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The Syracuse University football staff has almost finished up its 2016 recruiting class, and while it’s light on numbers, it’s certainly not light on quality. Despite the fact that not all of the members of the class have been rated yet, it’s shaping up to be one of the best classes in years for the Orange. As we continue to celebrate #OrangeWeek, let’s take a look at how Syracuse’s recruiting has gone over the last decade or so.

Using the 247sports.com composite rating system, I went back and looked at every fully rated class in the website’s system, which goes back to 2003. Here’s how 247 describes its composite rating system:

“The 247Sports Composite Rating is a proprietary algorithm that compiles prospect ‘rankings’ and ‘ratings’ listed in the public domain by the major media recruiting services. It converts average industry ranks and ratings into a linear composite index capping at 1.0000, which indicates a consensus No. 1 prospect across all services.”

In other words, every prospect is rated on a scale of 1-100 based on their respective rankings among all major recruiting services. Typically, 5-star players are in the 95-100 range, while 4-star players are closer to the 89-94 range. The typical 3-star recruit generally clocks in around the 80-88 range, and so on, and so forth. Obviously, schools like Alabama are going to consistently be near the top of the ratings, and right now the Tide’s class has an average rating of .9033, which means the average player they’ve been getting is considered a 4-star talent.

Going with schools a little closer to Syracuse’s current level, Boston College’s 2016 class currently has an average player rating of .8243, while Pitt has a rating of .8396, with a rating of .8295 for the average Rutgers recruit. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the last 14 Syracuse recruiting classes, including the 2016 cycle.

2016: .8358 (Highest rated: Robert Washington, .8945)
2015: .8229 (Highest rated: Dontae Strickland, .8731)
2014: .8326 (Highest rated: Chris Slayton, .8619) Note: KJ Williams and Corey Cooper were originally included in this class, and each was rated higher than Slayton
2013: .8128 (Highest rated: Corey Cooper [HS], .8529)
2012: .8081 (Highest rated: Wayne Morgan, .8994)
2011: .8099 (Highest rated: Adonis Ameen-Moore, .8538)
2010: .8117 (Highest rated: Max Beaulieu, .8579)
2009: .7958 (Highest rated: Andrew Tiller, .8556)
2008: .8044 (Highest rated: Marcus Sales, .8963) Note: Averin Collier was included and had a higher rating than Sales
2007: .8056 (Highest rated: Doug Hogue, .8706)
2006: .7951 (Highest rated: Delone Carter, .8667)
2005: .7938 (Highest rated: Lavar Lobdell, .9000)
2004: .7774 (Highest rated: JJ Bedle, .8333)
2003: .7913 (No individual ratings given)

It’s interesting to note that these ratings back up the notion that Scott Shafer and his staff have certainly improved recruiting, as the three highest average ratings are all Shafer’s classes. Obviously, some ratings are skewed by players who never made it to Syracuse, like KJ Williams and Averin Collier, who received two of the highest ratings on this list (Collier had the highest, at .9101).

Recruiting is an inexact science, but the progress being shown is absolutely worth noting. Syracuse has put itself in prime position for a big time class in 2017 and could conceivably pull together a top 25 class, given the stature of the players currently considering joining the Orange.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, 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