Last week, Syracuse added 22 new players to its football program on National Signing Day, and as is par for the course, the Orange have rave reviews for the new class. Doug Marrone feels like he’s brought in a group that can be a part of a bright future for his program.
“We’re excited, just like most people around the country, about this class for a couple reasons. This being our fourth class, this is the tallest class that we’ve had, and I think that this is the first class where we’ve done a good job addressing the needs for this football team, obviously with the defensive line.”
According to Scout.com, SU reeled in two 4-star recruits and 11 rated as 3-stars, so there are definitely some difference makers. That puts Marrone’s class at 54th in the country, and 7th out of eight teams in the Big East (as ranked by Scout). Rivals did not place the Orange in its top 50, and left both Sugar Bear Thompson and Wayne Morgan off its 4-star list (it also rated the Orange 7th in the conference). 247Sports.com placed SU at 52nd nationally, and 10th of 14 teams in the new ACC.
So while Marrone and his staff are excited about bringing in 22 players they’ve been chasing for months, should Syracuse fans be as excited about a class the “experts” rate as pedestrian?
A national ranking in the 50’s is about what fans should expect from Syracuse this year. Think of it this way: has SU been a top 50 program in college football for the past few years? Absolutely not. So bringing in a recruiting class that rates higher than its place in the national picture indicates Marrone is taking steps forward.
But few BCS programs strive for 3-star recruits and being a top 50 program. Many Syracuse fans won’t be satisfied with that standing, and Marrone probably isn’t either. In reality though, DM can’t be expected to make a quantum leap in recruiting, especially after a down season. This is a process. The Orange needs to crack the top 50 before it can crack the top 25.
Fans don’t have to be satisfied with a recruiting class just outside the top 50. Expectations are a good thing. But Orange Nation should be pleased with the progress Marrone is making. This appears to be his most talented class so far, and it addresses most of the teams biggest needs. With Chandler Jones’ departure, a couple of JUCO transfers will go a long way to sure up the D-Line.
“It’s very difficult for us to bring in people with size. We’ve had issues with that trying to find enough players in this area with size. For us to have to go to junior college to get a player like Zian Jones or Markus Pierce-Brewster, people who have been established that have done a very good job is going to help our football team.”
And while the true value of this recruiting class won’t be determined for several years, Marrone expects it to pay dividends much sooner.
“Competition is important. If you said, ‘Which player do you think will come in here and have an immediate impact?’ I would say Ryan Norton, the kicker. That was a major decision that we had to make going through this process. Everyone else, we’re excited to bring them in and we’re expecting them to compete.”
Did Syracuse get everything it wanted out of this year’s class? Of course not. But landing the best player in NYC, a huge impact TE, a game-breaking RB, and a slew of additions to the front 7 is definitely worth getting excited about. It’s still about steady progress and not just the immediate big splash in Year 4 of the Marrone Era. If this class isn’t a leap forward for Syracuse, it’s least a step in the right direction.
Posted: Steve Neikam