The middle of the defensive line is important to any defense. Defensive tackles can generate pressure to push the pocket back into the face of the quarterback as well as stifle the running game between the tackles. That is why Syracuse has put such a premium on the position in recruiting.
Syracuse came into the cycle looking to take two or three defensive tackles. They already have two committed, leaving one slot available.
Syracuse has landed two defensive tackles in Anthony Giudice and Tyler Cross. Giudice is a smaller prospect with the frame to add weight in order to be the ideal size to play in the trenches. He plays very hard and has a relentless motor.
Cross is built like more of a traditional defensive tackle. He is a tad short, but has a strong first step and plays with great pad level. Cross has the ability to blow up with a strong senior season.
The big fish left on the board is three-star Jamal Milan from Chicago (Ill.). He visited Syracuse in June, and came away very impressed. But other schools are hot on his trail. Maryland and Indiana appear to be the biggest threats, but Minnesota and Iowa State are also involved.
Syracuse can win battles against those programs, but will have to continue to recruit Milan hard. Expect them to do so in order to land a player they view as one of the best on their board in 2015 regardless of position.
Names to Keep an Eye On
Wes Annan is the main guy to keep an eye on here. However, he says Syracuse has not been in touch for some time. That speaks to their confidence in landing Milan. However, if Syracuse were to miss on Milan, they could get back involved with Annan.
Given that Annan has not committed, nor does he appear close to a decision, they could make a push for him late.
Another name to monitor is Rutgers commit Kamaal Seymour. Syracuse could try to make a push for a flip if things don’t work out with Milan. David Ryslik is another. He has a good relationship with Bobby Acosta, and could be a late grab if Syracuse needs a defensive tackle.
There is only one dream scenario for Syracuse, and that’s grabbing Jamal Milan. That is a realistic one as well, as Syracuse made a big impression during his unofficial. Milan has committed to taking an official with Syracuse, which could be the deciding factor.
Realistic Positive Scenario
Milan decides to go elsewhere during his round of official visits. Syracuse turns to Kamaal Seymour and puts on the full-court press. They are able to flip Seymour much to the delight of Orange fans.
Realistic Negative Scenario
After Syracuse misses on Milan and fails to slip Seymour, they turn their attention to Wes Annan and David Ryslik. They are able to land one of the two to fill up their final slot.
Syracuse misses on Milan, Seymour, Annan and Ryslik. They are forced to look to other options. The JUCO ranks could be hit to find the last defensive tackle. Much like the 2014 cycle, Syracuse could look at options not previously on the radar to add talent to the roster.
Syracuse has a lot of confidence in where they stand with Milan. Worst-case scenario, Ryslik or Annan should be in play regardless. There is also the possibility that, if Syracuse misses on Milan and the others, they do not take a third defensive tackle this class.