The Midwest, including Chicago, Detroit, Ohio and Wisconsin, were areas that new head coach Dino Babers would target in his staff's recruiting efforts. Yes the Northeast is critical and yes they will dip into talent-rich Florida, but this staff has its base in the Midwest from previous stops.
They utilized those relationships to snag an early commitment in their tenure. Servais was offered by the staff when they were with Bowling Green and extended that offer as Syracuse's new coaches. What this shows is their ability to identify guys they want and make a quick move.
Within Wisconsin, the old staff did not venture into the state often. They did on occasion, even landing three-star guard Sam Heckel. Heckel's commitment has been firmed after speaking with the new staff, and he now has a fellow Wisconsin offensive lineman joining him.
Expect this to be a trend with Syracuse venturing into Wisconsin more than in previous years. The new staff has a lot of ties in the state and relationships with high school coaches from their Bowling Green days. There is enough talent there that it is worth their while to continue utilizing it as a pipeline.
Co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis is responsible for the state on the new staff and should continue to make an impact there.
This is where things get very interesting. Syracuse had two previous offensive tackle commitments when the new staff took over in Cam DeGeorge and Noel Brouse. A third offensive tackle after the 2015 haul and the shape of the current roster may be a little crowded at tackle. That will result in one of three scenarios.
Scenario one: The Babers' staff is not high on DeGeorge and/or Brouse and is looking to replace them. Remember, Syracuse is still talking to four-star offensive tackle Sean Foster, who recently decommitted from Minnesota. Now Foster is talented enough that if he wanted to jump in, you can't say no regardless of the numbers. You make that work.
But the fact that neither DeGeorge nor Brouse has heard from the new staff as of late Tuesday night is concerning for their pledges. DeGeorge was contacted by Mark Coyle's office during the coaching search, so there is some hope on that front. Still, it is possible that Servais is a replacement for one of those two guys.
Scenario two: The new staff likes DeGeorge and Brouse, but wants to move them inside. Maybe they view either as more of a guard or center prospect, giving them a need at tackle. That is where Servais came into play. I could see that with either, actually. DeGeorge is athletic enough that he should be able to play anywhere along the line, if needed.
Scenario three: The staff likes DeGeorge and Brouse at tackle, but wants to add more depth to the position after reviewing the roster. Every coaching staff has ideal numbers that they like at each position. Shafer's staff had theirs and Babers' staff has theirs. This could simply be a position where the new staff prefers to have a plethora of offensive linemen available because of their system.
Regardless, Servais adds size, length and athleticism to a position that requires all three. He is a high upside prospect that may need a year to redshirt, transform his body and perfect technique. But after watching his highlight tape, you can see why Syracuse likes him as much as they do.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
The new coaches will continue to hit the recruiting trail hard in advance of the dead period, which starts on December 14th and runs through January 13th. During this time, no face-to-face contact is allowed, but social media and telephone communication is. That is why hitting the road this week is so critical.
On Thursday, Syracuse will visit four-star running back Kentrail Moran. Also this week, they will visit four-star offensive tackle Sean Foster. This is in addition to checking out prospects committed elsewhere, such as Kentucky pledge and three-star tight end Dakota Holtzclaw. New names should also pop up over the next few days as a result of their travels.
This commitment was a bit of a surprise. Not that the new Syracuse staff snagged one as early as they did, but rather someone as far off the radar as Servais was. Going forward, this may become the norm. With such a short amount of time until National Signing Day, this staff does not have time to waste.
In the 2017 class and beyond, we should have a better feel for how they will proceed. But for now, landing Servais is a nice way to start their tenure with the Orange.