Offensive line was one of the top priorities for Syracuse in the 2014 class. As summer approaches its final month, the Orange are without a single commitment up front. More specifically, the situation at tackle is worrisome.
If you look at the numbers, it's not as concerning as it would seem when you look strictly at the current recruiting cycle. While Sean Hickey (a candidate to leave after this season, but has a maxium of two years left) and Daniel Anyaegbunam will be lost, plenty of young bucks wait in the wings.
Ivan Foy was moved to tackle this offseason after splitting time with Rob Trudo at guard last season. He currently sits atop the depth chart at right tackle. Incoming freshmen Jamar McGloster and Jon Burton are raw projects, but help provide young depth. Kyle Knapp is a promising redshirt freshman that could become a starter as a sophomore. Michael Lasker, a late addition to the 2013 recruiting class, is a very talented player with a lot of upside. Kendall Moore is also a very athletic prospect who could fight for playing time down the road.
That gives the Orange six players at tackle heading into the 2014 season. The late additions of McGloster and Lasker have helped the lack of a commitment at the position. But Syracuse would like at least one tackle in this class to feel better about things going forward.
After missing out on James McHale, Noah Beh, and Brendan Brosnan, Syracuse has work to do in order to salvage the position for 2014. At guard, the Orange missed on Eric Shute, Billy Ray Mitchell, and Jarell Broxton. However, they are in a good position with two other prospects.
Best Case Scenario
If Syracuse could hand pick its dream ending to the class along the offensive line, it would surround grabbing Chad Mavety. The 4-star JUCO tackle is one of the most talented players in the country and has said he grew up dreaming about playing for Syracuse. While other big time programs are after him, he would make the Orange staff feel much better about the tackle position going forward.
Mavety is a key target for the Orange
Mavety could step in right away and start, potentially replacing Hickey if he decides to leave early. That would result in Syracuse not having to look at other prospects to make sure they grab someone at the position. To further the positive news, Marcus Applefield decides to give Syracuse a serious look and surprisingly picks the Orange.
On the inside, Syracuse is in a good position for both Aaron Roberts and Kadeem Smith. Could they take both? It's possible. If Roberts chooses Syracuse, whether Smith visits will tell the tale with him. But the best case scenario involves the Orange landing both of these players. That would give them strong depth inside with versatility, as Roberts has the potential to play tackle and Smith could move to center.
Worst Case Scenario
What if Mavety goes elsewhere and Roberts chooses Illinois after visiting Syracuse? That puts the Orange in a terrible position. At that point, Kadeem Smith could look at another school putting Syracuse squarely behind the eight ball. That's the absolute worst case for the Orange is missing on all three of those targets. Applefield isn't likely overly interested, and he would be a miss as well.
In that scenario, the staff would likely have to hit up the JUCO ranks to see if they can salvage a couple serviceable players along the offensive line. Tackles such as Dominic Granado, Kent Banks, Rotchill Medor, Miguel Mesa, or others could jump onto the radar.
At the high school level, it could mean Syracuse goes after Sean Christie or Dan DiNicola. Kevin Kwapis or Trey Rutherford could jump onto the radar as well. At guard, the Orange could turn to Jamie Herr who is still available. Ariel Amaya could pick up interest, and Jamil Demby (who camped at Syracuse) could enter the radar.
Most Realistic Scenario
The most likely scenario involves Syracuse landing at least one (if not both) of Aaron Roberts and Kadeem Smith. That would leave the Orange done on the inside of the line whether they landed one or both.
Mavety is more in play than people realize. Alabama isn't likely taking two JUCO tackles and they already have 4-star Dominick Jackson in the fold with five OL commits overall. . The Crimson Tide are also in a few others tackles that appear to be a higher priority, specifically 5-star Cam Robinson.
Ohio State has landed Jamarco Jones and is in heavily on Jermaine Eluemunor. That would make Mavety the third tackle with the Buckeyes, which could push them out. Florida State may be the biggest thread to Syracuse here, and Rutgers is also involved.
Still, logic says Syracuse won't land Mavety because of all of the other programs involved and the fact that Mavety hasn't visited yet. That would leave Syracuse with two choices. They can either look at other prospects or go into 2014 with the current numbers they have, with the possible loss of Hickey.
If the Orange choose to go after another prospect, trying to flip Jacquis Webb (though unlikely) is a possibility. Assuming that doesn't work, Syracuse would likely go after Sean Christie or one of the JUCO tackles. Another option is a prospect that is not currently on the radar that emerges in the fall.
Ultimately, expect Syracuse to land at least two offensive line prospects. One interior lineman, one tackle, and a possible second on the inside. While it may not be the haul the Orange had originally envisioned, there is still talent out there that could help Syracuse down the road.