Syracuse missing on the top player in New York over the last several cycles, dating back to the beginning of the Doug Marrone era, has been well documented. Despite that, the Orange has landed several players from their home state during that same timeframe.
One area that is starting to produce more division one talent, and Syracuse is taking notice, is Western New York. In 2016 alone, the Rochester area has produced Penn State commit Jake Zembiec, Notre Dame pledge Jamir Jones and now Syracuse verbal Taylor Riggins among other talented players.
Snagging Riggins shows those in the Rochester area that Syracuse is willing to go after the areas top players when it sees a good fit. They did, in fact, recruit both Zembiec and Jones at one time.
Riggins is the first Rochester area player to commit to Syracuse since Chauncey Scissum in the 2013 class. That means two entire cycles have passed without another player from the area choosing Syracuse. Riggins starts that trend back up again, and could help get the ball rolling there.
If Jamir Jones did not pick up an offer from, and subsequently commit to, Notre Dame, the addition of Riggins would have helped Syracuse in their efforts there. But Jones’ Irish pledge is pretty solid, and this should not have much of an impact unless the drop him.
Riggins is versatile enough to play multiple positions at the next level. He could play outside or inside linebacker, defensive end, tight end or even be a big running back. Syracuse, however, likes Riggins as a long, athletic linebacker who should fit well into their aggressive system.
What Riggins’ commitment does is limits the space available for other prospects going forward. Our sources indicate there is only one more slot available at linebacker, and it is a first come, first serve among several prospects.
The players in the mix for that last spot include Zachary Kastenhuber, Colby Reeder who visited Wednesday, Dymelle Parker and Brandon Simon. Kastenhuber receives his SAT score on Thursday, and depending on that score, will decide on Friday between several including some from the Ivy League. Syracuse is in a good spot there.
Parker is very high on Syracuse and there is the potential that he decides in the near future. Should he do that, the Orange would be among the favorites.
Reeder loved his visit to Syracuse and spoke very highly about the facilities, academics and coaching staff. The Orange seem to be in a very good spot and he wants to decide within the next two weeks.
The question is for each, if they want to commit to Syracuse, will there be a slot available? There is a scenario where they could take Simon as a defensive lineman and potentially take yet another linebacker if two want to jump in simply because they are talented players.
Most likely, however, Syracuse takes one of those players and adds to an already young, deep and talented linebacking corps.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
Syracuse will spend the next several days figuring out the situation at linebacker. Once that is done, Syracuse could slow play things a bit from a commitment standpoint. They are still evaluating a lot of targets that they want to see play during their senior season before they make a move.
Two of Syracuse’s most talented remaining targets, four-star wide receiver Brad Hawkins and three-star safety Eric Burrell, both trimmed their list and Syracuse made the cut. Expect Syracuse to continue to recruit each very hard going forward.
The situation with Devon Clarke is still intriguing. Syracuse seems to be a heavy favorite, yet a visit has not yet been scheduled. Could that sort itself out in the coming months? Clarke is one recruitment to keep an eye on for the rest of the summer.
Another position that could come into focus over the next couple of months is the tight end position. Syracuse has several talented targets on the list, most notably Albert Okwuegunam, Jay Rose and Sam Letton. Don’t be surprised if each visit before the summer is out.
Snagging Riggins from a short drive down the thruway is a nice get for Syracuse. They were very impressed during his camps performance a couple of weeks ago, and moved quickly to secure a commitment. Riggins has athleticism, length and versatility, all of which fit what the Orange are looking for on the defensive side of the ball. He should fit in very well with Scott Shafer’s defensive system.