For months we have talked about the changing location of where SU football coaches are trying to recruit. With a plethora of coaching experience in the Midwest and Florida, Syracuse saw a steady push by Scott Shafer and his staff to move into new areas for recruiting pipelines. But there is a region a lot closer to home where the Orange needs to make a push now.
The Orange used to dominant New Jersey. It was able to pluck the best talent out of the region and keep those players close to home. Between the rise of Rutgers football under former head coach Greg Schiano and the demise of the Orange football program under Greg Robinson, there was a shift for players to stay in state rather than take I-81 up north to CNY.
Although Rutgers is entering the Big Ten and will surely attract talent purely because of that, there is plenty of uncertainty to how they will do on the field. Rutgers will have to play some of the best teams in college football and could get dropped to the basement of the Big Ten early on. The Scarlet Knights had a very subpar season in the AAC, going 6-6 but only winning 3-of-8 conference games—with notable losses to Houston, Cincinnati and Connecticut. They ultimately ended up losing to Notre Dame 29-16 in the Pinstripe Bowl. QB Chas Dodd threw three interceptions.
Rutgers’ main competition for in-state recruits is Penn State. The Nittany Lions did see a drop in recruiting after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but recuperated shortly after Bill O’Brien took over. With O’Brien in the NFL, James Franklin will be tested both on the field and to keep recruiting stable in the Northeast.
This is a perfect opportunity for the Orange, who has won 3 bowl games in the last 4 years, to make its case to reenter the region. We saw New Jerseyan Dontae Strickland commit to the Orange last week; his teammate Daivon Ellison is very interested in Syracuse. There are currently only six Syracuse players from the state of New Jersey, only two of whom play significant minutes in Dyshawn Davis and Ross Krautman. We mentioned last week how new tight ends coach Bobby Acosta is the main recruiter for the New Jersey region. Another positive of recruiting harder from the region now more than ever is because of the MetLife games. The Orange has already played USC in 2012 and Penn State in 2013. With the Notre Dame game coming up on Sept. 27 at the Meadowlands, SU coaches would be smart to push recruits even harder to attend given limited future chances.
Rutgers and Penn State are both going through chances in their respective programs. This is an opportunistic time for Syracuse to take back what was once theirs.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell