One of the glaring weaknesses on the 2013 Syracuse Orange football team was playmakers at the wide receiver position. They lacked the ability to stretch the field or be a threat for the big play. The coaching staff addressed that need with one of the best wide receiver recruiting hauls in school history.
The list starts with the only four star in the 2014 class, K.J. Williams. Williams is the cousin of quarterback commit A.J. Long and current wide receiver Jarrod West. Scout.com Northeast Recruiting Analyst Brian Dohn had the following to say about Williams during a live evaluation.
"The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Williams has a good burst coming out of breaks and his tracks the ball well and adjusts to passes well. He is able to gain position against a defensive back while the ball is in flight and he has very good feet to turn and adjust to balls in the air.
"Williams also understands how to work back to his quarterback when protection breaks down, and how to find open space. He is long and thick and runs well, and he is deceptively quick for his size. He has big hands and catches the ball at its highest point, and uses his body well to shield defenders.
"In addition, Williams does a nice job of accelerating after the catch, and he can get to the corner after catching the ball on short routes."
Corey Cooper came to Syracuse from Jireh Prep in North Carolina and enrolled in January. He was originally part of the 2013 class, but had to shore up his academics. Cooper was given flirtations by North Carolina, South Carolina and others when he enrolled in prep school, but refused to give them a serious look and stuck with the Orange.
Cooper will play in the slot for Syracuse, and has the ability to be a playmaker with his quickness and strong hands. The year of prep school allowed him to develop his route running skills and bulk up a bit. He has a lot of upside.
Steve Ishmael comes to Syracuse out of North Miami Beach (Fla.). George McDonald is the biggest reason why he chose the Orange. His high school coach raves about his route running and ball skills. He compared Ishmael to Sammy Watkins who played at Clemson this past season.
Ishmael has a lot of upside. His explosiveness and speed will only improve as he becomes part of the Syracuse strength and conditioning program. He has the potential to be the best receiver in this class.
Jamal Custis, out of Philadelphia (Penn.), has size you just can't teach. He may wind up as a tight end, but will start his career as a wide receiver. At 6-foot-6, he could be a matchup nightmare for Syracuse opponents. He is very athletic and has strong footwork that comes from his background as a basketball player.
While Custis is not a burner, he has enough speed to get down field and be a solid threat. Regardless of where he lines up, he is a nice offensive weapon for McDonald and his offense.
Adly Enoicy is from Brisly Estime's old high school (Atlantic) in Delray Beach. He has played exclusively wide receiver in high school, and will start that with the Orange. At 6-foot-4, Enoicy gives the Orange another big receiving target that can go up and get the ball. He runs routes well, catches everything thrown his way and is excellent on jump balls.
His lack of elite speed caused many to project him at tight end at the next level along with his body type. But Syracuse will try to take advantage of his size on the outside.
One four-star and five three-star prospects, all with good size, help the Orange improve their skill, athleticism and playmaking ability at the receiver position. It may take a couple of years before they start to make major contributions on the field, but the future is bright for Syracuse at wide receiver.