The Syracuse University football team has been hard at work with spring practice, which culminates with the annual Spring Game tomorrow in the Carrier Dome. But the coaching staff has also been hard at work on the recruiting trail, and the fruits of their labor will be on display when a big contingent of prospects descends on the Dome to watch the final practice of the spring season.
So that obviously begs the question: could Syracuse get its first commitment of the class of 2016 this weekend? Some of the staff’s top targets for 2016 will be on hand, including a few at some skill positions the staff would love to receive pledges from. Last year, the first commitment in the class of 2015 came when Tyrone Perkins pledged on April 16, and Jordan Fredericks committed on April 24. Here are a few of the top prospects in this year’s class who will be in attendance – and each of whom is high on the Orange and could conceivably extend a verbal commitment before the weekend is over:
The 6-foot-2 signal caller is the top quarterback on the coaching staff’s board this year, and the New Jersey native trains with former Syracuse QB Madei Williams. Williams also trains current Syracuse quarterback AJ Long, so that’s a lot of familiarity with the program for Brown. The fact that he’s pretty literally surrounded by Syracuse quarterbacks, and he knows he’s the staff’s top target, along with the fact that he also visited not too long ago could potentially mean a verbal sooner than later from this 3-star prospect. That said, I’d be a bit surprised to see Brown commit this weekend.
Another New Jersey prospect, the 3-star running back is extremely high on the Orange, and visited last month with Brown. Thompson told Scout.com that Syracuse is his leader, and the 5-foot-11 back, who also has offers from the likes of Boston College and Temple, seems to be one of the most likely candidates to pull the trigger and pledge to the Orange this weekend. Syracuse would be very happy to get Thompson locked up early, as he’s recovering from an injury and will almost certainly attract a lot more Power 5 attention when the season rolls around and teams start seeing what he can do with the ball in his hands.
Kolton Huber and KJ Gray
A 6-foot-1 wide receiver and another New Jersey native, Kolton Huber visited campus back in October and has been extremely high on the Orange ever since. We already know that Syracuse is going after a lot of big time receiving talent, and Syracuse was one of the first programs to offer the wideout from St. Peters Prep. He also holds offers from Kansas and Buffalo, and will be there this weekend with teammate and fellow receiver KJ Gray. Gray is a 6-foot-2 wideout and, like Huber, rated as a 3-star talent. Gray’s got offers from Rutgers, UConn, and BC, in addition to Syracuse. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise for Syracuse to come away with one or both players after this weekend.
Coleman is another receiver prospect from New Jersey, and he’s a little bit of a smaller, shiftier receiver than Huber or Gray. Coleman is listed at 6-feet, and has great quickness. He recently told Scout.com that Rutgers is atop his list so I wouldn’t bet on a verbal this weekend, especially since he also had a strong recent visit to NC State. But he’s still high on Syracuse, and a good weekend trip with his fellow Garden State natives could make a huge impression and put the Orange on top.
A 6-foot-1, 3-star safety and, yes, another native of New Jersey, Phil Campbell is an intriguing prospect for the Orange. So far he doesn’t have a Syracuse offer, but that could change pretty quickly. He does hold offers from West Virginia and Rutgers, and also just tweeted out this morning that he’s also received a Temple offer. The athletic prospect is a former teammate of class of 2015 commit Dontae Strickland, who, as it happens, will be in Syracuse this weekend as well. If Syracuse extends the offer, it’s certainly possible that Strickland could convince his old friend to accept it on the spot.
Switching things up from New Jersey to New York, Demetrius Breedlove is an intriguing prospect who could end up playing either tight end or defensive end at the next level. Right now the Rochester native is only rated as a 2-star prospect, the 6-foot-3, 240 pound athlete from McQuaid Jesuit has a great combination of size and strength, as well as speed for that size. The first commitment in both the 2014 and 2015 classes came from New York, and Breedlove could continue that trend.
Obviously, these aren’t the only prospects visiting this weekend. Other names that Syracuse fans should keep in mind are guys like Ray Marten and Hasise Dubois, as well as Emmanuel Appiah. But if the Orange are going to get a verbal or two this weekend, my money would be on one of the talented young athletes above.