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The Fizz’s 2019 Early Signing Day Thread

6:06 p.m. – Fizz Roundtable Discussion Breaking Down Syracuse’s Early Signing Day

The Fizz’s Tim Leonard, JD Raucci and Gill Gross break down the entire day’s news with sounds and reaction from Syracuse’s Class of 2020, including the concern with no quarterback in the class, diamond-in-the-rough candidates and some surprise breaking news that should help put everyone’s minds at ease. 

5:05 p.m. – Florida OL Chris Bleich Transfers to Syracuse

This is the news that Syracuse fans have been waiting for. After missing out on transfer quarterback Cade Fortin, the Orange get the help they desperately need up front. Bleich (6-foot-6, 330) entered the transfer portal this fall after losing his starting job in Gainesville. Now, he’s packing his bags for Central New York.

Bleich later clarified in his statement that the “wasn’t able to control what happened” portion refers to him being forced to play through injuries at Florida.

This is a massive get for Dino Babers. Bleich had offers from UCLA, Penn State and North Carolina, among others.

Since Bleich isn’t a grad transfer, he’ll have to be awarded a waiver to play next year. It is unclear at this time how good of a case he has. However, Florida head coach Dan Mullen hinted that “family issues” was among the reasons Bleich decided to enter the transfer portal.

If he’s eligible next year, he could replace Evan Adams, the only starting lineman that Syracuse has to replace. Sure, Ryan Alexander didn’t work out (South Alabama), but Koda Martin (Texas A&M) did. This is a great grab for the Orange who must protect DeVito better next fall.

3:03 p.m. – Commit Interview #4: Maximilian Mang

German TE Maximilian Mang was one of the big surprises in the Orange’s 2020 recruiting class and there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to the 6-foot-7 youngster, but he says he’s ready to compete. 

“I think I have really good hands and a really good catch radius,” Mang said, “My blocking is good but I can improve on that as well. I’m also a special teams player so I can and will run down the field and make the tackle.” Listen to the rest of our interview with Mang below: 

2:05 p.m. – Commit Interview #3: Latarie Kinsler

The top recruit in the Orange’s 2020 class joins the Fizz to talk everything from how he almost didn’t play football to who he models his game after and if he can play like either of the guys he mentioned, ACC offensive lines better watch out. 

“I would say Brian Burns and Chase Young,” Kinsler said, “I love both of their get-offs. Both of them are quick, speedy guys off the edge and they can also be powerful.” Listen to the rest of our interview with Kinsler below: 

11:05 a.m. – Commit Interview #2: Garth Barclay

The tallest member of the Orange’s 2020 signing class, Garth Barclay has the ability to grow into a stud at offensive tackle for SU in the future. He joins Gill Gross to discuss his immense size and how he’s handled growing so quickly. 

“That was probably the biggest struggle was putting on weight while I was growing so much,” Barclay said about his growth spurt, “but now that I’ve started to slow down, it’s been a lot easier to put on weight and my mom’s been super helpful with the food and everything.” Listen to the rest of our interview with Barclay below.

10:49 a.m. – RB Sean Tucker Becomes Last Early Signee

After the two German prospects signed early this morning, SU’s 2020 class grew to 19. We knew that 18 of those 19 were planning on signing with the lone holdout being safety Chase Atkinson who told The Fizz he plans on signing in February after his official visit. Now all 18 guys that were expected to sign have officially done so with Maryland-based running back Sean Tucker officially putting pen to paper. The track star has been reportedly been clocked at a ridiculous 4.28 40-yard dash and could be a great addition of speed to a running back room loaded with potential. He joins fellow Maryland native Marlowe Wax as the second running back in the Orange’s class and is rated as the 60th best RB in the 2020 cycle.

10:33 a.m. – DE Latarie Kinsler, Fakes Flip, Signs with SU

Well, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Latarie Kinsler, it’s that he’s got a good sense of humor. The top recruit in SU’s 2020 class pledged to the Orange back in November and had been solid on the ‘Cuse since. That’s why it was a surprise to see a Louisville hat alongside the Orange one when he was set to officially announce his commitment. In a moment that scared the living daylights out of fans, Kinsler showed off his funny side: 

Thankfully for SU, he put the right hat on top of his head and solidified himself as the top recruit in the Orange’s 2020 cycle. A freak athlete, Kinsler could be the elite pass rusher of the future for SU because his intangibles (speed, quickness, athleticism) are off the charts. Guys like Kendall Coleman and Alton Robinson were more traditional defensive-end pass rushers but Kinsler has the chance to fit into a Chandler Jones-style mold as an athletic speed rusher of the future.

9:58 a.m. – Commit Interview #1: Justin Barron 

Barron, the 3-star athlete signee from Connecticut joins the FizzCast to chat about his position plans going forward, the family feel of Syracuse and meeting Dino Babers for the first time. 

“It was really scary at first honestly, just cause the figure that he is,” Barron said about introducing himself to Babers. Listen to the full interview below.

9:47 a.m. – DE Akheem Mesidor Snubs the Orange

Syracuse was first aboard the Mesidor hype train, offering him in July, 2018. As his recruiting ranking soared, West Virginia swooped in and became the favorite to land the defensive end. Mesidor would have been the highest rated Orange recruit, coming in at No. 762 nationally. Nice find by Syracuse early on, but to no avail.   

9:42 a.m. – WR Damien Alford Makes it Official

This guy makes missing out on Poitier sting a whole lot less for SU. Born in Canada, Damien Alford is the No. 3 Canadian-born player in the class according to CanadaFootballChat. He played most of his high school football at Dalbe-Viau in Montreal before finishing up his high school career at McArthur High School in Hollywood, FL. A three-star recruit, Alford is the top-ranked offensive player in 2020 class and at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, has the size to fit into the mold of a Steve Ishmael or Jamal Custis type and could also form a very interesting Candian WR tandem with rising redshirt freshman Kevin Mital. All in all, a big add for SU.

9:34 a.m. – WR Target Kentron Poitier Spurns SU, Chooses Florida State

Of all the uncommitted guys coming into the day, Florida-based wideout Kentron Poitier was probably the guy SU wanted the most. The three-star recruit went into the day with SU in his Top 3 along with Florida State and Florida and after his high school teammate Robert Hanna signed his NLI to SU in the same gym just minutes before, there was hope Poitier would do the same, but it wasn’t to be. The guy that SU had been on for so long chose in-conference foe Florida State and dashed the Orange’s hopes of adding another talented pass catcher to the class.  

9:12 a.m. – Canadian Top Gun Ben Labrosse Puts Pen to Paper

Labrosse dominated the Quebec University Football League on his way to RSEQ Defensive Player of the Year Honors. He’s the No. 2 rated prospect out of Quebec and the No. 71 safety, per 247 Sports. There’s a pipeline developing across the northern border for Dino Babers, as Labrosse follows in Matthew Bergeron and Geoff Cantin-Arku’s footsteps from the previous cycle. Labrosse will have time to develop behind an already-established SU secondary.

8:46 a.m. – Massachusetts DE Kevin Lemieux Set to Play at SU

Kevin Lemieux has been loyal to Syracuse from the very beginning, becoming the Orange’s first commit in the 2020 cycle back in March. Ironically, he committed around the same time as former grad transfer Ryan Alexander and we all know how that ended. Lemieux is rated as a three-star prospect according to 247Sports and already has a nearly college-ready body at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds. For a bit of comparison, Alton Robinson is 6-foot-4, 257 pounds so Lemieux is not that far off. He’s got great instincts and a quick first step off the snap and will provide some nice depth at defensive end for the Orange. 

8:35 a.m. – Miami Product S Robert Hanna Signs

The first of what SU hopes is two Miami Palmetto High School products to sign today, Hanna is one of the more under-the-radar guys in the class. Ranked as the No. 14 safety in the always loaded state of Florida, Hanna hails from the same high school as one of the best prospects in SU’s 2019 class in fellow defensive back Neil Nunn. Hanna signed in Palmetto’s gym which is the same place that his teammate, WR Kentron Poitier, will sign this morning. SU is in Poitier’s Top 3 along with Florida State and Florida.

8:29 a.m. – TE Steven Mahar Stays Home in NY

The second-highest rated offensive recruit in the class is 6-foot-6, 225 pound tight end Steven Mahar. He’s the No. 6 rated recruit in the state of New York, and the No. 35 tight end in the country according to 247 Sports. Mahar chose Syracuse over two other ACC schools, Pittsburgh and Boston College. The Orange were late to offer Mahar, which he publically lamented. But apparently wide receiver coach Justin Lustig, his main recruiter, did enough to make Mahar feel loved in the end. The tight end position looks very bright, as Mahar joins Luke Benson in the ranks.

8:22 a.m. – Athlete Justin Barron Headed to the Hill

Similarly to fellow athlete commit, Trebor Pena, nobody really knows what position Connecticut native Justin Barron will play at SU. Unlike Pena, Barron could legitimately play on both sides of the football. When Dino Babers tweeted out the news of Barron’s signing, his superhero nickname (the theme for this year’s class) was Ballhawk Eye. That would seem to indicate defensive back but from what The Fizz has been told, Barron could play anywhere from DB to wide receiver to possibly even linebacker.

8:18 a.m. – WR Ja’Vontae “Tank” Williams is on His Way to CNY

The most recent addition to the class, Williams committed to SU back on Sunday. A three-star recruit, Williams hails from Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, FL which already has an impressive list of wideout alums in Kelvin and Travis Benjamin and former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. If Williams can be anything like those three guys, then Syracuse got a huge steal on the guy ranked No. 176 among wide receivers in his class. Williams chose SU over offers from Miami and Indiana. 

8:08 a.m. – LB Stefon Thompson Faxes in the Paper Work 

For the second straight season, SU is losing both of its starting linebackers in Lakiem Williams and Andrew Armstrong. They have the pieces to fill in at the starting spots next year, but they needed more to fill out the rest of the depth chart. They got more in three-star linebacker Stefon Thompson. A North Carolina native, Thompson is the only true linebacker in the class and 247Sports has him rated as the 55th best inside linebacker in the nation. He could be a surprise diamond in the rough for SU. 

8:04 a.m. – Maryland RB Marlowe Wax Officially Signs 

Wax, who was one of the very first commits in this cycle for Syracuse, is now officially Orange. He is one of two Maryland running backs in the class for Syracuse. Wax, an 84 overall on 247sports.com, is a middle tier three star recruit. He compliments the other back in this class Sean Tucker, nicely. Tucker brings a little more speed, while Max provides some more punch. 

7:59 a.m. – Versatile Athlete Trebor Pena Inks NLI

One of the more recent commits in the cycle, Pena pledged to Syracuse back in late November. Originally a Temple commit, Pena, joins Lowery as the two New Jersey-born players in the class. The three-star recruit is listed as an athlete and played running back in high school at Ocean Townships where he racked up over 1500 yards and 23 touchdowns (wow). When he was committed to Temple, it had been reported that he was going to play slot receiver so that’s still a possibility, but any way you slice it, having that kind of playmaking ability on your roster is a plus. 

7:59 a.m. – Highly Rated K/P James Williams Makes it Official 

Williams enters just in time to replace Ray Guy finalist Sterling Hofrichter at the punter position perhaps. The Georgia native had interest from the likes of Alabama and is the 5th highest rated punter in the 2020 class and 12th highest rated kicker, according to Kohls.com. He is rated as a five star on Kohls in both categories and could carry on the growing tradition of strong special teams play.

7:43 a.m. – More Offensive Line Help Comes in the Form of OL Josh Ilaoa

If you want a winner coming to SU, then Josh Ilaoa is your guy. The three-star offensive lineman won four consecutive conference championships at his time at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, NC. His size (6-foot-3, 295 pounds) already projects well to play guard at the next level and with Evan Adams graduating this year, there are going to be more holes (we know, you don’t want to hear that) at offensive line for SU and who knows, maybe Ilaoa can help to fill them. 

7:32 a.m. – DE Leon Lowery Makes it Official

With both Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman graduating, the future of the defensive end position for the foreseeable future is a bit in question for Syracuse. A guy like Lowery helps to calm some of those nerves. A three-star recruit, Lowery is one of two New Jersey natives currently committed to the Orange. He chose SU over offers from hometown Rutgers, Indiana and Temple. 

7:25 a.m. – OT Garth Barclay Becomes First Domestic Player to Sign

We knew this one was coming but he’s an important one all the same. Barclay is a huge dude at 6-foot-7, 260 pounds and because of that size he has the chance to grow into a really important player for SU. He played both DE and OT in high school and is a versatile athlete who has jumped from being rated as an 81 by 247Sports to an 85 over the past few months. He’s the No. 14 prospect out of Pennsylvania. 

7:15 a.m. – Second Uncommitted Prospect of the Day Signs in TE Maximilian Mang 

From a German-born tight end turned offensive linemen to a German-born player that will stick at TE, the Orange picked up their second official signee in 19-year-old Maximilian Mang just a couple of minutes after they signed Petry. The Potsdam native stands at 6-foot-7, 250 pounds and will mix in nicely with an already loaded tight end group that features Freshman All-American Luke Benson and is set to add local product Steven Mahar later today. 

7:09 a.m. – German JUCO Product, OT Mark Petry, Becomes First Official Signee

This right here is the beauty of Fizzmas: you never know what gifts are going to be left under the tree. Up until the when Petry officially signed, the German national had been an Eastern Michigan commit. The Orange got their first flip of the day when the TE turned OT reportedly sent in his paper work at 2:00 a.m. SU needed help up front and that’s exactly what Petry provides.

7:00 a.m. – The Fizz’s Early National Signing Day Special is Here

It’s everybody’s favorite day of the year. Fizzmas is officially here as many of the Orange’s 17 committed recruits prepare to ink their NLIs to play football at Syracuse. You can follow along with us here at orangefizz.net and on Twitter @OrangeFizz for everything you need to know about SU’s 2020 class throughout the day.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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