New Jersey is a state in which Syracuse has had recruiting success historically. In recent years, the Orange have fallen behind in the state. Rutgers had taken Syracuse's spot as one of the top options for talented prospects.
Enter new Syracuse tight ends coach Bobby Acosta. Hired in just a few months ago by head coach Scott Shafer, coach Acosta has led an Orange charge into the Garden State to reestablish the ties they once had. Kelly's commitment is the second tangible evidence of his efforts.
Kelly joins fellow three-star Dontae Strickland, a running back from South Brunswick High, in Syracuse's 2015 class. That gives them two of New Jersey's best this cycle. It's remarkable the strides Syracuse has made considering the short time frame Acosta has had to develop relationships with the players, their parents and coaches.
Landing Kelly makes another statement that Syracuse's efforts in New Jersey are real and paging dividends. It also has the ability to open the eyes of other top New Jersey prospects both in 2015 and beyond.
Syracuse came into the 2015 cycle looking to take two or three safeties. Landing Fredrick gives the Orange two three-star prospects at the position. Syracuse is losing Durell Eskridge, Ritchy Desir, Darius Kelly, Jaston George and Wayne Morgan over the next two seasons.
There is a significant need to reload the position. Especially with the recent news that Treevon Prater did not academically qualify. While not surprising, it puts more of an emphasis on the position this cycle.
Landing Kelly gives Syracuse three very talented safety prospects joining Marquise Blair and Christopher Fredrick. Each has committed within the last week. Kelly and Blair both are versatile enough to play linebacker as well.
Syracuse may still pursue Jazzee Stocker, a three-star safety from Pennsylvania. But their work at safety going forward will largely be geared towards holding on to their current haul.
The aforementioned Daivon Ellison can play corner or safety. He may figure into the mix at the position as well. The Orange are in a very good spot with the fellow Jersey target and friends of both Strickland and Kelly.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
The dead period starts on June 30th and ends July 13th. So it should be a quiet two weeks for Syracuse football recruiting. Given the flurry of activity in June (10 commitments during the month), it is a much needed rest for the coaching staff (and CuseNation.com writers).
After that, Syracuse will turn their focus to priority targets Jake Pickard, Qaadir Sheppard, Alex Parkinson, Austrian Robinson, Kyle Pugh and Jamal Milan. Linebacker Sawyer Dawson is also expected to make a decision soon. It could come during the dead period.
The work that Bobby Acosta has done over the last few months cannot be understated. Kelly caps off a huge June for Syracuse. He is a big get but the Orange will have to hang on as other schools are not likely to back off.