Syracuse may have lost one of its defensive leaders in Marquis Spruill to the NFL at the end of last year, but Scott Shafer and co. are hoping that they have found a suitable replacement at linebacker.
On Tuesday night, 3-star linebacker Troy Henderson out of Ohio gave his verbal commitment to the Orange. His ultimate choice was between Syracuse and Rutgers, but the Orange beat out a very strong Nebraska team for Henderson’s commitment.
Henderson was set to make his decision on July 4, but delayed his announcement after receiving an offer from the Cornhuskers. He made his announcement via Twitter.
The 6’1”, 210-pound linebacker now becomes the 25th player to pledge Orange for 2015, making this class abnormally large – especially with National Signing Day still months away. Henderson tallied 100 tackles, eight sacks and forced three fumbles in just his junior season.
Linebacker has been a position of relative strength for the Orange in the recent past. After Spruill’s departure, the leader of the 2014 squad is expected to be Dyshawn Davis, who was named to the Butkus Award Watch List earlier this week. Cameron Lynch will also return to the Orange lineup. The two players combined for 117 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season. The linebacking corops was a big reason that Syracuse’s rush defense was one of the strongest in the country. The team did not allow a 100-yard rusher all season, the only FBS team to do so.
Henderson is the third linebacker in the recruiting class of 2015, joining Shyheim Cullen and Doyle Grimes. All three players are rated 3-star by 247sports—but take that subjective information with a grain of salt, of course.
Henderson hails from Ohio, an area where Shafer has flexed his Midwestern roots in the class of 2015. Shafer is from Ohio himself, and that definitely appealed to Henderson. He was also interested in the Dome, the Whitman School of Management, and even the dorms.
Another significant impact of Henderson’s verbal is Syracuse’s growing dominance over Rutgers. After already snagging a couple recruits from the New Jersey and Connecticut areas, Syracuse is starting to dominate the mid-Atlantic region like they had in the past. Establishing a recruiting pipeline in the area could really strengthen the Orange recruiting classes for years to come. Henderson also had a chance to play in the Big Ten, but elected the ACC over Rutgers’ and Nebraska’s conference.
The Orange now have the largest recruiting class in the nation with 25 players, which is pretty absurd to think about considering the late start on commitments.
Posted by: Jason Weingold