One of the key areas that the Syracuse University football staff was looking to add more depth to as they close out the 2016 recruiting cycle is the running back position. Well, one name is off the board, as 3-star prospect Jawon Hamilton announced this morning that he has committed to Central Florida. So the question is: where do things stand as we head toward National Signing Day?
Now, while running back is certainly an area the new staff has made a priority, that doesn’t mean Syracuse is in trouble at the position moving forward if no more commits hop aboard the Orange Express. After all, a true freshman (Jordan Fredericks) just led the Orange in rushing last season, and he’s joined by two other very talented young players in Dontae Strickland and Tyrone Perkins. Both played the express back position last year, but have the capability to switch back to running back rather than moving to the slot.
And speaking of the slot, there’s a fair chance that Ervin Philips winds up transitioning back into the backfield, as he’s always shown flashes of being a potential game breaker when he gets carries. Likewise, incoming freshman Moe Neal seems almost destined for the slot at this point, but if Syracuse fails to reel in any more running back recruits, the speedy North Carolina star could be plugged into the backfield as well. George Morris and Devante McFarlane are also still currently in the mix for carries as well, so the Orange won’t be hurting for bodies at the position.
That said, there are still some awfully talented players Syracuse is in the process of wooing. Right now, Sam Brodner is on campus, and I wrote about the outstanding 3-star player from Illinois recently. If he decided he wanted to commit, it would be a huge pickup for the Orange. Syracuse is still working on getting Dee Eskridge in for a visit, but right now the Western Michigan commit has been pretty quiet about where things truly stand with the Orange.
Still, Eskridge has a great relationship with two of the newest Syracuse coaches, Vince Reynolds and Mike Hart, and they’ll continue working to get him on campus. He was in Kalamazoo on his official visit to WMU this weekend, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for any word of whether that solidified him to the Broncos, or if there’s still some wiggle room for the Orange.
After Brodner and Eskridge, Syracuse has 4-star tailback Kentrail Moran coming in for an official visit next weekend. The Illinois commit has been high on Syracuse for awhile, even through the coaching change, and could be a very viable flip option as we get down to the wire. While Moran is rated as a 4-star talent, he doesn’t have the same kind of speed as Brodner and Eskridge, and relies more on his strength, so he might not be as good a fit for the offense as some of the other recruits on the board. Still, he’s someone the staff has been looking at for awhile and he’d be one hell of a “consolation prize” if Brodner and Eskridge decide against joining Syracuse.
Adrian Killins is another name to monitor. The small, shifty running back from Daytona Beach and is a Central Florida commit but right now plans on visiting Syracuse on the weekend of January 29. He’s one of those players who, like Sean Riley, the talented California athlete visiting this weekend, is probably more of an in-between guy who could see time in the backfield but would likely get more reps in the slot if he were to choose the Orange.
It’s certainly an interesting situation to monitor, and a big piece of the puzzle could potentially fall into place if word comes out that Brodner was blown away by his official visit this weekend.