Syracuse does not venture out to the west coast very often in recruiting. Nor has the Scott Shafer staff pursued junior college prospects as part of their normal strategy. That makes the recruitment of Dunkelberger the exception not the rule. But when there is a player at a position of need that is viewed as talented enough to make an impact on the program, you pursue that player.
That’s exactly what Syracuse did with Dunkelberger. They moved fast after identifying his talent. An offer came shortly thereafter and he decided to commit despite not seeing the campus in person yet.
Dunkelberger’s commitment won’t likely have a big impact on their recruitment, but if he has success, it may help if Syracuse decides to venture out that direction in the future. It may also impact other junior college prospects if Syracuse decides to go that route in the future.
Sometime after Tim Lester took over as offensive coordinator, the recruiting plan for the tight end position changed. Originally, there was one slot available. The player they were recruiting was a wide receiver/tight end hybrid that would do a lot of damage in the slot as opposed to the traditional type of tight end.
Now, there appear to be two slots available, and the need is for a mix of traditional types and hybrids that can become more traditional as they develop. That’s where Dunkelberger fits in. He can play both roles, which gives him a lot of versatility within Lester’s offense.
Dunkelberger is a big, physical presence who can run like a receiver as well. After playing a year at the junior college level, he should be a bit more ready to contribute than a high school prospect.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
With Dunkelberger in the fold, what does Syracuse do at tight end going forward? As we’ve said in our premium forum, the situation with West Lindor is interesting. He says the staff has not been in touch with him since September, which sounds very similar to Gerald Robinson. Robinson decommitted from Syracuse recently, citing similar circumstances.
Assuming Lindor decommits as well, that leaves another open slot for the tight end position. Alex Parkinson would be the top target for Syracuse. The Orange have gotten back in touch with the three-star in-state talent recently and are pursuing him as hard as any school.
December 5th is a key official visit weekend for Syracuse. Not only is it their chance to solidify DE Keivonnis Davis’ commitment, but DE Qaadir Sheppard, new commit Trey Dunkelberger, safety Jonathan Crawford, athlete Donovan Hale, former Syracuse commit and current Marshall pledge Doyle Grimes, JUCO OT Calvin Steyn and DT Steven Clark are also visiting. Grimes and Clark will both be on high commitment alert.
Not yet scheduled are official visits for Alex Parkinson and Spencer Tears. Both have indicated that they are looking at that same December 5th weekend, but are trying to see if that works for them.
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 place in January, with the 23rd-25th being a key weekend. Commits Dontae Strickland and Daivon Ellison have already stated that is the weekend they will take their official visits. Andrew Spence will do the same.
Dunkelberger gives a bit of evidence to the direction of Tim Lester’s new offense. The use of tight ends will be featured much more prominently than in the current offense. That was attractive to the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Dunkelberger, who will have three years to play three. He is a big get for the Orange, with Clemson, Louisville and Purdue also after the talented tight end.