Illinois has been almost the most important pipeline state for Syracuse since Scott Shafer took over close to the end of the 2013 cycle. The Orange snagged two players from the state that class, both after Shafer become the leader of the football program.
They followed that up with six Illinois prospects in the 2014 class. Duerig is the Orange's second in this cycle, both of whom will be playing along the offensive line. Cody Conway, a three-star offensive tackle, is the other commit.
Syracuse will continue to hit the Midwest hard, with Illinois and Ohio being the target states. Among the top targets in Illinois remaining on Syracuse's board are defensive tackles Jamal Milan and Wes Annan.
Continuing to land talented prospects in the region on furthers Syracuse as a realistic option for some of the most talented players year in and year out. The Orange are a major player in the Midwest.
Syracuse wanted five offensive linemen coming into the class. Duerig rounds out that class. Tackles Colin Byrne, Cody Conway and Evan Adams join interior linemen Sam Clausman and the aforementioned Duerig.
The Orange wanted to add talent and depth up front, and did well to identify talented prospects early in the cycle. They moved quickly on some of them (Clausman, Byrne, Conway) while waiting a bit longer for others (Adams, Duerig).
Still, it is quite impressive to have a position wrapped up before July.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
Syracuse will turn its focus to an important visit week. Priority targets Kyle Pugh and Jamal Milan will visit on Thursday along with commit Colin Byrne. It will be the first on campus visit for all three, making them even more important. Especially for Byrne, who the Orange can continue to distance themselves with from other suitors.
Pugh and Milan are top targets at key positions. Milan is the top defensive tackle on Syracuse's board, and is one of the best in the country at his position. Landing him would be a big statement.
Sawyer Dawson visits on Friday, but it is unclear if Syracuse would take him should he want to pull the trigger.
The big day is Saturday, when Mohamed Barry, Marquise Blair and Daiquan Kelly all visit. Barry just finished his Wisconsin visit and said they would be nearly impossible to beat. This is Syracuse's chances to prove that wrong.
Blair and Kelly are the top safety prospects on Syracuse's board. Both have ideal size and their athleticism is coveted by the Orange. Blair should be on commitment watch, though he may want to go home and discuss things with his family before deciding.
On Sunday, Jake Pickard will arrive for his first visit. Assistant coach Bobby Acosta has been developing a strong relationship with the three-star athlete, but he recently added offers from Oregon and Ohio State. Syracuse is still in this one, but it will be a tough battle.
Landing Duerig gives Syracuse a strong offensive line haul. Five priority targets from key pipeline areas before July is as efficient as it is impressive. Duerig is a boxer and throws shot-put in track, so he is plenty athletic. Another high upside player with good size as the Orange are building some quality depth in the trenches.