Georgia is what is referred to by head coach Scott Shafer as a strong secondary pipeline for Syracuse. While the priority is recruiting the northeast, with New York and New Jersey as the top two states, there need to be other options if prospects are missed or if there is a lack of talent in a given class.
The Peach State has been good to Syracuse over the last few cycles. They signed Kayton Samuels and Jonathan Thomas in 2014 as well as Alex Hayes in 2013. George Morris, Josh Parris and Cameron Lynch are among the players currently on the roster that hail from Georgia.
Cross is the second Georgia product to commit to Syracuse as part of their 2015 class, joining three-star safety Christopher Fredrick. While the Orange are not likely to add more targets from the state this cycle, it is important to continue to have Peach State players on the roster for future efforts.
Syracuse came into the 2015 cycle looking for help at defensive tackle. With the loss of Eric Crume, Ryan Sloan and Wayne Williams over the next seasons, as well as the questionable health of John Raymon, there is a need to replenish the talent at the position.
Anthony Giudice was already in the fold, and Cross gives the Orange two talented prospects up front. Giudice is more of a project as he needs to add weight to his frame and work on technique. Cross is a bit more polished with a frame that suggests earlier contributions.
National recruiting analyst Chad Simmons says Cross is quick off the ball, gets up the field, has good power at the point of attack and is disruptive when he fires out low. He views him as a solid player who looks to project as a three-star prospects when the rankings update.
Syracuse is not done at the position, however. Jamal Milan, a three-star defensive tackle out of Illinois, is still very much on the radar. Other targets along the defensive line include Austrian Robinson, Qaadir Sheppard and Jake Pickard.
Their may be room for all three. Robinson is looking to visit next month and Pickard wants to take a return trip within the same time frame. Pickard is likely to decide before the start of his senior season. Sheppard will decide in the same time frame.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
With 19 players committed, Syracuse only has six slots likely available. Three-star linebacker Troy Henderson could take one of those slots and he is set to decide on Friday between Syracuse and Rutgers. Beyond that, the plan is clear.
Fill the "Y" position with one slot. The top target is clearly Alex Parkinson. The Orange continue to recruit him hard and may look to make a move after the dead period. Backup plans to him are West Lindor out of Missouri and Tucker Sigle out of Alabama.
The rest of the class will focus on defense. One more defensive tackle slot is there, which will likely be saved for the aforementioned Jamal Milan. At defensive end, Pickard, Sheppard and Robinson (who could also play tackle) are very much in the mix.
Another linebacker is also likely, with players like Kyle Pugh, Doyle Grimes and Anthony McKee still on the radar. Jordan Fox is also still in the mix, but may be tough to pull from Stanford where he has family connections. The Orange are in his top five, however. McKee may be a long shot, but Syracuse is working to get him on campus within the next month and a half.
Also still of note is defensive back Daivon Ellison. Syracuse is still pursuing the Garden State prospect, who could decide in August.
Cross' commitment was a surprise of sorts. Despite being under the radar, he is a nice get for Syracuse who identified a talented prospect and moved to received a verbal commitment. The Orange are on a roll and filling up the class much earlier than normal.