Syracuse only landed one high school player from their home state in the 2014 class. They have made taking back New York in 2015 a priority. That does not necessarily mean the top prospects, but having an Empire State feel to the class.
With one Empire State prospect already in the fold, Syracuse pursued Fredericks who was at a key position. Landing the 5-foot-11 running back helps the Orange re-establish themselves as a force in the state.
Specifically downstate, where Syracuse did not land a single high school prospect from New York City last cycle. In 2015, they already have two early pledges.
The best part for Syracuse is that they targeted each early, made them a priority, and landed an early commitment. This speaks well for their efforts in the state as a whole.
Running back may be the second biggest positional priority this cycle behind offensive tackle. With Prince-Tyson Gulley graduating after the upcoming season, and George Morris and DeVante McFarlane entering their junior year when the 2015 season hits. Adonis Ameen-Moore will also be gone.
The Orange need to replenish their talent pool in the backfield. Erv Philips, a 2014 signee, certainly helps. But he is not a traditional type of running back that Syracuse could give the ball to 20 to 25 times per game.
Syracuse's first commitment, Tyrone Perkins, is very athletic and could end up at a different position rather than running back. While the staff has not ruled out Perkins playing in the backfield, they are open to moving him to corner or safety.
Fredericks, however, is a pure running back. He has more burst and top-end speed. He also has some elusiveness in the open field, and gives Syracuse a talented prospect at the position as they try to reload their stable of backs.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
The Orange are not done at running back. They will look to add at least one more at the position, only if they like the player enough. One more is almost certain, but they will not force the second.
Dontae Strickland is high on the wish list for Syracuse that is a realistic option. He was supposed to visit for the spring game, but was unable to make it. Look for Syracuse to try to get the three-star talent on campus soon and also pay him a visit during the spring evaluation period.
Devine Ozigbo recently picked up an offer, and could become a priority for Syracuse to round out their running back haul in this cycle. Look for the Orange to make a push for the three-star Lone Star State talent.
Also keep an eye on Jonathan Forrest. The top rated running back in New York has visited, but does not have an offer. He will camp at Syracuse over the summer and remains very high on the Orange.
Two in-state running backs to start the 2015 class. Landing two prospects at a key position in your home state is a nice start. This summer will be critical, and the Orange could land some talented players during that time as well.