Syracuse athletics has seen some of its recent targets stolen from underneath them by powerhouse programs (see Green, Quade).
Now, Jim Harbaugh is looking to do the same to the Orange’s football team. The Michigan head coach is hosting 2017 three star recruit Ifeatu Melifonwu this week. Harbaugh visited Melifonwu at his basketball game last week. The safety committed to the Orange back in July.
With National Signing Day 10 days away, this is certainly a situation to monitor for a number of reasons.
For one, how well can Dino Babers hold on to recruits before they actually put the pen to the paper. We have already seen Joshua Palmer decommit just weeks before signing day after top tier programs began to recruit the wideout. This is Babers’ first test in holding commits down despite the temptations of glamorous programs like Michigan, UCLA, etc.
Melifonwu is a key part of the class of 2017 due to recent developments. The secondary was a laughing stock last season. There were stretches where the Orange played solid defense in the front seven, but the corners and safeties were decimated by injuries. Likewise, Corey Winfield is transferring from the program to further complicate the secondary situation. Melifonwu is one of just two recruits in the secondary.
If Harbaugh can successfully pry Melifonwu away, then Babers’ recruiting prowess will really be tested. The Orange is keeping tabs on another three star safety, Keontae Jones. Syracuse would need to lock down another safety should Melifonwu walk.
The Massachusetts native may have a tougher time cracking the Wolverines secondary rotation. Michigan boasts one of the best units in the country, even with Jabrill Peppers leaving for the NFL Draft. That gives the Orange a slight advantage in keeping Melifonwu. However, the glitz and glamour of a College Football Playoff contending team may be too much to pass up.