Matchup problems. That's the name of the game with 3-star Philadelphia (Pa.) St. John Neumann wide receiver Jamal Custis and one of the main reasons he was a popular target in the northeast. That is why Syracuse made him a high priority as one of their primary skill position targets. When he pulled the trigger on Sunday, the Orange feel they've landed a good one who will provide big plays in George McDonald's offense.
While listed as a wide receiver in Scout's database, Custis is being recruited as a tight end/wide receiver hybrid. His size and athleticism allows Custis to move all over the formation. One play he could line up in the slot, the next as a traditional tight end, the next split out wide.
At 6-foot-6, he is difficult to cover for any defender. Whether it's in a jump ball situation against a corner in the endzone or down the field against a linebacker, Custis has the potential to create matchup nightmares for Syracuse's opponents.
That doesn't mean that Custis is a finished product. Route running is a bit of a concern. He tends to round them off as opposed to keeping them tight and crisp. His footwork is OK, but could use some work.
If he is developed into a tight end, Custis will have to work on his blocking. In high school, he played primarily on the outside, and was not asked to be a blocker on a regular basis. Being able to contribute in that aspect of the run game, as well as pass protect, will be key for Custis' future.
Off the field, Custis continues Syracuse's strong haul of skill position players. Despite not having a running back in the mix, the Orange have landed three talented prospects in K.J. Williams, Corey Cooper, and now Custis. If they can also land prospects such as Ish Witter and Steve Ishmael, Syracuse will have plenty of weapons in their arsenal in the future.
It also gives the Orange their third prospect from Pennsylvania joining the aforementioned Williams and Zaire Franklin. The Keystone State is becoming an important pipeline for Syracuse, just as it was in the past when Paul Pasqualoni was the head man. It gives Syracuse another victory over recruiting rivals Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Connecticut.
As the new staff tries to develop their recruiting ties, getting back into talent rich regional areas such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania is important. The addition of Custis helps to further that cause.
The Custis commitment is a bit of good news for Syracuse fans who are frustrated with their lack of on the field success. The Orange are starting to focus more on offense as they look to fill up the second half of the class. While offensive line and running back are still a concern, Custis is a nice pickup that can help the Orange in the years to come.