State of Recruiting: Pennsylvania

Breaking down Syracuse's recruiting efforts in the Keystone State. Could the Orange make it a bigger priority in 2016?

Syracuse has added players from the Keystone State in the last several cycles. The Orange could look to make Pennsylvania a bigger priority going forward if new recruiting coordinator Bobby Acosta puts a greater focus on the northeast.

2015 Rewind

Syracuse landed three players in the 2015 class from Pennsylvania. Junior college transfer tight end Trey Dunkelberger comes from a California junior college, but went to high school in Pennsylvania. He was an early enrollee who committed to Syracuse shortly after they started showing interest. He stuck with the Orange despite late interest from Florida State, Texas, USC and others.

Matt Keller is a long snapper who figures to snag the starting spot right away as senior captain Sam Rodgers left after exhausting his eligibility.

The big recruiting win in the high school ranks was three-star defensive end Amir Ealey. He held offers from Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia, West Virginia and others. Ealey is a freak athlete who could impact the defensive line rotation sooner rather than later.

Top 2016 Targets

There are two four-star players high on Syracuse’s board. One is tight end Naseir Upshur. He will be a tough one to snag as he has interest from many of college football’s elite, including Alabama. Syracuse will continue to recruit him and hope to get him on campus this spring.

The other is offensive tackle Connor McGovern. He is a talented offensive lineman with a lot of early offers and interest, including in state power Penn State. But he has been speaking with offensive line coach Joe Adam somewhat regularly, so do not be surprised if he takes a spring visit.

Defensive end Shaka Toney is an athletic player who Syracuse really likes. He’s another target that the Orange will continue to pursue.

Outside linebacker Rashawn Battle will force Syracuse to battle regional recruiting rivals Pittsburgh and Rutgers for his services. He is another athletic, high upside prospect that the Orange like.

Other Names To Monitor

Syracuse has offered three running backs in the Keystone State. Four-star Kaezon Pugh is not likely to be pursued hard, as the Orange have other backs higher on their board. Khaleke Hudson and Tyliek Raynor are three-star prospects with Orange offers as well.

An intriguing player here is tight end L.J. Wesneski. He camped at Syracuse last summer and the Orange liked what he brought to the table. If he were to camp once again, he could earn an offer with another strong performance.

Defensive tackle Anthony Long is a perfect fit for the Syracuse system. He is quick, athletic and strong. Quarterback Anthony Russo has a solid arm and is very smart. Safety Andrew Pryts has upside as well as a smart, strong, athletic type. All three are three-star prospects that could jump onto the Syracuse radar as the cycle progresses.

Also keep an eye on Rashad Wheeler. Tight end could be a positional focus this cycle, and is a very athletic one. Someone that should fit perfectly into Tim Lester’s new system from what we know at this point.

The Plan

Pennsylvania may never be what New York or New Jersey are for Syracuse in terms of a huge pipeline state. But the Orange will always be involved there. This cycle, Syracuse will look to snag a few players out of the state as it is a very deep class in 2016. The plan is to recruit the area hard, get players on campus, and try to make some headway in a regional, talent-rich state.


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