2013 Target Tracker: Running Backs

Syracuse football landed a trio of commitments over the last two weeks, but the staff is still in search of its first – and possibly only – running back pledge. Here's a look at the entire running back scene for the Orange in the Class of 2013.

Syracuse football brought in one pure running back and a pair of players with experience at the position in the Class of 2012, so how will the staff follow it up in 2013?

To this point, just seven running backs in America hold verbal scholarship offers from the Orange with two officially off the board and another virtually in the same boat. Either way, the focus is on a pair of in-state stars that each holds Syracuse in high regard.

RBs off the board

On May 15, Scout's top running back, Ty Isaac, committed to USC – eliminating most programs' top target in the process. Syracuse, despite offering sooner than most, never appeared to be in the mix for the five-star prospect out of Joliet Catholic in Illinois.

It is a much different case with Durham (N.C.) Hillside tailback Khris Francis, who was already committed to North Carolina when he received his offer from SU. The three-star has been sold on the local Tar Heels from day one, so don't expect anything to become of the verbal extension to the talented back.

Virtually off the board

The good news: it's just one.

The bad news: it's one the staff had high hopes for with an offer that was the first extension for a potential game-changer.

Alvin Kamara, out of Norcross High School in Georgia, was a top target from the time he snagged a Syracuse offer in October. He was elated by that initial extension, but the four-star soon received offers from the likes of most of the SEC including Alabama and Florida, as well as most semi-local schools from the ACC like Florida State and Clemson. While Kamara hasn't released a trimmed list just yet, Syracuse has been all but dropped from consideration.

SU in solid shape

On the flip-side of things, a pair of New York City running backs remain potential gets for SU – though the competition for their services is getting stiffer as time progresses.

Leading the way is three-star Staten Island (N.Y.) Tottenville RB Augustus Edwards, the second-ranked player in the Empire State behind close friend Ebenezer Ogundeko. A 6-foot-1, 210-pound back that has both an inside and outside game, "Gus" has hinted at a top five being released very soon. Syracuse is more than likely to remain on the list once he does cut down, but plans to trim were pushed back over the weekend with Notre Dame showing recent interest. Edwards has 13 offers to this point, mostly from the Big East and ACC. Even with some of the big boys getting in the mix for him, the thought of playing for the in-state Orange, and with Tottenville teammate Alvin Cornelius, is more than appealing to Edwards.

SU's Chances: 25 %

Not far behind Edwards in ranking, location or priority is Brooklyn (N.Y.) Xaverian tailback Laray Smith. The speedy back is also a three-star, and bigger schools are getting in on him as the summer approaches as well. Tennessee offered in April and Oregon has been hot on his trail for a while now, but the Orange has the local connection as well as an inside track with Smith's close friend (and 2012 SU signee) Wayne Morgan. What could be an X-factor in his recruitment is the fact that, unlike Edwards, Smith wants to take the process towards National Signing Day – giving more schools a chance to get into the mix for him.

SU's Chances: 25 %

Still in the hunt

The highest ranked uncommitted player at the position with an SU offer is four-star Glassboro (N.J.) prospect Corey Clement. Syracuse was one of the more recent schools to offer him, and heavyweights like Florida State, Penn State, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin have been in the mix for some time now – all already offering the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder. Clement is really enjoying the recruiting process so far, so don't expect a decision from him any time soon.

Too early to tell

An interesting offer and overall case is Randy Gober. The Waco (Tx.) La Vega star is unranked and doesn't hold an additional offer at this time, though he reportedly lists a top five of Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Syracuse and TCU. Gober is impressive on tape with above-average vision and fluidity at this point in his career despite a 5-foot-8, 185-pound frame – but his five suggests that he's holding out for bigger offers.

Next in line?

If and when Kamara (or any other offeree) commits elsewhere, Syracuse may extend one more offer at the position during the camp circuit this summer. The name to look out for in such a scenario is Zaire Williams, a 5-foot-11, 200-pounder from New Jersey power Timber Creek Regional High School. Williams, who recently transferred to the school, holds big offers from Iowa and West Virginia among others so Syracuse would be joining the mix late although the staff is more inclined to dip into Jersey with Rutgers' stranglehold on the state slightly weaker with the departure of Greg Schiano (now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).


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