franklin howard

Every recruit making his big decision on where to go to school loves to play the hat game, where they lay out three hats and announce their college choice by plucking one off the table and wearing it awkwardly for the next few minutes. As a side note, I’m hoping someday a recruit will place a ball under one of the hats, making it like one of those street corner shell games. That’d be pretty funny. But anyway, I digress. We’re not here to talk about a new hustle for the NCAA to investigate, but instead, the state of hats that Syracuse currently has in its lineup.

Long story short, Syracuse desperately needs to step up its hat game. Watching a commit place a Syracuse hat among the three final choices is always cool, but what’s not cool is the fact that most of the hats appear to have been designed right around 1978. Just take a look at some of these recent examples:


That’s class of 2015 recruit Malachi Richardson, wearing one of the less egregious examples that still seems like a throwback to an old Bell Biv DeVoe video. Never trust a big butt and a smile, sure, but also never trust whoever the hell thought it’d be a good idea to keep that design into the 21st century.


DaJuan Coleman went with a similar look when he committed to Syracuse, though maybe a poor hat choice should be expected given his taste in shoes.

Syracuse Signing Day Football

And there’s Cam Lynch back when he was a high school senior, continuing the trend of selecting a hat that lets you know it’s Syracuse by spelling it out in GIANT BLOCK LETTERS. Let’s be honest here, there’s not a lot of personality in any hats of this style, and they come across as ridiculously generic.


Denzel Ward, the incoming freshman offensive lineman from Chicago, did a little better by at least choosing a hat that he hoped people would recognize as Syracuse thanks to a logo rather than having the entire word spelled out for the unfamiliar folks watching at home. It’d be better if it wasn’t angry Otto, because the happy old school Otto is vastly superior, but this is a step in the right direction.

franklin howard

That’s Franklin Howard, another member of the 2015 hoops class who at least only has the block S, but appears to be missing a 1989 Starter jacket to accompany that particular hat style.

So what can we take away from all of this? Mainly that Syracuse has a long way to go to lock down a really good looking hat, and that our recruits desperately need someone to fill them in on which hats are acceptable, and which are simply atrocious. Fortunately, I’m here to help.


Everyone knows that Syracuse is cold. So why not mix things up and throw on this bad boy to play into that joke? At least you’d get points for originality.


This hat is only acceptable if you’re a white dude from Western Pennsylvania named Max.


For the recruit who faces questions about whether or not he’ll qualify, why not try out this hat and leave very little doubt that the answer is no, a thousand times no, you’re not going to get the required ACT score?


It’s too late now, but how awesome would it have been if Rakeem Christmas had thrown one of these bad boys on? Hell, someone find Rakeem and make him wear one anyway. It’ll be a hoot.


Finally a hat that highlights our official school color, platinum.


The official #hardnosed hat of Head Coach Scott Shafer. I’d be totally okay with every football recruit Shafer brings in plopping this beast on his dome when selecting Syracuse.


Now we’re getting somewhere. It gives the classic Syracuse look with the block S and a happy Otto, but it’s definitely got a more modernized look. I’m totally on board with recruits using this hat in the decision making process.


But at the end of the day, you just can’t beat the classics. What’s wrong with keeping things completely simple? This is the most traditional Syracuse hat you can find. Just a simple, orange blocks S that immediately screams “Syracuse” without adding “…is truly awful with hat designs.” So please, recruits, do us all a favor and choose simplicity when you choose Syracuse.

Of course if you’re a five star recruit reading this, you can wear a goddamn toaster on your head for all I care as long as you commit to the Orange.

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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