Syracuse Recruiting: Insider's Notebook

The latest insider Syracuse football recruiting information.

Signing day is less than two weeks away, and the flurry to finish out the class strong is underway across the country. Here’s the latest from the Syracuse side of things, with notes from the 2015 and 2016 class.

News & Notes

  • SYRACUSE HOSTING 10 COMMITS

There may not be any big names like last week’s official visit weekend, but hosting players who committed early can be just as important. Especially as poaching and flipping season is in full effect.

The Orange will have Tyler Cross, Anthony Giudice, Sterling Hofrichter, Christopher Fredrick, Cody Conway, Shyheim Cullen, Troy Henderson, Andrejas Duerig, Colin Byrne and Sam Clausman on campus this weekend.


  • JERSEY BOYS

Syracuse has two New Jersey prospects committed in the 2015 class in three star running back Dontae Strickland and three star corner Daivon Ellison. Middle linebacker Kyle Kleinberg is coming in as a preferred walk-on. But the Orange want more. They are in hot pursuit of defensive end Jake Pickard and safety Najee Clayton. Pickard is visiting Michigan this weekend, which will tell the tale of his recruitment. Clayton’s former high school coach was hired at Rutgers, which has him leaning in that direction.

So with Syracuse potentially looking at backup plans, don’t be surprised if they look towards the Garden State for some options. Specifically at safety and defensive end. A couple of intriguing safety options include Ryquell Armstead and john Robinson. Armstead is committed to Temple and Robinson to Connecticut. Both may be willing to look elsewhere for the chance to play in a bigger conference. Armstead may be the better option of the two, so keep an eye on him.


  • 2016 OFFERS GO OUT

While Syracuse was on the road over the past several days, they spent time evaluating 2016 prospects as well. They offered several talented prospects in different regions.

They include WR K.J. Gray, CB Craig Watts, C Connor McGovern, WR Kolton Huber, OL/DL Thomas Schaffer, WR/DB Gene Coleman, DT Daniel Joseph, and DT Mike Panasiuk.


  • VISITING PRIORITY 2016 PROSPECTS

In addition to handing out several offers over the last few days, Syracuse spend time visiting some of their top targets in the 2016 class. That includes four star offensive lineman Liam Smith and four star running back Robert Washington. Both are looking to get visit Syracuse in the spring or summer and have the Orange firmly in the mix of their recruitment.

With Syracuse making some headway with prized prospects including landing a four star in each of the last two classes, the Orange staff will shoot for even loftier heights next cycle. .


Trend Meter

Nate Howard, DE, Ladue (Mo.) Horton Watkins

Syracuse did everything they could during his official visit last weekend. They certainly gave Howard a lot to think about. There was some thought that he and Pickard wanted to play together at the collegiate level, both pledging to Wisconsin earlier in the cycle. Now, things appear to have changed for both sides. Howard, despite the strong push from Syracuse, may be leaning towards staying closer to home. Syracuse has moved up for Howard, but are still trailing Illinois here.

Jake Pickard, DE, Millburn (N.J.) High

Without the Michigan offer, Syracuse would be the favorite to land the three-star prospect’s services. However, the Wolverines have created even more drama in this situation. Pickard is visiting this weekend, and as national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn puts it, it would be a minor miracle if he leaves without committing. However, Michigan is also involved with some other talented defensive ends. If one or two of them commit, it could mean there is no room for Pickard. That may be Syracuse’s best hope. Though Michigan could view him as a tight end in that scenario. There is still some hope for the Orange, but things are trending in the wrong direction.

Najee Clayton, S, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic

Clayton officially visited Syracuse last weekend and the Orange appeared to be in a good spot. With only one other official on the scheduled, Syracuse was confident in where they stood. However, Rutgers hired his former Paramus Catholic head coach into their recruiting department, making the Scarlet Knights a heavy favorite. Syracuse looks to be on the outside looking in here.


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