SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It happens every cycle. The flipping game. Top-tier power five programs try to poach commits from other power five schools. Power five schools try to flip commits from non-power five programs. Recruiting can be a roller coaster ride without question. Just ask any football coach, who live and die based on the decisions of teenagers.
It has already happened to Syracuse in 2017. Quarterback commit Tommy DeVito has been wooed by Texas A&M and Ole Miss. He declined both opportunities, but it is an example of how things work. Especially when you land talented players.
There is no doubt that the same will happen in the four to five weeks leading up to National Signing Day. Other schools who miss on their top targets will look towards commits to other programs as options to replace lost recruiting battles or round out their class.
Syracuse's 2017 class is a quality one to date. They have landed talented players from talent-rich areas. Players with speed and athleticism that fit their system. There have already been rumblings of schools trying to pry some of them from the Orange.
It is for those reasons, and for programs that will try to make a push in the coming weeks as other scenarios play out, that Syracuse continuing to recruit those players who have already committed is of critical importance.
The Orange have been doing just that and will continue to do so. It helps that Syracuse has 22 players in their class with only a few spots remaining. It allows the coaches to focus on retention without the need to fill most of the class.
At this stage of the cycle, retention is often as important as addition. Keeping the players that you've spent so much time and effort to get to commit in the first place. Flips late in the game can cause an undesirable ripple effect.
It means you have to go to secondary options that are not committed, or try to flip a player of your own. Regardless, you are replacing a player you really like with someone you had ranked below that player in the vast majority of cases.
It may be even more important for Syracuse this cycle than in most cycles in recent years. Head coach Dino Babers is trying to lay the foundation at SU. The best way to do that is by getting the players you want. The ones you target as fitting what you do on both sides of the ball while shoring up weaknesses and developing depth within the roster.
Syracuse has done that with their 2017 class, but must work diligently to keep the players who have given their verbal to the Orange. The good news is, a few of their highly regarded pledges are official. Junior college linebacker Ryan Guthrie and junior college tight end Ravian Pierce have both signed with SU.
So over the coming weeks as Syracuse has huge official visit weekends, the commits visiting are just as, if not more, important as the uncommitted targets that will be on campus.