By all accounts, National Signing Day was relatively successful for the Orange. It racked up 23 signees to add to the two previous signees the Orange had, bringing the total commitments to 25. All you need to do to see how well SU did is check out our signing day thread from yesterday. But with all that happened, what were the big wins and the big losses for the Cuse?
Jake Pickard, DL, NJ: Pickard is a three-star recruit and is important for multiple reasons. First, he comes from New Jersey, an area the Orange is trying to get back into and make a big impact recruiting from the state. Pickard is also important because of who the Orange had to beat out to get him. Of course, Pickard left Wisconsin after coach Gary Andersen left for Oregon State. When he reopened his recruitment, Pickard was considering Wisconsin, Michigan and Syracuse. So, SU beat out some “big-dog” programs in Wisconsin, a team that perennially wins its division in the Big 10, and Michigan, a program re-energized by the arrival of Jim Harbaugh. That makes Pickard a win for SU.
Steven Clark, DL, Alabama: Clark became a big pickup for SU. He had originally verbally committed to Syracuse in mid-December. However, Clark was recently pursued by both Florida and Ole Miss, two big-time SEC teams. After decommitting earlier in January, Clark stuck to his original commitment and decided to sign with SU. This became a big sign for Coach Shafer and the Orange because they ultimately beat out both Ole Miss and Florida for the right to keep Clark.
Doyle Grimes, LB, Florida: Grimes is a kid who was recruited by George McDonald and decided to head elsewhere after the Cuse and McDonald parted ways following the season. Grimes signed with Marshall, yesterday. Nothing against Marshall, but Syracuse is clearly at another level of college football when it comes to competition and exposure. For the Orange, Grimes can be seen as the “one that got away” today when it comes to the recruits.
Gerald “Bubba” Robinson, DB, Florida: Robinson was another one of McDonald’s targets that the Orange simply lost when McDonald was demoted. Robinson had originally indicated that Utah was at the top of his list. But today, he signed with Florida Atlantic University. This is another school that, on paper, Syracuse beats in almost every category a recruit looks at. For Robinson, there is one big factor that FAU holds, it is very close to home, whereas Utah and Syracuse aren’t. Then again, if Syracuse didn’t stay in touch, it doesn’t matter how far it is from home.
Posted: Seth Goldberg