Syracuse football finished the 2011 season on a five-game skid after a strong 5-2 start, epitomized by a demolition of then No. 11 West Virginia on National television.
The 2012 class saw a spark in recruiting when the team was 5-2, landing four-star TE Ron Thompson – but the 2013 prospects wouldn’t bite.
Then they didn’t bite through the rest of the season, and into the New Year.
As National Signing Day approached, when several underclassmen tend to begin to make decisions, SU was still commit-less. March and April followed suit, and fans began to wonder….
Casual bets turned into a slight panic as May entered its second week.
Then, with Nathaniel Hackett catching a high school practice in South Florida, a familiar name provided a Cuse Nation-sized sigh of relief.
A week ago today, on May 15, three-star TE Tyler Provo gave his verbal commitment to Syracuse in what truly become a move that “got the ball rolling” for the program.
“Some of my offers were wanting me to play more H-back and Syracuse has me pretty much playing it all,” he said soon after committing. “That’s what I was pretty much going for. I want to play tight end, move around a lot and play some H-back – and I can do that at Syracuse. “
Soon after Provo went public to Hackett, defensive tackle Wayne Williams became the second Class of 2013 commit, hailing from the Junior College ranks of ASA in Brooklyn (N.Y.). He brings Empire State size and an even bigger sense of swagger and attitude to the class.
“They want to get the best NYC kids, they lost Ishaq (Williams), so the next best thing was me,” said Williams after admitting he was a silent commit even before Provo was. “Brandon Reddish, Ryan Sloan, Terrel Hunt and Wayne Morgan – I’ve got my brothers with me.
“We’re bringing the swagger back to swaggercuse.”
With a pair of prospects in the fold to get things going, the focus was shifted to the staffs’ glaring need for a quarterback as Ryan Nassib enters his final season. Three-star QB Connor Mitch, who was offered by SU, committed to South Carolina. On the 18th, four-star signal-caller Kevin Olsen committed to Miami. He also held an SU offer.
Top remaining local target Tim Boyle, an undeclared three-star from Connecticut, then picked up an offer from Florida that immediately piqued his interest – dampening the Orange’s chances of landing him.
Then came Austin Wilson, who pounced on SU’s relatively new interest in him en route to becoming the first quarterback pledge in the class after committing to Syracuse on Sunday. He made the call over an offer from Eastern Michigan and interest from select Big East schools.
"They are expecting big things of me,” said Wilson shortly after pledging Orange. “They want me to become the face of Syracuse football and to help with recruiting more quality players to Syracuse.
"I really couldn't find one negative thing about it and that was a big reason why I knew it was the right fit. I don't think any other school would have showed me as much love as they did.”
With three commits in place, and the concern at quarterback at least partially resolved for the group, the focus again turns to play-making. Syracuse seems to have landed big help in that department, though the move is still not official.
Quinta Funderburk, who recently successfully requested a transfer from Arkansas, has been rumored to have made the decision to enroll at Syracuse. His high school coach (Oscar Smith High’s Richard Morgan) has been the only person close to him to say it publically as both Funderburk and his mother, Karen Moore, maintain their silence from the media – neither confirming nor denying the reports.
If the transfer follows suit, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Funderburk provides instant help at a position of need in 2013 after seniors Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales depart.
No matter what becomes of Funderburk’s situation, Syracuse certainly got off the schnide in a major way over the last seven days to jump-start the possibilities in the Class of 2013.
Will the next seven even remotely duplicate the success?