Syracuse University’s football team certainly isn’t lacking for young talent at the quarterback position, with rising sophomore (or potentially redshirt freshman) AJ Long already fully immersed in the program and talented class of 2015 signees Eric Dungey and Kenterius Womack on the way. That hasn’t stopped the Orange from making the quarterback position a priority, however, with Dwayne Haskins and Anthony Brown in particular being targeted.
I’ve talked a bit about both prospects, with Haskins considered by many to be one of the top five QB prospects in the class of 2016, while Brown has been atop the SU recruiting board for months. Haskins remains a farfetched prospect for Syracuse, and we can’t even really consider him a target until he gets on campus – if he gets on campus. He’s mentioned deciding on a school in July, so time is running out to get the talented signal caller to upstate New York for a visit.
Brown, on the other hand, has long been thought to be a Syracuse lean, but a wrench was thrown into the plans this week when Virginia Tech came in with an offer. A lot of people – myself included – thought Brown would commit to Syracuse on Friday, but instead we got news that he’s going to be visiting Virginia Tech next weekend and will make his college decision after that trip.
And now, Syracuse fans are wondering: is there a chance that Scott Shafer and Bobby Acosta could miss out on the two biggest fish on their QB recruiting board? And if so, who’s the next man up?
Well, let’s look at a few possibilities.
Jack Brotzki has long been thought to be Syracuse’s if they truly want him. The CBA field general’s dad works in the Syracuse athletics department, so he’s basically already part of the extended family. He’s been more of a plan B all along, and frankly, we might wind up getting to plan B should Brown ultimately decide on the Hokies.
Another name that I mentioned back in February is David Moore, a 6-foot-2 quarterback from Georgia who is currently an SMU commit but could still be in play. Moore’s dad played lacrosse at Syracuse, so there’s a connection there. He doesn’t currently have a Syracuse offer, but obviously that could change, particularly depending on what happens with Brown.
A particularly intriguing name to remember is Sawyer Smith. The 6-foot-2 Florida native was until very recently a verbal commitment to Alabama…in baseball. However, he’s since tweeted that he’s respectfully declining the baseball scholarship and will instead focus on his football career. He’s got a Syracuse offer, and his highlights are very, very impressive. He’s a tremendous athlete, and would fit right in with the mold of quarterback Tim Lester seems to be targeting with guys like Dungey and Womack, not to mention Brown. He’s a true dual-threat and could be an exciting prospect down the road.
Jacob Hallenbeck is another name to remember, and he’s expressed serious interest in the Orange in the past. He doesn’t have an offer, but the coaches have apparently told him one could be coming depending on how their board shakes out. Right now the Connecticut native has an offer from North Carolina.
Hopefully, Syracuse won’t have to look for any other options at quarterback, but should Haskins go elsewhere (which is almost certainly what’s going to happen) and Brown opts for Virginia Tech (which doesn’t seem nearly as likely, but still a legitimate possibility), the Orange do have some additional options to investigate.
For the record, of the names mentioned above it’s Smith who intrigues me the most. Watch his highlights and you’ll no doubt understand why. Syracuse already has two great young athletes in the class of 2015 at the quarterback position, and as I mentioned above, Smith really feels like he’s of the same mold. Right now his biggest offer is Mississippi State, with schools like Air Force and Southern Miss also in the mix, along with Syracuse. Now that he’s putting baseball behind him, however, expect the interest to pick up substantially.