With Ron Thompson officially declaring for the NFL Draft, the defensive end position becomes even more precarious for Syracuse entering the 2016 season. Assuming Jake Pickard returns, there are three young and talented players who should contribute. The problem is that both Amir Ealey and Qaadir Sheppard, the favorites to start next year, are both suspended currently and look to be out for a few games in 2016 as well.
That means recruiting players that are ready to contribute is important. Junior college defensive ends are not currently expected to be on the radar based on our information, but there talented high school prospects in the mix.
Total Slots in 2016: 3-4
Currently Committed: Jamal Holloway (Camden, N.J.)
Joshua Black is currently committed to Illinois, but has an official visit set up to Syracuse. He had an in-home visit with the Orange coaches prior to the dead priod and is looking for to his official. He is very much on flip alert and would be a really nice get for the new staff.
Joshua Uche seems to be between Alabama, Florida and Miami. Syracuse is on the outside. There is still time to make up ground, but the 'Canes will be hard to beat here.
Drew Beesley is a former Bowling Green commit who reopened his recruitment when the new staff took over at Syracuse. Beesley is high on the Orange, has a great relationship with the coaches and is looking forward to his official. He says he will three officials before deciding, with the other two being to Central Michigan and Toledo. More on Beesley HERE.
Collin Miller was offered by the old staff and was supposed to take an official in early December. That did not happen due to the coaching change, and it is unclear if the new staff has reached out. He is from a primary recruiting area and is a talented prospect. It would make sense that he would be on the radar, but he has not responded to attempted correspondence.
Amir Watts is another talented prospect from a key recruiting pipeline. However, he has yet to hear from the new staff and is not expected to be on the radar going forward. Part of that may be due to the fact that Watts size may mean he is best suited for defensive tackle at the next level, similar to Chris Slayton.
Eric Mitchell is a former Florida Gators commit who reopened things about a week ago. It would not be surprising if Syracuse made contact given that he is from Florida and has the body type to be able to contribute early in his career.
Charles Callender is a Yale commit who had some big offers early. Those seemed to fade, but his talent is there as a three-star prospect. Given the staff's propensity for flipping players committed elsewhere, Callender is someone to monitor.
Evan Hinson has a long frame and a lot of athleticism. Combine that with quickness off the edge and you have a prospect that is coveted by many. Hinson recently decommitted from Miami for football to pursue basketball recruiting options. Could Syracuse change his mind? An interesting option to monitor.
Jamal Smith had Oregon State and Pittsburgh as his top two schools entering the season. Those offers may not be committable at this point, and he seems very high on Central Florida, who just offered recently. He has an official visit to UCF set up for the weekend of January 15th. Smith had an offer from Bowling Green when the Syracuse staff was running the show there. The Orange have ample opportunity to get seriously involved.
Jeremiah Tyler is a three-star defensive end from the Detroit (Mich.) area. He currently only holds MAC offers, and one from Syracuse could completely change his recruitment. He is a bit slender at only 205-pounds, but has the frame at 6-foot-3 to add weight. The only issue is he would not likely be ready to contribute immediately.