The Orange have now landed a tight end in their 2021 recruiting class with a commitment from 3-star Landon Morris. While Derek McDonald is listed as a tight end, he will play on the defensive side of the ball once he arrives on the Hill.
Morris chose Syracuse over offers from Michigan, Iowa State, Boston College and others. At 6-foot-5, 210 pounds he has the size that power-five programs look for from tight ends. Morris said that Syracuse recruited him as a catch-first tight end. Interestingly, Iowa State actually recruited Morris to be an uber-big receiver.
Aaron Hackett and Chris Elmore are listed at the top of SU’s spring depth chart. With both entering their senior year, there is an open starting spot available as soon as Morris steps foot on campus. He’ll be used similarly to Aaron Hackett, but he could be used in a larger variety of ways than SU’s current starting tight end
The most intriguing element to Morris’ game is his route running skills. In his film, Morris’ high school often lines him outside as a receiver. If Syracuse wants to, it could line him anywhere on the field rather than just where a tight end generally lines up. That versatility allows Babers to poach for mismatches. Rather than being matched up with a linebacker of similar size, Babers could line Morris up against a 6-foot tall cornerback. That could pay huge dividends, especially in the red zone.
Most players coming out of high school need to gain weight before they are ready to step onto the field. Morris is no different in that regard. He still has a year until he’ll become a part of SU’s roster unless he enrolls early. Players also tend to see big weight gains once they join college strength and conditioning programs.
Still, Morris is only listed at 210 pounds. For comparison, Hackett – who Morris could replace – is listed at 245 pounds. Even if Morris is used primarily as a pass-catcher, he needs to be able to block, to stay on the field. Sometimes Babers likes to place Hackett on the field to fool defenses into thinking it’s a pass play. But Morris has plenty of time before he’ll even step on to campus, and he has the frame to fill out easily. This could become a very solid addition to the 2021 recruiting class, that pays huge dividends in the future.