Recruiting Reset: Linebacker

Syracuse lost one of their four linebacker commits on Wednesday when Jason Cabinda flipped to Penn State. Where do things stand for Syracuse at linebacker in the 2014 class? breaks it all down inside.

Linebacker has been a key position for Syracuse in the 2014 class. Scott Shafer said during his signing day press conference in February that he wanted to build depth at the position. The Orange followed that plan and landed four early linebacker commitments.

However, one of those prospects recently flipped his pledge. Jason Cabinda decided that Penn State was the place he wanted to play college football. With Syracuse being dealt a small blow, there is still plenty about which to be optimistic as they look to add two prospects to their haul.

The Commits

Zaire Franklin
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: La Salle College High School (Wyndmoor, Pa.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 215 lbs
The Latest: Franklin is a solid Syracuse commit. After word of Cabinda's flip reached him, he tweeted, "Cuse believed in me from the beginning so I'll ride with them until the end." Franklin has not spoken to other schools since committing, and is only planning an official to Syracuse at this point.

Colton Moskal
Position: Middle Linebacker
School: Lake Zurich High School (Lake Zurich, Ill.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1.5, 215 lbs
The Latest: Moskal was sidelined for a short period of time with a minor injury. He has come back strong and continues to work on his craft. Moskal may be one of the more underrated prospects in Syracuse's class, and the staff feels he has a bright future manning the middle of the Orange defense. He also is a solid Syracuse commit who is only looking at one official.

Parris Bennett
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: University of Detroit Jesuit (Detroit, Mich.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-0, 210 lbs
The Latest: Bennett shut down his recruitment as soon as he committed. A quiet kid who lets his game speak for itself, Bennett has the potential to be a solid starting outside linebacker at Syracuse. He is athletic, has solid instincts and can run. The three star linebacker rounds out a trio of solid commits for the Orange who are only looking at one official.

The Top Targets

Nile Sykes
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: Montini Catholic High School (Lombard, Ill.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 220 lbs
The Latest: Sykes is a freak athlete who has the skills to be a force at the next level. He is the top linebacker target for the Orange as they look to fill the void left by Cabinda. Syracuse has stayed in contact with Sykes for quite some time, and he will take his official visit the weekend of December 6th. Iowa State and Missouri appear to be the biggest threats here, but the Orange will have their shot to make an impression.

JaWhaun Bentley
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: Dematha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Md.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 220 lbs
The Latest: Syracuse has ramped up their interest in Bentley lately, and he has admitted they are a player in his recruitment. Maryland and Iowa were the clear top two at one point, but Bentley has since taken a step back. While those two are still the favorites, the Orange have made up some ground. Getting him on campus will be the key.

Demetrius Johnson
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: Annapolis Area Christian High School (Annapolis, Md.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 190 lbs
The Latest: Johnson has said recently that Syracuse is one of the schools coming at him the hardest. He has a lot of talent and tremendous upside as a talented athlete. Penn State and Rutgers are also sniffing around, though the Nittany Lions are likely to back off with Cabinda in the mix. Old Dominion, Maryland and Marshall are the top four for Johnson, with Maryland being the biggest threat to the Orange. Once again, getting him on campus will be a key factor.

Alternative Options

Justin Hughes
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: Tucker High School (Tucker, Ga.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 206 lbs
The Latest: Hughes received a lot of interest from Syracuse early in the process and remains very high on the Orange. Should Syracuse falster on some of their top targets, Hughes would jump firmly onto the radar. He has interest in Kansas State as well, but Syracuse may be his favorite should they ramp up their interest.

Anthony Wint
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: Homestead Senior High School (Homestead, Fla.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-0, 215 lbs
The Latest: Wint was excited when he picked up an offer from Syracuse early in the process. Since then, there hasn't been a lot of activity with the Sunshine State product. He has good size, good speed and is from a talent rich area. Wint is another backup option that could come into play as the recruiting cycle winds down should the Orange still need help at linebacker.

Myles Nicholas
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: Irondequoit High School (Rochester, N.Y.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 215 lbs
The Latest: Nicholas has always had a lot of interest in Syracuse, but committed to Old Dominion when he felt an offer wasn't coming. He is also receiving interest from Buffalo, but the chance to play at Syracuse would be too big to pass up should the Orange show interest. If Syracuse is not able to fill their linebacker slots as signing day approaches, they could look to add Nicholas with a late flip.

Tyler Bates
Position: Outside Linebacker
School: Fresno City College (Fresno, Calif.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 225 lbs
Rating: NR
The Latest: Bates caught the eye of Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer when he was recruiting for the 2013 class and targeted a few Fresno JUCO prospect. Bates has not been on the radar lately, but could jump back into the picture if Syracuse misses out on other targets.

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