For the third straight day, the Syracuse University football team has picked up a verbal commitment in the class of 2016. This time, it was Wisconsin offensive lineman Sam Heckel, a 3-star recruit who picked the Orange over Northern Illinois. Heckel becomes the third offensive lineman in this year’s class, joining Cam DeGeorge and Noel Brouse.

Heckel visited campus earlier this week before heading home to think over his decision, with the Orange and NIU coming out on top in what appeared to be a decision based at least in part about whether or not distance from home would be a factor. With one offensive line spot open, Heckel opted to take the Power 5 conference offer over staying closer to home with NIU.

At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Heckel has the frame and versatility to play either guard or tackle at the next level, which is one of the things that made him such an attractive prospect to Scott Shafer and the Orange coaching staff. He also holds offers from Iowa State, Illinois, Virginia, Yale, Harvard, and Central Michigan, among others.

It recently came to light that Heckel had initially planned on pledging to Northwestern, but his spot was filled before he had the opportunity to pull the trigger. It stands to reason that he saw a similar situation unfolding at Syracuse – which has also been actively pursuing Missouri lineman Chase Behrndt – and decided to get his spot while it was still available.

With Heckel on board, it would appear that the Orange are done recruiting for the offensive line in the 2016 cycle, and now have 10 committed players overall. Syracuse picked up a commitment from linebacker Taylor Riggins on Thursday, and hybrid Darius Stubbs yesterday.

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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