On Tuesday Syracuse landed a pair of commitments. The Fizz already discussed how outside linebacker Derek McDonald will benefit the Orange, but what about its new receiver commit?
Kendall Long is a 6-foot-3 wideout from South Carolina. At 215 pounds, he’s already big enough to fit into Syracuse’s offense. Besides Syracuse, Long has offers from Appalachian State, East Carolina, Georgia State, and others. Syracuse is his lone power-five offer. 247sports lists Long as a three-star recruit and a top-20 player in South Carolina.
Syracuse has been busy on the recruiting trail as it has landed six commits since April. There’s been a clear emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. Out of the seven Orange commits, Long is just the second offensive recruit. After a season where Syracuse gave up over 200 yards rushing per game, it makes sense that Babers and his staff are giving so much attention to defense.
Long’s junior season highlights show a player that plays on the outside – given his large stature. He can also go get jump balls, making him a red zone target. His highlights show his team getting him the ball quickly on bubble screens. This is a clear example of his high school getting the ball in its best players hands.
On these plays, he’s more physical than he is quick. Basically, he is better at shedding tackles than accelerating past defenders. At the high school level, he’s faster than everyone else, but that won’t be the case in the ACC. His high school also likes to use Long in motion to hand him the ball off the snap. This is something teams like the Los Angeles Rams have made popular with their receivers.
It’ll be interesting to see what Long does against defenders who aren’t giving him yards of separation. When he isn’t getting the ball behind the line of scrimmage, his tape shows defenders with bad coverage skills, or playing him five yards off the line of scrimmage. So, it’s hard to judge what his route-running skills are like. At his size, he needs to be able to make contested catches, something he doesn’t do a lot of based on the offense scheme his high school utilizes.