Syracuse landed its 22nd commitment in the 2015 class when Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward linebacker Troy Henderson pledged Orange on Tuesday.
The Syracuse staff has all sorts of ties to Ohio. Clark Lea coached at Bowling Green and head coach Scott Shafer was born and raised in the Buckeye State. Syracuse did not turn those ties into recruiting results in the 2014 class without a single Ohio prospect joining the Orange.
However, Henderson makes two highly rated players from the state this cycle. He joins three-star safety Marquise Blair as Ohio prospects who have verbally committed to Syracuse.
As the Orange continue to make headway in the Midwest, Ohio could be an important pipeline. While Illinois will still be the more prosperous state for Syracuse, Ohio is still key to their efforts in the region.
Two to three prospects per cycle is a reasonable average. They aren’t likely to pursue any for this class, but should look to make another push in 2016.
Syracuse came into the 2015 cycle looking for four linebackers. Henderson gives the Orange three of those four slots filled with talented players. With the turnover coming in future years, it is a key position even with the influx of talent coming in with the 2014 class.
Luke Arciniega, Dyshawn Davis, Cameron Lynch, Josh Kirkland and Oliver Vigille are among those that will be using up their eligibility. Despite landing four in the previous class, it was still a key position as the Orange look to replace talent and depth on the roster.
Henderson gives Syracuse another athletic linebacker who can run. That skill set fits perfectly into their system as he has the ability to do damage blitzing and in run support. Henderson visited during the spring game, but the Orange appeared to have him as a backup plan. Once Sawyer Dawson committed to Purdue, Henderson become a priority once again.
Still left on the radar are Kyle Pugh and four-star Anthony McKeey. Pugh visited Syracuse in June and the Orange are his biggest offer. He has yet to make a decision, and wants to take all five officials before committing.
McKee is a four-star prospect who may be considered a long shot for Syracuse. Still, expect them to pursue McKee as he looks to take a potential visit this month. Nothing has been scheduled yet, but anyone who visits gives Syracuse a shot.
If Syracuse is unwilling to wait for either, don’t be surprised if a prospect like Doug Salter jumps onto the radar.
Where Does Syracuse Go From Here?
There are only about five slots left in this class. The immediate attention turns to Jake Pickard, a three-star athlete who will visit for the second time on the 22nd of this month. The Orange are recruiting him hard, but visits to Wisconsin, Virginia and Oregon are on the schedule as well.
The likely breakout of the five remaining slots will be two defensive ends, one linebacker, one defensive tackle and one defensive back. Priority targets at defensive end include the aforementioned Pickard as well as New York State prospects Qaadir Sheppard and Austrian Robinson.
At defensive tackle, the clear top target is Jamal Milan who visited before the dead period. He had a great trip, but appears to be taking his recruitment a bit slower than others. The plan for Milan as of now is to take his official visits before deciding. Syracuse will definitely receive one of those visits.
At defensive back, Daivon Ellison is the main guy. He had a great visit in June but wait until August to decide. Originally he indicated he wanted to announce on his mom’s birthday (August 11th) and that appears to be current time frame.
Henderson is a big get for Syracuse. He is the third linebacker and perhaps the most talented of the group so far. His pledge over Rutgers, Nebraska and Cincinnati shows the job the staff is doing developing relationships.
CuseNation.com breaks down the recruiting impact of landing three-star linebacker Troy Henderson.