prospect (247) / 3-Star (ESPN)
6-foot-3, 320 LBS
When Tyrone committed to Syracuse this past April, it was the first big-name recruit to have committed to Dino Babers (Tommy DeVito later became a big-time recruit, but wasn’t at the time when he pledged to the Orange). Tyrone is a massive interior lineman that I fully expect to be a 4-year starter for the Orange.
As an early enrollee, Tyrone will have the time to get into the strength and conditioning program and add more muscle to an already built frame. Tyrone snaps the ball very well and does great in recovery/getting his hands into the body of the defensive line. He’s a very physical lineman and plays with a chip on his shoulder. While Tyrone is a good pass blocker, I think he excels un run blocking – which is what Syracuse needs the most help on. We currently lack a true center on this roster, and I see Tyrone coming in and taking the lead in this position by the end of summer camp.
Qadir White – Offensive Tackle | 4-Star Prospect (247) / 3-Star (ESPN)
6-foot-7, 334 LBS
The biggest difference between Qadir and Tyrone is that for some strange reason, Qadir has the offers to go with his ranking. Tyrone lacks some of the elite offers you would usually expect a top-ranked prospect to have. Qadir has elite size and hips for what you look for in a left tackle. He does a really good job of sinking his hips when he is pack blocking and you get a sense of his hip flexibility just in the way he sets in his stance pre-snap.
He has good bend, a straight back, and sets himself to be explosive in his first step – which he is. While he has a great first step and first punch, Qadir needs to do a better job of staying low out of his stance. His plays at a high pad level when engaging the defensive line and often relies on his first punch being good enough. Once Qadir learns to keep running his feet and playing lower than his opponents, he will become much more consistent. Ideally, I would love to see a redshirt out of Qadir and have him man the blind side of our quarterback for four years. I see him as a multiple year starter and a potential future draft pick.
Edward Hendrix – Wide Receiver | 4-Star Prospect (ESPN) / 3-Star (247)
6-foot-3, 185 LBS
The first of two commits that I am absolutely crazy about in this class. Ed Hendrix has the ability to come in and be a difference maker from day one. With offers from numerous SEC, ACC, and Big 10 schools, Hendrix is the prototypical outside receiver you want on your college football team.
He has great size with the ability to become a 6-foot-3, 210 pound receiver that can run the go, but also go over the middle to catch the tough balls. He does a great job at high pointing the ball and shows adjustment to balls off his route to complete catches. His best skill, IMO, is his hand usage off the snap. He does a good job of engaging DBs that are looking to jam off the snap. He attacks the center of the body and uses a good rip and shows quick hips to get by the opposition and into the secondary. Wide receiver is the position that allows you to see the field early if you have the skill, and Hendrix is that type of player. He’ll be on the field next year and he’ll make an impact.
Taj Harris – Wide Receiver | 3-Star Prospect 247 and ESPN
6-foot-2, 175 LBS
Taj is a bit of a mystery as he spent his junior year in New Jersey as a slash-type player. He ran the ball, passed the ball, and caught the ball. His junior highlight tape didn’t show many deep routes, but he did have numerous balls thrown to him on the line of scrimmage, which is a very important part of Dino’s offense. When the QB sees a numbers advantage, whether it’s run or pass, there needs to be an automatic audible call to exploit it.
We’ve seen Eric Dungey make the audible all throughout the season. When a defense covers three WRs with two DBs, we have to take a chance with the numbers. Harris shows really good feet and wiggle when he gets the ball in space and shows he can take the bubble screen/quick hit at the line of scrimmage and turn it into big yards. I’ll be very interested to see his senior year highlight, as he definitely shows capable tools of being an effective receiver.
Gabs Horan – TE/OL | 3-Star Prospect 247 and ESPN
6-foot-6, 260 LBS
Horan’s write-up will be a bit on the shorter side, as his tape doesn’t accurately show how effective the local product will be for the Orange. I believe Horan will without a doubt become an offensive lineman for Syracuse. It’s just a matter of him being able to put the weight on and how long that takes to play on the OL. Horan has massive size and a great frame, so here’s hoping that it pans out.
In his junior year highlight, Horan absolutely abused linebackers and smaller defensive ends when he set to run block in his offense. He shows good bend, stays low, and keeps his feet moving through contact. He shows great technique, so let’s hope this turns out the way we want it. He will get a redshirt year, so let’s hope he turns into a 6-foot-6, 300 pounder in two years.
Anthony Queeley – WR | 3-Star Prospect 247 and ESPN
6-foot-2, 190 LBS
AQ is the other commit that I absolutely love in this class. To be able to consistently put up points in this offense, we have to have receivers who can beat their man in the secondary. AQ is a tremendous route runner who shows the ability to stick his foot in the ground and create separation.
As a receiver that runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and is already benching in the 300 range, he is someone that is physical enough to be on the field as a freshman. He is a receiver that is similar to standout Steve Ishmael. With great hands and a desire to out-jump the CB, he’s someone who I predict will be a fan-favorite.
Jawhar Jordan – RB | 3-Star Prospect 247 and ESPN
5-foot-10, 160 LBS
There is one word to describe every time Jordan touches the ball: electric. Jordan possesses elite speed, and the RB from Arizona is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
When taking the snap, Jordan stays low and shows great balance. He cuts on a dime and changes direction, which makes YAC a common theme for him. When he gets in the open field, his stride becomes long and that’s when he pulls away from the defense. JJ needs to get a little bigger to be able to withstand the pounding of D1 football, but this is someone who could turn into a 3-down back, who also makes a difference in special teams. JJ is a player that will do great things in Orange.
Akeem Dixon – RB | 3-Star Prospect 247 and ESPN
6-foot, 210 LBS
It’s going to be one hell of a battle between Akeem and current SU running back Markenzy Pierre. They both are RBs from the state of Florida that embrace the physical side of playing RB. They don’t shy away from contact and both have the ability to pick up hard yards.
Dixon plays in a very similar-style offense to what we currently run. He does a good job of waiting for blocks to develop and has sneaky speed once getting into the second level. Dixon LOVES contact and seeks it out. He could be a tremendous 1-2 punch with Jawhar Jordan. Pierre will get the first opportunity, but Dixon could be knocking on his door.
Willem Froumy – OT | 3-Star Prospect 247 and ESPN
6-foot-6, 290 LBS
Froumy is a massive prospect from the state of New Hampshire. Having seen him in person, I can attest to his size. This is someone who already has the size and strength numbers in his arsenal. He has elite strength numbers that will only get better once he arrives on the Hill.
I actually like his technique and size on the defensive side better. He stays low and has no issues shedding the offensive line, showing great and violent hands. It will be fun to see his senior tape, as I want to see how he has developed since committing. He loves the Orange and has traveled numerous times to campus for games and practices. He’ll most likely redshirt his freshman year, but he is a great young lineman to add into our mix of young bulldozers.
Cooper Lutz – WR | 3-Star Prospect 247 and ESPN
5-foot-11, 190 LBS
I think Lutz will be a perfect fit for HCDB’s system. Lutz will have an opportunity to man the slot and be charged with finding the open holes in the defense, similar to the role Erv Philips currently holds in the offense. While I think Moe Neal will serve that role for the next two years, Lutz possesses a similar skillset with better all-around speed than Moe.
If Lutz hadn’t gotten injured during his junior year, he would be much more highly-rated with more offers. When his senior year film hits, he will become a fan favorite recruit. He has been putting up absurd numbers this year, which would assuredly get him late offers. Thankfully, SU won’t have to worry about that with the addition of our new early signing period.