We’re getting into arguably the most confusing part of the new recruiting cycle, and it’s one that always comes in the wake of a coaching change. The previous staff issued scholarship offers, but that doesn’t mean they’re still valid with the new staff. In a situation that’s going to be evolving in the coming weeks and months, let’s take a look at some of the offers we know have been re-affirmed by the new staff, as well as some I fully expect to get re-affirmed sooner than later.
First and foremost, two quarterback prospects that Scott Shafer’s staff was high on and offered early have been re-affirmed: Jack Coan and Kasim Hill. I’ve talked pretty extensively about the 6-foot-3, 4-star Coan, but Hill is another outstanding signal caller from Maryland who I’ve talked about a bit, but not as much as the New Yorker, Coan.
Hendon Hooker was offered by the old staff, but so far hasn’t received an offer from Dino Babers and his crew, and the same goes for Alabama native Daulton Hyatt. Both could get re-affirmed, but considering the number of other quarterbacks the new staff is already looking at, I’m not sure it’s likely for either of them – despite both players being extremely talented. They just, basically, fall outside of the regions that Babers wants to focus on, for now.
At wide receiver, one of the first to be re-affirmed was Anthony White, Jr. The extremely talented, 4-star receiver from Florida has been high on Syracuse for awhile, so it’s great for Orange that he was re-affirmed so quickly in an effort to keep his interest high. White is an outstanding player, and would be a major victory.
One player who hasn’t yet been re-affirmed, as far as I can tell, is Juwan Burgess. The ultra-talented Plant product missed all of last season, and right now seems to be a heavy Clemson lean. Despite Babers and his staff having solid relationships with the coaches at Plant, and despite Plant products Rex Culpepper and Scoop Bradshaw being in the 2016 class for the Orange, it’s still unclear if Burgess is in the plans. He’s one I’d expect to be re-affirmed at some point, but it’s certainly not a given.
An in-state product to get his offer re-affirmed is Romello Martin, a 4-star defensive tackle from New York City, who is ranked just behind Isaiah Wilson as the state’s second best prospect. The 6-foot-4, 270 pound Martin is high on the staff’s list of priorities, and plays at a position of need, so getting re-affirmed was always a matter of when, not if.
You’d think the same would be true with Wilson, the offensive tackle who is ranked among the best in the nation at that position, but so far he hasn’t been re-affirmed. He’s being followed on Twitter by several Syracuse coaches, however, so I’m expecting him to get re-affirmed quickly, despite the Orange being on the outside looking in.
The same is true for New Jersey defensive tackle Fred Hansard, who has yet to be re-affirmed but, like Wilson, has some of the new staff following him on social media. Hansard seems like about the longest shot I’m going to mention, however, but I’d expect him to get re-affirmed by the new staff.
Another defensive lineman who has not yet been re-affirmed but who I expect to be offered by the new staff soon is defensive end Luiji Vilain, a 6-foot-3 edge rusher originally from Canada but going to school in Virginia. He’s a teammate of 2017 offeree Jonathan Sutherland, another Canadian and an elite cornerback prospect.
Sticking to the line, one two-way lineman who has gotten his offer re-affirmed is Ethan Wiederkehr. The 6-foot-6 lineman from New York is a legacy recruit (his dad, Hans, played offensive line at Syracuse) and, according to CuseNation.com, he’ll be visiting campus soon. Syracuse has struggled to land legacy recruits, so getting a talented, 3-star kid like Wiederkehr would be big. An added bonus is that he’s tight with Jack Coan, and every edge helps in landing the best in-state QB prospect in years.
Looking at some linebackers, among those who were offered by the old staff and have been re-affirmed are Tyshon Fogg, a Maryland native who is close with Kasim Hill; Ayinde Eley, another outside linebacker from Maryland; and Tyler Dunning, a St. Thomas Aquinas product and current Miami commit who, at this point, a lot of people are starting to think might flip from the Hurricanes.
Two more players we know for sure have been re-affirmed are safeties Naytron Culpepper, a big-time player out of Florida who seems to have real interest in the Orange, and Damani Neal, another big-time talent from Maryland. Neal will probably be harder to convince to join the Orange, though, and seems to be leaning toward the Terps and Penn State at the moment.
Oh, and while we’re here: yes, Syracuse has re-affirmed both of the previous staff’s two 2017 commits, Daewood Davis and Isaiah McDuffie. Davis is a speedy, 6-foot-3 receiver who is drawing heavy interest from a lot of Power 5 schools and will be tough to hang onto, while McDuffie is an in-state linebacker who was named the 2015 New York State Defensive Player of the Year. He appears to be rock solid to the Orange.
Again, this is going to be a pretty fluid list. I haven’t mentioned a few other players who haven’t been re-affirmed but could be (like AJ Dillon, a running back from Massachusetts who seems destined to wind up at Notre Dame, or Aapri Washington, the 3-star cornerback from North Carolina), and as we get deeper into the recruiting cycle, I’m sure some names will be added. But for now, it’s a pretty good starting point to get you caught up on who the new staff and the old one agreed would be outstanding pieces for the future of Syracuse football.