Recruiting Ripple: Moe Neal

The inside scoop on how Moe Neal's commitment impacts Syracuse recruiting going forward, including other targets that may be affected by his decision.

Syracuse picked up their 14th commitment in the 2016 class on Saturday in Gastonia (N.C.) Forestview athlete Moe Neal.

Regional Impact

Syracuse has not made North Carolina a big pipeline in the past, but it is proving to be fruitful in 2016 as the Orange establish themselves as a player there. The state routinely produces division one talent, and being the heart of ACC country, there is no reason they cannot recruit there for years to come.

Does that mean seven or eight players per cycle? No. But it’s about quality rather than quantity. Syracuse has two of the states best committed in four-star running back Robert Washington and three-star athlete Moe Neal. Washington is the third best at his position and Neal is the top player at his in the state.

Those two players have enough clout that it can help Syracuse continue to recruit the state well in the next few cycles with the relationships they have developed. But two names come to the forefront immediately after Neal made his decision official.

The first is 2016 three-star defensive tackle Christian Colon, who is currently committed to Penn State. He is one of three tackles currently committed to the Nittany Lions. Colon is close friends with both Washington and Neal. Neal admitted that he has already spoken to Colon about giving Syracuse another look.

“I’ve been talking to him about it,” Neal said. “Hopefully he changes his mind. But if he feels like that’s the home for him up at Penn State, I won’t try to persuade him because everybody’s got to do their own thing even though we’re boys and stuff.”

Don’t be surprised if Colon’s two friends are consistently in his ear about Syracuse. An official visit would not be a surprise.

The other is 2017 three-star cornerback Aapri Washington, who is the cousin of Robert Washington and is also friends with Moe Neal. Syracuse is already among those recruiting Aapri the hardest, and this only strengthens their position.

Positional Impact

The express back position, formerly called h-back, is one that is arguably the most intriguing on Tim Lester’s new offense. The main reason is because we have not seen it in game action, and there is some mystery surrounding it.

That said, it is important to have explosive athletes there, and that’s exactly what Moe Neal is. Combine him with Ervin Philips who is already on the roster and the speedy Darius Stubbs, and you have three dynamic playmakers that give the Syracuse offense a lot of potential.

Moe Neal seems to be made for this position. He runs great routes, has nice hands to pluck the ball out of the air, has wiggle with the ball in his hands in open space, and has the speed and quickness to make plays as a ball carrier.

Syracuse fans should be very excited about Neal’s potential as well as the future of the express back position. They are likely done recruiting express backs this cycle.

Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?

Saturday capped a busy week for Syracuse football recruiting with Neal marking the third commitment during that span. The focus now will undoubtedly shift to training camp and preparing for the 2015 season.

That does not mean the coaching staff ignores recruiting, however. Syracuse will focus on setting up official visits and honing in on their remaining top targets. Syracuse is working on scheduling an official with three-star safety Eric Burrell. They are targeting sometime in December as a potential date.

They are also working on getting Jay Rose back on campus, potentially before he announces his decision. The three-star tight end wants to decide before his senior season starts in early September.

Final Thoughts

Moe Neal is a huge pickup. Arguably as big as any in the class. He fits a critical position perfectly and gives Syracuse a dynamic offensive playmaker. The Syracuse coaching staff and assistant DeAndre Smith should be given a lot of credit for this recruiting win.


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