Green Bay, Wisconsin, is known for football, and pretty much nothing else (aside from cheese, maybe). Although the city’s reputation stems from the Packers, its high school pigskin scene is set to produce a player who could carry the mail for the Syracuse offense in the near future.
Class of 2018 running back Henry Geil is scheduled to visit SU this weekend. At the moment, he holds offers from Syracuse, Iowa and Iowa State, which became the first school to extend Geil a scholarship in January. He told scout.com that several other schools “are in contact with me right now,” including Northwestern, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. At the moment, Geil’s range of interest appears limited to the midwest — aside from the Orange.
So far, Geil has made only one visit: he took an unofficial trip Minnesota on February 19, per 247Sports.com. His tours of Syracuse on Saturday and of Iowa on Sunday will be unofficial, as well. Given the timeline, Geil is at a pretty normal point in the process.
Geil, the No. 57 running back in 247Sports.com’s class rankings, carries a three-star rating on every major recruiting site. That’s the sweet spot for SU football — all 23 players who pledged allegiance to the Orange on National Signing Day last month owned exactly three stars. So does tight end Gabe Horan, Syracuse’s lone commit in the Class of 2018.
Geil is clearly a legitimate Power Five athlete. He checks in at an even 6-feet tall and roughly 200 pounds with a 40-yard dash time of 4.51 and a 35-inch vertical, according to his Hudl profile. When you watch Geil’s highlight tape, his running style quickly becomes apparent: he’s a one-cut, north-south runner who steps on the gas immediately when he identifies a crease in the defense.
Geil is tailor-made to run behind the type of zone-blocking scheme that has been successful in the NFL under coaches like Mike and Kyle Shanahan. While his stride isn’t as fluid as Arian Foster’s (the most recent prototype for a one-cut running back), Geil follows the same blueprint that allowed the former Texans star to shred the league for half a decade: spot a lane, plant his foot in the ground, angle his hips toward the hole, and motor into the green open field in front of him.
Unfortunately for Orange fans, that type of skillset isn’t a perfect fit for Dino Babers’ high-octane offensive scheme. Runners like Geil and Foster are best when they follow a convoy of blockers moving nearly parallel to the line of scrimmage before jetting upfield; that type of stretch play is difficult to execute when the offensive players are spread across the entire 53 yards of the gridiron.
With that being said, talented players like Geil usually find a way to prosper in dynamic offensive systems. If none of the running backs in the Class of 2017 pan out, Henry Geil could snatch the title of Syracuse’s Running Back of the Future. He just has to commit to SU first.