When CuseNation.com spoke with head coach Scott Shafer last month, he indicated it was imperative that Syracuse is successful recruiting in the northeast. While New York and New Jersey are the first two states that most discuss with the Orange, recruiting New England well is equally as important.
The region is generally not as potent regarding producing division one talent year in and year out as other nationally recognized states such as Florida, Ohio and others. However, there are always players in the region each cycle. Syracuse is looking to establish themselves as the primary option for New England's most talented prospects.
In the 2015 class, Syracuse is now up to four players from the region. Shy Cullen joins Connecticut products Evan Adams, Anthony Giudice and Brandon Ginnetti. Cullen is the first player from Massachusetts this cycle.
Other 2015 targets such as Brandon Feamster are still on the radar, but the main focus in the region will be for the 2016 class. Koby Quansah and Isaiah Wright are two players from Connecticut who already have offers. Offensive tackle Sean Ragan is also on the radar for 2016 from Massachusetts.
There are four linebacker slots available in this class. Cullen fills a need and takes one of the spots. His commitment leaves three spots left. With the turnover coming in future years, it is a key position even with the influx of talent coming in with the 2014 class.
Cullen gives Syracuse a player they view as an elite level athlete. One source called him a "freak" based on his camp performance on Saturday which led to the Orange pushing for a commitment.
Cullen gets Syracuse off to a nice start and adds to the talent they added last cycle. Quietly, the Orange are building a talented, athletic and fast linebacking corps. Head coach Scott Shafer loves linebackers and indicated when he took the job that Syracuse needed more depth there. They have done a great job at putting that plan into action.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
The weekend was busy for Syracuse, who also hosted priority safety Marquise Blair. The visit went get well for Blair, and the Orange are now on top. There could be some movement there within the next week.
The weekend isn't over yet, however. Three-star Jake Pickard is visiting on Sunday. He recently added offers from Oregon and Ohio State. It may be tough for the Orange, but they are closer to home and have been recruiting him longer. Sunday is a big opportunity to make an impression as a serious player in his recruitment.
Kyle Pugh and Jamal Milan visited on Thursday, and both visits went very well. Pugh said he could see himself playing at Syracuse and Milan said it opened his eyes to the Orange. Both are top priorities for Syracuse, Milan being the top defensive tackle on their board.
The rest of the class will be defensive focused. The tight end position will still be addressed with one slot. Alex Parkinson is the top target, and recently Alabama product Tucker Sigle has jumped onto the radar. Linebackers and defensive backs will be the main focus after that, with defensive ends Qaadir Sheppard and Austrian Robinson also as big priorities.
Sheppard is a more realistic option as Robinson seems to like other schools.
Sawyer Dawson, who visitors Syracuse on Friday, remains a priority. He will visit Purdue and Toledo this coming week. A decision could come after that. The Orange currently lead for his services as well.
Cullen is a talented linebacker who starts Syracuse's linebacker haul off nicely. Especially after missing on Mohamed Barry, Cullen gives Orange fans good news and talent at the position. He is a nice get for Syracuse.