Three star University of Detroit Jesuit (MI) OLB Parris Bennett pulled the trigger on Monday, making Syracuse his school of choice to continue his football career. The decision came just two days after his first trip to the Orange campus, and that was enough to convince him that Syracuse was home.
He is the third linebacker commitment for Syracuse in their 2014 class, a sign that Scott Shafer is putting a premium on the position in order to shore up the depth numbers going forward. He eluded to as much during his signing day press conference back in February, saying the numbers were not where he wanted them. His words have been put into action as they have targeted many linebackers with a priority put on a few.
But Syracuse is not done at the position. Jason Cabinda is still a priority and arguably the top target at the position for 2014 going forward. Bennett's commitment should not impact Cabinda's decision. Nile Sykes is also on the radar and should be pursued. The Orange could view him as a defensive end, however.
Bennett was one of those priorities, as the staff likes his length and athleticism. Syracuse visited him multiple times during the evaluation period to make it known they had strong interest in the 6-foot prospect. That work ended up paying off as they were able to win the battle for Bennett's services over a recruiting rival.
Pittsburgh made Bennett a bigger priority with the loss of Zaire Franklin to Syracuse. But once again the Panthers lost out in a battle with Syracuse for a three star linebacker. Continuing to win recruiting battles over rivals with priority targets at priority positions is a nice statement to make for the Orange.
Beyond that, the addition of Bennett shows the Syracuse staff is using their connections in the Midwest to bring in talented players. That should bode well for the Orange as there seem to be a lot of talent in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan in the coming years.
Four of the six commitments have been on the defensive side of the ball, including each of the last four verbal pledges. With several linebackers in the fold, a priority will be placed on running back, wide receiver, and defensive backs going forward. The Orange must also figure out their plan along the defensive line as they will likely add a couple of prospects there as well.
Still, Bennett's commitment is a positive step for the new Syracuse staff who seem to be executing their plan very well.