The month of May has been good to Syracuse football, and this past week was no different. SU landed two outside linebackers when Malik Matthew committed on May 22, followed by Austin Roon on May 24.
Matthew held offers from Boston College, Rutgers, Buffalo, and others. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds Matthew already has the look of an edge rusher, and is rated as the No. 4 prospect in New York. In the past, Dino Babers has struggled to keep New York kids in-state. That could be changing in this class as Syracuse has commits from two of the top four New York recruits. The last time the Orange did that was in 2018 when they signed Trill Williams and Qadir White. Matthew was recruited by Syracuse’s best recruiter – secondary coach Nick Monroe.
Roon became the second outside linebacker commit for Syracuse, a few days after Matthew. After a season where opponents torched SU for over 200 yards on the ground per game, Syracuse’s coaching staff is attempting to bolster its defense. So far, seven of SU’s 10 commits will play defense.
Roon, a Michigan native, also holds offers from Arizona State, Army and others. Arizona State offered a few days before Syracuse, which may show that Tony White knew about Roon for a while. Clearly, programs that play a 3-3-5 are intrigued with the linebacker.
Roon is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, and is a quick-twitch reactor. In high school he generally lines up as the middle linebacker. Roon waits for plays to develop before making quick reactions and blowing up plays with vicious hits. He’s best at tracking the ball-carrier and bringing them down in space. While he can cover, that’s not his best skill and may not be what he does at Syracuse. Instead, White may deploy Roon to attack the quarterback and make plays on ball-carriers.