Syracuse picked up a late addition to the class of 2016, pulling in a commitment from Florida safety James Pierre today. Pierre initially pledged to Miami before flipping to North Carolina, but the 3-star talent was denied admission by UNC despite having already signed his letter of intent to play for the Tar Heels. Check out what Justin Roe had to say about the newest recruit for Dino Babers.

The first thing that comes to mind when looking at James Pierre’s tape is that he has the size you want at the safety position. At 6-foot-2, 175 – he looks the part. He is a long stride runner that seems to have very good acceleration. While he doesn’t have the longest senior highlight tape (just 3 minutes and 15 seconds), a couple of things stand out.

He loves to fly around the field and seems to read the ball very well. While it’s hard to say exactly how he moves on the snap (because of camera position on his highlights), he gets to the ball very fast and is in position to disrupt passes in the air.

He also moves into the box very well, coming in to finish tackles. I enjoyed the highlight at the 1:10 mark of his tape, as he showed great football IQ, in getting low on the fullback. This ended up disrupting the run, not giving the running back a clear lane, and resulted in a tackle for loss. At the 3:08 mark, we get a small glimpse of his change of direction skills and see how quick his hips are. As he picks an angle on a run that broke to the second level, the running back tried to cut back in the open field. James plants his foot well and changes direction right along with him to prevent a big gain from turning into 6.

The way he anticipates the ball makes me believe he would be a very good zone defender, which is ideal for a safety in the Tampa 2. I can see why the defensive staff loves James. Once he gains a bit of muscle to pack on to his 6-foot-2 frame, I could see him becoming an elite defender. Syracuse fans should be very excited to add a player of his caliber this late in the recruiting cycle. James Pierre is a difference maker in the secondary, and should see the field sooner rather than later.

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Justin is a 2011 graduate from SUNY Buffalo State. Since that time, he spent several years coaching high school football in North Carolina while also working at NC State, and has also served as a head and assistant tennis coach at the Division III and Division I levels. During this tenure coaching high school football, he sent players to continue their football career at Alabama, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Purdue, North Carolina State, East Carolina, and other Division II and III schools.