Syracuse is looking to get lucky and strike gold this upcoming spring when 2016 recruits will be visiting the Hill for the spring game, April 4th. The Orange has four recruits on the radar from the state of New Jersey who have already planned on attending the spring game with more possibly on the way in the coming weeks.
RB Tyler Thompson: The Post-Standard reported two weeks ago that after Thompson‚Äôs visit to SU in the beginning of March, the Jersey product named Syracuse as his No. 1 destination. Starting on a high note like this is crucial for the Orange in its style of recruiting. Syracuse has utilized getting to players early as a formidable recruiting tool. Thompson now becomes Syracuse‚Äôs to lose which is a favorable position for the Orange.
In terms of his play, Thompson could be a versatile piece on the offensive side of the ball. The Ocean Township (NJ) junior stands at 5‚Äô11‚Äù, 180 lbs., and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. He could find himself getting plenty of reps at the running back position due to his speed in the open field. The three-star recruit amassed over 100 receiving yards in a junior season in which he only played 6 games before breaking his tibia and fibula. Thompson has offers from Syracuse, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Temple, and Old Dominion.
WR Kolton Huber: This could turn into a package deal scenario for the Orange. Bobby Acosta, who continues to make recruiting in New Jersey a priority, also is recruiting his teammate from St. Peter‚Äôs Prep (NJ) K.J. Gray. Huber was offered from Syracuse the same day as Gray. Both receivers are considering the Orange but Huber will take the trip up to see the spring game in the Carrier Dome.
Huber currently has other offers from Buffalo and Kansas. He also did visit Maryland in late February but does not have an offer from the Terrapins. Huber finished his junior year with 46 receptions for 603 yards and 6 TDs.
OT Liam Smith: The Orange will have some tough competition to land Smith, but yet again Syracuse‚Äôs tactic of getting to recruits early might pay dividends. Smith stands at 6‚Äô5‚Äù, 270 lbs., and can be a major force on the offensive line. The Red Bank Catholic (NJ) product is rated as a three-star recruit on Rivals.com, and has offers from Syracuse, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Miami (FL), Duke, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Wake Forest, and Connecticut. He has already taken unofficial visits to Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Duke. Smith is a player who many major programs will likely keep an eye on during his senior season.
OT Thomas Lopez: Hailing from Middletown, NJ, Lopez is a much easier target for the Orange to secure than Smith. Lopez is listed as 6‚Äô5‚Äù, 280 lbs., and can add some size to a Syracuse offensive line that has recently seen success with sending players to the NFL. Lopez was limited by injuries during his junior season but did improve enough to build a relationship with Kyle Flood and Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are also trying to keep in-state recruits at home despite moving to the Big Ten.
Lopez is an example of a recruit who might not get offers immediately from big programs but will see a surge in interest in his senior season. Syracuse will surely keep an eye on Lopez, his relationship with Rutgers, and the rest of his recruiting process going into next season.
Bobby Acosta has done a great job of making New Jersey a priority for Orange recruiting. Now the test will be whether Garden State recruits will turn interest into commitments heading into the next wave of recruiting.
Posted: ¬†Zephan Mayell