For Syracuse football, the 2015 recruiting cycle saw arguably the busiest summer in terms of commitments in the Scout era. By the end of June, they had well over a dozen commitments. A few of those did not end up signing with the Orange, but a vast majority did.
With a few of those prospects, notably West Lindor and Andrew Spence, both sides ended up partying ways for various reasons. The early pledges created a lot of drama with holding onto players, flips, and even Syracuse going in a different direction.
It was because of those reasons that Syracuse has been more selective in the 2016 cycle, staying patient and focusing on their top targets. The Orange want to make sure they do not miss on their most talented prospects and make sure they are getting the right players for the program.
Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer says the shift in philosophy was a combination of a concerted effort on their end as well as players being a little more patient than a year ago.
”I did want to pump the breaks a little bit because I felt like we had so many commits so early last year, which I was very happy with all those kids, but there were some outstanding things going on that made me feel strong about slowing it down this year a little bit,” Shafer said.
“Without talking about specific recruits right now, I can say the big picture, the overall picture, I feel really good about. I’m extremely excited for this next class.”
The philosophy change does not mean Syracuse is unwilling to take commitments at this time. It simply means they are being a little more picky on who’s early pledge they will accept. This could pay dividends down the road as they stay patient with their top targets.
A prime example is quarterback Rex Culpepper, who is set to visit next week. Early in the cycle, he was not on the radar of most who cover Syracuse recruiting. Fast forward to early June and is now one of their top targets at the position. Our sources indicate that would still be the case even if other quarterbacks with offers were still on the board.
The patient approach allowed that scenario to develop, and give Syracuse a chance to evaluate their prospects during the spring and create a clear cut priority list at each position.
Every cycle is different, and in 2017, Syracuse could shift back to the 2015 mantra of a plethora of early commitments. For now, though, coach Shafer has implemented a patient approach.