While one SU target decided to commit elsewhere on Tuesday, another dropped his verbal commitment and plans to visit Syracuse in the near future. Nothing is more representative of college football recruiting, as doors are always opening and closing in the blink of an eye.
First, the bad news: Sawyer Smith became the Orange’s second quarterback target to choose a school other than SU in the last two weeks. Three-star target Anthony Brown decided to pick Boston College over the Orange a little more than a week ago, and now Smith has followed a similar path. He announced his commitment to UCF on Tuesday night, spurning the Orange and a list of other suitors. Both QBs were dual-threat players that would fit well in the Orange offense. SU offered Smith as recently as April 22.
While the coaching staff has struggled with quarterbacks in this class, the Orange did extend an offer to four-star, 2017 prospect Tristan Gebbia last week.
Despite this bad news, there is potential light on the other end of the spectrum. Safety Devon Clarke announced his decommitment from Oregon State on Saturday, and will now begin visiting schools again. Syracuse is one of the programs on his list, alongside USF and Bowling Green.
SU needs to recruit Clarke hard, because it lacks safety depth. With Durrell Eskridge leaving for the NFL draft, SU only has three scholarship safeties on the roster, headlined by a redshirt sophomore. With the front seven lacking the talent that it had in the last few years, the secondary will be an even bigger key to the team’s success. Incoming freshman Marquise Blair will probably see playing time in his first season with the team.
Clarke is from Florida, a hotspot for Syracuse recruiting. However, without George McDonald, the Orange’s control over the region is in question. Because the recruiting class of 2016 has only three players committed at this point, the coaching staff needs to hit the recruiting trail hard. Last season, the Orange staff was coming off of one of the most successful recruiting months in program history. In this cycle, however, the group has really dropped the ball. Missing out on these commitments certainly will not look good for prized commit Robert Washington, therefore, some recruiting momentum needs to be built soon.
Posted By: Jason Weingold