Signing day is right around the corner, so it’s a perfect time of year to look back at some recent recruiting cycles. Syracuse had had their ups and downs in terms of national rankings, with some highly touted prospects in the mix over the years as well.
CuseNation.com takes a look at the top prospect in each of Syracuse’s last 10 classes and labels them a “Hit” or “Miss” based on their on-field career with the Orange.
MISS: LaVar Lobdell was a highly touted receiver out of Christian Brother’s Academy in Syracuse. He chose the Orange over offers from USC, Miami, and several others. But he never put it together on the field. During his four year career, he totaled 36 catches for 386-yards and only one touchdown. While Lobdell is a great ambassador of the program and by all accounts a great guy, his on the field production was a disappointment compared to his high school accolades.
MISS: Andrey Baskin was another stud receiver that chose Syracuse out of high school. Ranked the 25th best player in the 2006 class, Baskin had to go to prep school for a semester after not qualifying academically. After choosing Syracuse again, he ended up never making it to campus.
MISS: Jermaine Pierce was another highly touted stud recruit that chose Syracuse over a host of elite programs. Unfortunately for both sides, it was discovered that Pierce had a life threatening blood-clotting issues that forced him to give up football for good. He never played at Syracuse but the Orange honored his scholarship despite the medical issue.
MISS: Averin Collier was a Rochester (N.Y.) four-star running back who was supposed to bring the position back to national prominence on The Hill. He showed flashes during the 2009 season when he averaged 6.8 yards per carry on just 12 attempts with two touchdowns. But before the next season began, he was dismissed from the team by head coach Doug Marrone.
MISS: Andy Phillips was a three-star local offensive lineman from CBA. He never saw significant action, however, only playing on special teams before leaving the program prior to his final season of eligibility.
MISS: Malcolm Cater showed a lot of promise early in his career. He was a highly touted regional prospect who could run and hit with the best of them. But he had legal trouble after stealing property from starting quarterback Ryan Nassib and was kicked off of the team. A disappointing end to a promising career.
HIT: Rob Trudo was the highest ranked player in Syracuse’s talented 2011 class that included several contributors. Trudo is a multi-year starter along the offensive line and is going into his senior season in 2015. Trudo has developed into a strong interior offensive lineman who can be counted on by the Syracuse coaches. He was a nice get who panned out.
HIT: Ron Thompson came to Syracuse as a four-star tight end prospect. He certainly has not developed into an offensive weapon, but that is because he was moved to the defensive side of the ball. As a defensive end, his athleticism has served him well. He was Syracuse’s best pure pass rusher in 2014 and is poised for a breakout season in 2015.
HIT: Marqez Hodge was an unknown when he chose Syracuse, but his film quickly impressed and he shot up the rankings to become a solid three star prospect. Two years into his career, he has already been a steady contributor. While he did not quite breakout in 2014 as expected, he will be a primary starter this season. Look for him to turn some of those flashes into more consistent production.
MISS: K.J. Williams was the lone four star in the 2014 class but never made it to campus. The cousin of current quarterback A.J. Long failed to qualify academically and Syracuse did not recruit him hard this cycle as he left prep school prematurely. He will not attend junior college to try to turn things around. It remains to be seen if the Orange will become interested once again.