The 2019 Syracuse season is over and the early signing period is right around the corner. With that in mind, we decided to analyze ACC recruiting trends since Dino Babers arrived to Central New York in 2016. How has Babers faired since arriving? Which teams are rising and which teams are falling?
First, let’s start with the facts (All composite rankings are from 247Sports).
To simplify things, each team will be ranked by its average conference positioning over the past four cycles. Keep in mind the data from the 2020 class is based solely on verbal commitments. Following the 1-14 ranking, the school’s four year average and trend is placed in parenthesis. For example: Clemson’s second number is “+2” because they finished third in ’17 and are projected to finish first in ’20.
- Clemson Tigers (1.5) / (+2)
- Miami Hurricanes (2.5) / (+0)
- Florida State (2.8) / (-4)
- North Carolina (4.3) / (+2)
- Virginia Tech (6.5) / (-10)
- NC State (7.3) / (+3)
- Georgia Tech (7.5) / (+5)
- Louisville (8.3) / (+0)
- Pittsburgh (9.0 / (-1)
- Virginia (9.8) / (+4)
- Duke (10.3) / (-5)
- Syracuse (10.8) / (-1)
- Wake Forest (12.3) / (+3)
- Boston College (12.5) / (+3)
The numbers back up what many Orange fans fear: Syracuse is in the bottom recruiting quadrant since Babers took the job.
While the numbers don’t look great for the Orange, it’s not time to panic. Babers has done a solid job finding talent that may have been overlooked by other programs. Just take Andre Cisco, who wasn’t recruited by a single other ACC school. The All-American has 12 interceptions in two years and has quickly made a name for himself in the conference and around the country.
As far as four stars are concerned, Babers has only landed two: Trill Williams and Tommy DeVito. Syracuse didn’t have a four-star recruit in its 2019 class and currently does not have one verbally committed to its 2020 class. Even without a four star, the ’19 class held its own this year. Offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron saw significant playing time late in the year and helped solidify a struggling unit, Mikel Jones showed promise at linebacker and tight end Luke Benson surprised everyone with his ability to get open. All should be major factors next year.
Four stars aren’t everything. Recruiting rankings aren’t everything. After all, SU won 10 games without having a recruiting class that ranked higher than 10 in the ACC. This thing is not going to turnaround over night. Babers is doing what he can with the resources he has to make the Orange relevant again.
There remains a divide in the ACC between the top tier and the bottom tier. The trends show that recruits don’t value recent success on the field as much as one might think. Instead, the value longevity, facilities and culture. That explains why the Orange didn’t have a significant jump after its double-digit win season.
As long as Babers keeps successfully recruiting to his system and finding diamonds in the rough, he will be fine.