Dino Babers and company continue to load up on promising skill-position players in the Class of 2017. On Saturday, three-star running back Markenzy Pierre flipped his commitment from Western Kentucky to Syracuse.
Pierre pledged to the Hilltoppers in early July, but the Orange recently swooped in and displayed increased interest after initially contacting the Florida native in the spring.
Pierre, the No. 103 running back in 247sports.com’s class rankings, can fill a void in the SU offense. His measurables vary from site-to-site, but he’s generally listed at 5-foot-11 or 6-feet, and checks in between 200 and 218 pounds. If Pierre truly does tip the scales toward the upper end of that weight range, he’ll provide Syracuse will something it currently lacks: a downhill, power runner. Jordan Fredericks, who is listed at 209 pounds, is the heaviest back on the Orange’s 2016 roster — but he isn’t a true north-south grinder, and has been almost completely phased out of the offense after leading the team in carries as a freshman.
Pierre told Syracuse.com that SU running backs coach Mike Hart emphasized that potential immediate role in Babers’ dynamic offense.
“[Hart] let me know that the coaches’ favorite play is power and the backs they have right now aren’t physically able to run the ball downhill,” Pierre said. “He liked that I have the size and natural strength that none of the guys he has now do.”
In Pierre’s highlight video, he looks like a freight train, consistently bulldozing defenders as if they don’t exist. At one point, the Liberty H.S. product stiff-arms his own teammate; if you get in his general vicinity, there’s a good chance you’ll end up on the ground. Pierre also exhibits a strong ability to catch the football, and sometimes lines up at wide receiver.
As a junior, Pierre piled up 186 carries for 1,677 yards (an average of more than nine yards per rush) and 19 touchdowns, plus 17 receptions for 325 yards and four more scores. He’s currently in the middle of his senior season, and in a recent interview with the Fizz, Pierre said he’s “a few yards away from 2,000” and has found the end zone 21 times.
Pierre becomes the 20th member of the Orange’s Class of 2017, a group that includes five receivers and a blue-chip quarterback, Tommy DeVito. Three of those wideouts run a sub-4.5 40 yard dash, and that speed plus Pierre’s power could form a lethal combination surrounding a potential star signal-caller in a high-octane offense. Look out, ACC.