Recruiting Impact: Sam Heckel

How does Sam Heckel committing to Syracuse impact their recruiting efforts going forward? members have the inside scoop.

Syracuse picked up their third offensive line commitment in the 2016 class in three-star Waukesha (Wisc.) West guard Sam Heckel.

Regional Impact

Wisconsin is not a typical pipeline state for Syracuse, despite their strong efforts and ties in the Midwest. Those efforts are focused mainly on Ohio and Illinois with the occasional dip into Michigan. With Heckel, they were able to land a kid in Wisconsin with power five offers, a solid recruiting win for the Orange.

This does not mean that the flood gates will open in the state, however. Syracuse will continue to stick to their key areas such as New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, New England, Florida, Georgia and others.

What Heckel does bring is more credibility in the Midwest. Players in the area know who Heckel is from camps, combines and other such events. Landing a talented three-star prospect from the region only helps bring credibility to their recruiting efforts there.

Heckel can also make a bit of a statement nationally. He is the third player with some solid offers that is highly ranked at his position to choose Syracuse joining quarterback Rex Culpepper and running back Robert Washington. Both will no doubt be thrilled with the addition of another talented lineman.

If Syracuse can continue to land players that have reputations as being nice gets, it only helps the Orange when recruiting other highly touted prospects. It lends credibility to their efforts on the recruiting trail.

Positional Impact

Scout projects Heckel as a guard, but one of the big reasons Syracuse likes him is because of his versatility. At 6-foot-5, he has the size and length to play guard or tackle at the next level. That means wherever Syracuse needs depth and competition, he can fill in.

Heckel also possesses strong athleticism and footwork for an offensive lineman, similar traits to the other two pledges in the class, Cam DeGeorge and Noel Brouse. They join five such players in the 2015 class to give Syracuse a nice haul over the last two cycles.

The question going forward is does Syracuse have any room left for yet another offensive lineman? The answer is a little murky. They really like guard Chase Behrndt and tackle Patrick Kearns. Both could be deciding by the end of summer.

Behrndt has yet to visit, but hopes to next month. Should he take that trip, it is a signal that Syracuse is still willing to take him. If he does not, he will head elsewhere, likely to Kansas.

Kearns has already visited Syracuse during the spring. He is very high on the Orange and wants to decide by the end of summer. Again, Syracuse really likes him, they will just have to decide if they can bring in a fourth offensive lineman this class.

If Syracuse does, Kearns is the most realistic choice. As of now, it appears Syracuse is set along the offensive line, but those are the only two names in play for the foreseeable future.

Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?

The linebacker position is still working itself out. Dymelle Parker is the clear top target. Colby Reeder, however, is still very much in play. The Orange will likely take both. Reeder could be deciding within the next few days while Parker may take a little bit longer.

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. Unfortunately for Syracuse, Hawkins then told our Brian Dohn that he will announce on Friday among four finalists, of which Syracuse was not one.

Burrell is still very much in play, however, though he has several more visits to take this summer.

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. Rose already has, and is high on the Orange. Wisconsin seems to be the biggest threat there.

Final Thoughts

Syracuse did a very nice job making a move for Heckel once his previous favorite, Northwestern, had no room for him in their class. Landing a top-50 player at his position is big for an offensive line that will be seeing significant turnover after this season. Heckel is now the third highest rated player for Syracuse in their 2016 class to date.

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