It’s been a busy week for the Syracuse University football staff and its 2016 recruiting targets, with several visitors to campus so far and more to come over the next few days. The biggest news of the week was the commitment of quarterback Rex Culpepper, and there remains a possibility that the Orange could pick up another verbal or two before the weekend is over.
- Before we get started with some of the weekend visitors, let’s touch base on someone hoping to get to campus in the near future. Prized recruit Robert Washington looks to be headed to Eugene, Oregon this weekend to participate in the Opening Regional with an eye toward earning a spot in the Opening Finals in a July. Washington has been laying low lately, and in fact hasn’t done any camps since March. Of course that hasn’t stopped his ratings from fluctuating, despite the fact that he’s had no on field work that could have possibly changed things up. Washington rose in the ESPN rankings all the way up to No. 116 overall and the No. 8 running back in America, but surprisingly plummeted in the Rivals rankings. Rivals had previously rated him as a 4-star recruit but for reasons that remain unclear, dropped him to a 3-star target and all the way down to the No. 35 running back in the country. At the end of the day, star ratings don’t really make much of a difference, but you have to think that Robert will be headed to this weekend’s Opening Regional with a chip on his shoulder after what could be perceived as a disrespect by one of the top recruiting sites.
- Another target who won’t be visiting this weekend is Sean McKeon, who was in Syracuse last weekend for the first Syracuse football camp, just eight days after having visited campus for the first time on his way to a camp in Pittsburgh. McKeon is headed to Michigan this weekend, and the belief is that he’ll decide on a school shortly after he returns home to Massachusetts. One of the top schools on McKeon’s list may no longer be in play, as Boston College – long believed to be the team to beat for McKeon’s services – just picked up a commitment from its third TE/DE prospect of this recruiting cycle, New York native Adam Korutz. At this point, it’s hard to figure exactly where McKeon could even fit into BC’s recruiting plans. Right now, I’d put Syracuse and Michigan as the favorites with BC still a possibility, though with so little room left at the inn, it’s hard to imagine them having another scholarship for a TE/DE target like McKeon.
- On campus today is defensive back target Will Harper, a 6-foot safety from Georgia who already has a Syracuse offer in hand, along with offers from Air Force, Army, Navy, and Western Kentucky, among others. Harper is believed to be high on the Orange, so if the coaches – who Scout.com’s Mike McAllister pointed out are taking a much more patient approach this recruiting cycle – like Harper enough to take his pledge immediately, he could very well be on commitment watch today.
- Speaking of Scout, McAllister put together a good list of this week’s visitors, which included a big group from Camden, New Jersey yesterday. Among those who made the trip are 4-star wide receiver Brad Hawkins, as well as 3-star defensive ends Jamal Holloway and Ron Johnson. Holloway can be counted among those who came away particularly impressed, and while Hawkins might seem a bit farfetched, a little birdie indicated to me that Syracuse is in a good position with the talented, physical receiver after yesterday’s visit. Also of note from the Camden contingent is that a 2017 prospect, 4-star offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz, received an offer from the coaching staff.
- Defensive back is a position of need in this recruiting cycle, and I’ve already mentioned Will Harper but should also bring up Scoop Bradshaw. Bradshaw, a teammate and close friend of Rex Culpepper, made the trip with the Culpepper family and by all accounts was absolutely blown away with the coaches, facilities, and basically the entire program in general. Bradshaw has the versatility to play either safety or corner at the next level and would be a tremendous pickup. He might still take a couple more visits, but it was indicated to me by people close to the situation that Syracuse fans should feel very good about where things stand with Scoop.
- One final note that is also with regard to defensive back depth, former Oregon State commit Devon Clarke seems to be on the verge of making a college decision, and right now, it would appear that Syracuse is the frontrunner for the 6-foot-3 safety. Clarke has been high on the Orange for awhile, and any football and college references on his Twitter feed lately have been about Syracuse, including a tweet wondering where he can find some Syracuse gloves to wear in the upcoming football season. So yeah, I think it’s safe to say Syracuse is in good shape with the 3-star talent from the Sunshine State.