Pos Rank: #60
State Rank: #16
South Brunswick High (N.J.)
His Recruiting Story
Dontae Strickland is one of the best players in New Jersey in the 2015 class. The three-star running back had several BCS conference offers including Georgia Tech, Indiana, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
Being from the same high school as former Rutgers star Mohamed Sanu, the Scarlet Knights were the leader for Strickland's services early in the process. Syracuse started making a push during the spring evaluation period led by new tight ends coach Bobby Acosta.
After Strickland visited in May, the Orange jumped to the top of his list. He took a second visit to allow more members of his family to check out the campus, and committed before heading back home.
Where We've Seen Him:
South Brunswick vs Sayreville (2013), Rutgers Skills Camp (2013), Junior Highlight Tape (2013), South Brunswick vs East Brunswick (2012), South Brunswick vs Manalapan (2012), Sophomore Highlight Tape (2012)
Scouting Report from Scout.com's Sam Hellman:
In a state title game that featured Rutgers linebacker T.J. Taylor and Penn State receiver Saeed Blacknall, a sophomore Strickland was the best player on the field in the first title in South Brunswick history. Strickland is a between-the-tackles runner with enough burst to spread the field off tackle.
Strickland has the hands to be effective in the screen game. So what held him back from a bigger recruitment? There is inconsistency in his production. Against stronger teams up front, Strickland can be indecisive in the backfield.
He is not always going to get the extra yard in a fighting situation and needs to run lower. Strickland isn't going to create his own on broken plays, but can be extremely productive behind a strong offensive line.
Recruiting New Jersey:
I think it's essential. New Jersey, back when I was a young coach at the University of Rhode Island, the top players were either going to Penn State or Syracuse. You saw a few leave, maybe out to an Iowa. But really, coach Pasqualoni and George DeLeone, they really owned that territory. Coach DeLeone, he's a guy that I used to follow around and help me…
He has good relationships and it's really refreshing to get phone calls from those guys saying, ‘hey it's really great that Syracuse is back in Jersey. We'll send you guys some good kids.'
Now as we go in the ACC conference and they're (Rutgers) in the Big-10 conference, I think it gives those kids from New Jersey a different feel for what opportunity Syracuse gives them. Not just educationally, but also the opportunity to play up and down the eastern seaboard and to play in arguably the best conference in football right now…
I think those kids from New Jersey can say this is different than the Big East now. This is a conference that is really at the top and I could have a chance to play in that conference. There's a lot of games up and down, like I said, the eastern seaboard which is exciting for those families. So many of those kids from New York, Boston and New Jersey have family that have migrated south. Those grandparents and aunts and uncles are going to be able to see those kids play in one of the best conferences.
I think it's an exciting time. Bringing Joe and Bobby in are a perfect fit for us. Joe has ties to Chicago as one of our secondary areas. We took six kids from that Illinois State last year. Now Bobby making a press not only in New Jersey but in Long Island, I think it's a great thing for Syracuse and for years to come."
- Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer
Landing Strickland is very important for Syracuse. Not only was he at a position of focus this cycle, but he is a top New Jersey talent. Adding the three-star running back shows that the Orange are serious about becoming players in the state once again.