Linebacker Picture Coming Into Focus

The latest on where things stand at linebacker for Syracuse in the 2016 recruiting cycle.

The linebacker position is a critical one in every cycle for Syracuse, as head coach Scott Shafer puts a premium on quality depth at the position. Over the last two cycles, the Orange have signed seven linebackers.

In 2016, there are three slots available. One has already been filled, as Syracuse considers Will Harper a linebacker. Several targets have jumped off the board recently including Solomon Manning, Koby Quansah, Rashawn Battle and Chase Pine.

But there are still plenty of options for the Orange, many of which are visiting or deciding within the next week. Here are where things stand with each.

Dymelle Parker visited Syracuse on Saturday and is very high on the Orange. In fact, he put them in his top two. He has a strong relationship with Syracuse assistant Bobby Acosta and sees a very good fit within the Orange defense. While a return trip is not in the works necessarily, there is a chance he decides to jump aboard this week.

Syracuse is shying away from academic risks this cycle and spring transcripts will be critical for every Orange prospect going forward. Assuming Parker’s grades are in good order, don’t be surprised if Syracuse makes a push. Consider Syracuse the favorite here as of now.

Zachary Kastenhuber visited on Saturday as well and also has the Orange high on his list. He is set to decide on Friday, and a test score could be the most critical piece. If an SAT score that comes out on Thursday is high enough, the Ivy League schools on his list will be in consideration. If not, they will not be able to be considered.

Harvard seems like the school that would be the biggest threat to Syracuse. If the score is too low, the Orange are the likely choice. If it is high enough, it could go either way. Syracuse is still considered the favorite, for now.

Jamir Jones was supposed to camp at Syracuse last weekend, but was unable to make it as he felt under the weather. A return trip has not been rescheduled, and you have to wonder if that means Syracuse is on the outside of this recruitment.

Given the limited number of slots available and targets that could realistically choose Syracuse deciding soon, there may not be a spot for Jones after this weekend.

UPDATE: Jones has committed to Notre Dame.

Brandon Simon visited during the spring game and has been on Syracuse’s radar ever since. They extended an offer last month and are one of his top choices. He is coming off of an unofficial visit to Iowa, and is set to decide on Monday June 29th.

He returns to Syracuse on Saturday, which will give the Orange the last chance of any school on his list to make an impression. It would seem since Syracuse is getting the last visit, they are in a good spot. But watch out for Boston College here. The question for Syracuse is, will there be room if he waits until Monday?

There may not even be room by the time he visits on Saturday. At that point, would the Orange look at him as a defensive lineman? Stay tuned.

Taylor Riggins is a local product from right down the road in Rochester (N.Y.). He was offered during a recent camp, and the Orange love his athleticism and versatility. He impressed with his length, physicality, speed and athleticism during the camp, leading to the offer.

He returns to Syracuse on Thursday, June 25th and is on commitment watch. The Orange are his only offer to date and are the big in-state school. If Syracuse makes a push during his visit, he could jump in. But they could want to wait to see what happens with Kastenhuber and Simon and not pushg as hard during the visit.

Colby Reeder is a relatively new name to the Syracuse radar. Reeder is the brother of current Penn State freshman Troy Reeder. He is visiting on Friday, which could put Syracuse in an interest predicament. If Dymelle Parker or Taylor Riggins decide to commit before Friday, that would leave only one slot left.

Given the scenario with Kastenhuber outlined above, Reeder could try to commit during his visit while Kastenhuber is calling the coaches to do the same. In that scenario, what would the Orange do? Kastenhuber would likely be the choice in that situation, but it is not guaranteed. Let’s see if Syracuse makes a push for Reeder.

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