Syracuse football added an eighth member to its 2018 recruiting class when running back Jawhar Johnson Jr. committed to the Orange last night. Any player with a 4.48 40-time in the Dino Babers offense has huge upside potential, but his commitment is just part of a great start to the 2018 recruiting cycle for Dino Babers. SU’s class as a whole is on track to be the best in recent memory. Is this the start of the turnaround Babers had us close our eyes to imagine when he arrived at SU?
For some reference, Syracuse’s 2017 class (which included Tommy DeVito and was also thought to be one of the better classes in recent years) ended at No. 54 in the country, good for 11th-best in the ACC, according to 247Sports. The only schools Syracuse beat were Virginia, Wake Forest, and Boston College. The 2016 class, which was a Frankenstein’s monster of Babers and Scott Shafer recruits, ended at No. 64 nationally and No. 13 in the conference (ahead of only BC). This year has been different. With the addition of Johnson, Syracuse’s 2018 class is No. 30 in the country and sixth among ACC schools. That’s above North Carolina, Louisville, and Pitt among others.
To be fair, those numbers are a little misleading. Part of Syracuse’s high rankings early are due to the Orange’s fast start, not necessarily its good start. Syracuse already has eight players signed on to join the Orange in the fall of 2018. Louisville only has five, North Carolina four and Pittsburgh just two. If you measured by average recruit rating, the Orange ranks at No. 9 in the ACC, still ahead of Louisville but far behind North Carolina and its three four-star commits. In fact, the average recruit in this year’s class is only marginally better than what SU pulled in 2017.
The Orange is definitely off to a better start than what has been expected from Syracuse over the past several years. Tyrone Sampson is a legitimate four-star recruit, the first the Orange has had since KJ Williams in 2014. If Sampson actually makes it to campus, he’d be the first four-star to play for Syracuse since Wayne Morgan and Ron Thompson out of the 2012 class (SU’s class was still No. 61 in the country that year). Since 247Sports started tracking recruiting classes extensively in 2003, Syracuse has only had two recruiting classes inside the top 50: No. 50 in 2014 and No. 49 in 2007. This year could be a game changer, but don’t let the numbers fool you. Syracuse is only beating four schools which have as many commitments as the Orange: Iowa State, Virginia, Boston College and Northern Illinois.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson