Syracuse: What's at Stake Last Three Weeks? takes a look at what is at stake in the 2014 class for Syracuse as the 2013 season winds down.


Coach: Scott Shafer
2014 Commits: 14 rank: No. 60 (13th in ACC)
2013 record: 5-4
Finish needed for bowl eligibility: 1-2
Bowl possibilities: Sun Bowl (Dec. 31) in El Paso, Texas; Military Bowl (Dec. 27) in Annapolis, Md.; Music City Bowl (Dec. 30) in Nashville, Tenn.

What's at stake: The direction of Syracuse's football program could take shape in the next three weeks. There was excitement about beating West Virginia in last year's Pinstripe Bowl, and the need to build on that exists.

A Saturday win at Florida State, while a huge long shot, would give an incredible boost to recruiting and the profile of Syracuse's football program, but there is much more beyond that. A strong performance by the Orange against Seminoles would help with recruiting in Florida, particularly with a trio of Sunshine State cornerbacks high on Syracuse's boards.

Largo (Fla.) High's Cordell Hudson, Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay's Deion Hallmon and Clearwater (Fla.) Countryside's Mike Johnson will each by paying close attention.

The Orange finish the season with home games against Boston College and Pittsburgh, and getting to seven wins in the regular season for the second straight year would show progress. It will also allow the Orange to pitch to the remaining recruits the foundation is in place and they are the players needed to make the next step.

One of the top names on Syracuse's board, linebacker Nile Sykes of Lomard (Ill.) Montini Catholic, could be swayed by a strong finish but his recruitment was clouded, in regards to the Orange, in a big way Thursday when Notre Dame offered. At first, it looked as though he would commit on the spot, but he is now waiting to take a trip to South Bend, Ind. But the longer Syracuse can hang around with Sykes would be helpful.

However, there are plenty of other players in the mix, and the ability to sell players like Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic linebacker JaWhaun Bentley and Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic tight end Aldy Enoicy on the progress of the program is important.

Also, the protracted recruitment of Brooklyn Abraham Lincoln four-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley could give the Orange a shot with a strong finish. Holley already officially visited Ohio State and Penn State, and is tentatively set to visit Florida on Nov. 30. However, Ohio State has slowed its recruitment of Holley and, at this point, Notre Dame isn't pushing terribly hard for a visit.

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