The Syracuse University recruiting class took a bit of a hit with the decommitment of Lindsey Scott, who’s likely headed to LSU at this point, and with less than two weeks remaining before National Signing Day it doesn’t appear that the Orange will be able to find a second quarterback for the class of 2016. For now, it appears the staff is beginning to look ahead to the class of 2017, and even a little bit beyond.
The Orange will likely head into the 2016 season with just three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, though it’s very conceivable that Zack Mahoney could be awarded a scholarship, making it four. Eric Dungey is by far the frontrunner to start under center, with Austin Wilson, Rex Culpepper, and Mahoney fighting it out for the backup job in the very QB-friendly system run by Dino Babers.
It’s possible that the Orange could still try to find an additional quarterback for added depth even after National Signing Day, either by finding a late gem or a junior college prospect. It’s also very possible that Kenterius Womack could make the switch back to QB from wide receiver, an idea that I know he’s very much open to.
So let’s just assume for a moment that the Orange don’t add another recruit to the 2016 class, and let’s further assume that the QB rotation will be Dungey, Wilson, Culpepper, and Mahoney, with Womack as a wildcard option. If everyone stays healthy, that’s a rotation you can win some games with. And the Syracuse staff, at least on the surface, seems to agree and has begun looking to 2017.
Two of the big names that Syracuse is looking at are familiar to fans of the Orange who’ve been following recruiting over the past year: Jack Coan, and Kasim Hill. I’ve talked a bit about Coan recently, and he’s likely going to be one of the most highly sought after signal callers on the East Coast in the class of 2017. He’s getting chased by a lot of the big boys, and I’ve felt for awhile that Michigan could very well wind up being the team to beat.
Hill, meanwhile, is a prospect I’ve been a big fan of for awhile, so imagine my delight in seeing that Sean Lewis and Reno Ferri have recently started following the signal caller from Maryland on Twitter. Hill is a very good prospect, and Syracuse was the first program to ever offer him back when Scott Shafer was calling the shots. His interest in Syracuse with the new staff remains to be seen, and right now my gut instinct is that it will be a battle between Penn State, Michigan State, and his hometown Terps for his services, but depending on what the Syracuse offense looks like this season, the Orange could definitely get back in the door.
An under the radar recruit to keep an eye on is Tommy Herion, a 6-foot-1 QB from Wilmette, Illinois. Herion’s Loyola Academy went 14-0 in 2015, though Herion sat out the season after transferring to the school. As a senior he’ll have a chance to lead his powerhouse program, and based on some 7v7 performances in the past, he looks poised to become a breakout prospect in the Chicago area. Why do I mention Herion, by the way? Because Lewis started following him on Twitter a few weeks back. Always a sign that the SU coaches are intrigued.
Another 2017 QB who could emerge as a target down the line is Hendon Hooker, who the previous staff offered but who the new staff hasn’t really focused on yet. He’s a North Carolina native, and the new staff hasn’t prioritized that state but the presence of Asil Mulbah, who came from Wake Forest to be Syracuse’s Director of Recruiting, could change that. Hooker is a high level dual threat QB, so if Syracuse decides to get in on him they’ll have to fight off some heavy competition, including Clemson.
Daulton Hyatt is another QB who was offered by the old staff but hasn’t been in touch with the new staff yet, but the 6-foot-4 signal caller from Alabama could still become a big time target for Syracuse going forward. Hyatt is friendly with current Syracuse defensive tackle Steven Clark, and Mulbah has been keeping tabs on Hyatt, presumably from his time at Wake. For right now, Hyatt and Hooker are in the same position with the Syracuse staff, and while both have expressed interest in SU in the past it remains to be seen whether Babers and his coaches will reach out and make them priorities.
Another name to keep an eye on is Todd Centeio, a 6-foot signal caller from Dwyer High in West Palm Beach, Florida, who the Orange closes are keeping a close eye on. The 3-star QB has offers from North Carolina State, Miami, Indiana, and was being recruited by Babers and his staff at Bowling Green as well.
One more name to keep an eye on going forward is EJ Stewart, a 6-foot-1 QB from Rancho Verde High in California, who threw for 3,033 yards with 36 touchdowns last season on his way to being a first team All-CIF selection. Syracuse assistant Kim McCloud is already watching Stewart, who like Herion is still flying a bit under the radar for now.
Obviously, these are not the only names we’ll be hearing about from the quarterback position in the class of 2017. Still, it’s a good starting point, and these will all be names to keep an eye on as we begin to move forward.