The first commit of the 2018 class for the Syracuse Orange is tight end Gabe Horan, out of Baldwinsville. With head coach Dino Babers saying adding New York players to the SU roster is an important piece of the puzzle, it’s comforting to see a local prospect with one other BCS offer look to stay home and take his talents to the Carrier Dome.

Horan is a massive TE prospect at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. While he plays TE, don’t be surprised to see Gabe take a redshirt and eventually move to the offensive line. With great mobility already, increased weight gain and continued muscle growth could see Horan develop as a left tackle in the future.

With Horan’s SU offer, along with offers from Buffalo and Boston College, his recruiting hasn’t taken off like you would think it would, but there’s no doubt a strong summer on the camp circuit will see more offers come in. Horan possesses great feet and blocking ability, exceptional hip movement, and the ability to catch the football with his massive hands.

Let’s take a look at his tape and breakdown more of his skill.

Initially, we get a glimpse of why Gabe looks like he could be a potential difference maker on the offensive line. Gabe steps into the second level on numerous occasions, finds a linebacker, and shows great run blocking skills to push the LB back several yards before pancaking him to the ground. While engaged, Gabe shows a straight back while sitting down to engage his legs, has great leverage in his hands and arms, and shows his power by driving the defender back.

There is a big difference between Section III linebackers and ACC linebackers, but this is a great skillset to develop. You can tell Gabe likes contact and doesn’t shy away from violent collisions.

From a receiving standpoint, we see Gabe used as a short yardage TE. He gets off the line quickly and releases his route when he finds space, and shows the ability to possess the ball when being covered. We saw multiple touchdowns that were made with a defender one step away, and he still cradles the ball and hangs on, all the while expecting contact.

I don’t believe Gabe is a TE who will do well on mid to long routes, but he shows great football IQ on his short routes, on when to release into space and look for the ball. There’s always a need for run blocking TEs to helps the offensive line in pro sets, and Gabe looks like he can fill that role as well.

Nonetheless, I think Gabe is an excellent first commitment for the Orange in the 2018 class and shows great potential to develop into a solid TE. But I still believe his future is on the offensive line. I could see him as a multiple year starter at the left tackle position. Regardless, tight end or LT, we know that head coach Dino Babers got himself a great local prospect that should be able to help his hometown team.

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Justin is a 2011 graduate from SUNY Buffalo State. Since that time, he spent several years coaching high school football in North Carolina while also working at NC State, and has also served as a head and assistant tennis coach at the Division III and Division I levels. During this tenure coaching high school football, he sent players to continue their football career at Alabama, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Purdue, North Carolina State, East Carolina, and other Division II and III schools.


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