There were rumblings that George McDonald had stopped recruiting for Syracuse since his demotion from offensive coordinator. He proved those rumors wrong when he helped the Orange land three-star Miami (Fla.) Central defensive end Keivonnis Davis.
The Florida pipeline has been good to Syracuse over the years. In recent history, they have developed one with Miami Central High School. That pipeline has produced several key contributors over the past few seasons. Marqez Hodge (2013), Durell Eskridge (2011) and Oliver Vigille (2011) have all committed to Syracuse out of Miami Central.
The Orange now have one more to add to that list in Keivonnis Davis.
His commitment means more than just a verbal pledge from a player at a key position. It means coach McDonald is still actively recruiting for Syracuse, which is important to their efforts in one of the most talented states in the country.
Defensive end was one of the biggest priorities for Syracuse entering the 2015 recruiting cycle. After this season, Micah Robinson, Robert Welsh and Trevon Trejo all graduate. After next season, Donnie Simmons also graduates while Isaiah Johnson will be a junior and Ron Thompson a senior.
While Syracuse had two other defensive ends committed in Brandon Ginnetti and Dana Levine, the Orange wanted more reinforcements to increase their depth at the position. Davis gives Syracuse another athletic linemen with power five offers and a high ceiling.
With Chris Slayton redshirting this season, there are multiple young options that give Syracuse pass rushing threats going forward. But they may not be done at defensive end in this class. The addition of Davis allows them to really focus on one or two priority targets at the position, knowing that if they don’t land one they still have plenty of depth.
Qaadir Sheppard has been a key target for Syracuse throughout the cycle and has an official visit scheduled for December 5th. While there is a chance they are done at DE, Sheppard’s visit will tell the tale. If he still makes the trip, the Orange are clearly still hot on his trail. If not, they are set barring a flip.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
December 5th is a key official visit weekend for Syracuse. Not only is it their chance to solidify Davis’ commitment, but Qaadir Sheppard, Trey Dunkelberger, Jonathan Crawford, Donovan Hale and Steven Clark are also visiting. Dunkelberger and Clark will both be on commitment alert.
The rest of the bye week will be spent on the recruiting trail. Tight ends coach Bobby Acosta visited Alex Parkinson, Will Fries and Nick Krimin. McDonald is in Florida. Offensive coordinator Tim Lester is in Oregon visiting quarterback prospect Eric Dungey. Defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough is visiting Steven Clark. Syracuse will absolutely take both Parkinson and Dunkelberger.
Long snapper Matt Keller is also on the radar. He has not been offered yet, despite other reports, but is definitely on the radar. With Sam Rodgers leaving, don’t be surprised if the Orange pursues him.
Beyond that, official visits will also take play in January, with the 23rd-25th being a key weekend.
The Davis commitment was a surprise, but shows that the recruiting momentum has continued for Syracuse despite a subpar season on the field. Adding an athletic defensive lineman is big for the Orange as they continue to add depth along both lines.