As it stands, Syracuse’s 2020 football class doesn’t exactly have its crown jewel. In 2017, that jewel was Tommy DeVito. 2018 saw Trill Williams and Qadir White make a lot of noise near the top, while 2019 was led by a pair of stud linebackers in Lee Kpogba and Mikel Jones.
Right now, the best recruit in the 2020 class is three-star running back Sean Tucker out of Maryland. That could all change July 30th because SU is in contention for what could be the headliner of the class as a stud wideout prepares to make his decision.
— Dfld Bch Football (@DB_BucksFB) July 10, 2019
Bryce Gowdy is a four-star WR out of Deerfield Beach High School in Florida. Rated as the No. 56 wideout in the class and the No. 51 recruit in the always packed Sunshine State is impressive enough, but to be doing the things he’s doing at Deerfield Beach adds a bit more to get excited about for fans of the school he chooses to attend.
Deerfield Beach has produced a number of uber-talented football players over the year, including NFL stud Jason Pierre-Paul, former Heisman Trophy contender Denard Robinson and a possible top-five pick in next year’s NFL Draft in Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy. That’s an exciting football pedigree to be coming from.
So if Gowdy did decide to make the jump from Florida to the Sunshine State as so many others have (Steve Ishmael perhaps?), what exactly would the Orange be getting from 6-foot-2, 207-pounder?
First and foremost, a little thing that is pretty important to being a standout wide receiver and possible vertical threat in the Dino Babers system: ball skills and catch radius. Time and time again, Gowdy has shown the ability to go up over the top of defenders and use his larger-than-average frame to make tough catches in traffic. As a rising senior in high school, he’s already got the same kind of size that made Steve Ishmael so successful in 2017 and he’s bound to grow and put on some more weight once he gets to school. Those ball skills will benefit him greatly when he no longer gets to tower over defenders like he is in high school. It makes him a dangerous weapon.
Another nice thing about Gowdy is that, from the looks of his tape, he’s already running some similar plays to what the run-and-gun Syracuse attack is known for. It’s not often that you see bubble and/or tunnel screens on a high school wide receiver’s highlight tape, but they’re on there for Gowdy and he runs them very effectively from his outside positioning. He’s got the lateral quickness to make defenders miss on his first step and get himself open and those soft hands give his quarterback the leeway to fire it in there no matter how close the target is. Having that knowledge of the screen game would translate nicely to SU.
Other things that stand out when you take a look at Gowdy’s tape include is willingness and physicality in run blocking and his ability to line up in multiple positions whether that be as an outside target, a slot receiver or even, in rare instances, at the end of the offensive line with his hand in the dirt.
Now, Orange nation has to keep in mind that Gowdy’s commitment to SU is far from a sure thing at this point. Much more established programs in Oregon and Penn State are still lurking around in his top five, while other strong contenders in West Virginia and Georgia Tech are also in there.
As of two-and-a-half weeks before his commitment date, it’s actually the Yellow Jackets who have the leg up in terms of 247Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions, albeit with a singular vote cast in GT’s direction. Rivals’ FutureCast also has Gowdy headed to Georgia Tech with 100% of the three votes cast thus far. If it matters at all, according to his Twitter, it appears Gowdy’s most recent visit was to Syracuse back in late June.
All things considered, Gowdy should be a high priority target for SU and everyone should be keeping a watchful eye on July 30th to see exactly where he ends up. The Orange are already loaded with wide receiver talent on the current roster, but when you’ve got an offense that likes to move the way Dino Babers’ does, then having a four-star wideout certainly won’t hurt your program’s future.