All was going well in the land of Orange until some confusion set in surrounding three-star safety Devon Clarke from Florida. After securing two commitments in as many days, the Orange had supposedly added another talented defensive player, which would have kept the coaching staff’s hot streak going.
The only problem: Clarke had lost contact with the Orange coaching staff and there is no word on whether his commitment will be accepted or not. This could be happening for a couple of reasons, most intriguingly because the Orange has its eyes set on another target and doesn’t want to waste a scholarship spot on another defensive back if it can get a better one. While this is entirely speculation, it’s actually rather plausible.
After the Orange accepted verbal commitments from three-star cornerback Monquavion Brinson on Monday and three-star linebacker Jamal Holloway on Tuesday, it has a projected 14 players in its 2016 class. Scott Shafer has preached ‘quality over quantity’ in this recruiting cycle, as the team only has a projected 18 scholarships to give out – less than usual.
The recruiting class is already defense-heavy, specifically secondary-heavy, as SU now has verbal commitments from the cornerbacks Brinson and Will Harper, and defensive back Scoop Bradshaw. Clarke may have jumped to commit because he saw his window of opportunity closing with the commitments rolling in. Unfortunately for Clarke, the window may already have closed.
A realistic reason for this could be because the Orange is still in the running for four-star safety Eric Burrell out of Maryland. According to Scout, Burrell plans on “definitely” taking an official visit to Syracuse in the fall. Citing his relationship with coach Shafer, Burrell is high on SU’s program and the Orange will have a huge opportunity to make an impression on a top safety in the class. He will also visit Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and most likely Duke.
If the Orange was to accept Clarke’s verbal, it would be bad news for Burrell to commit to the Orange too. With just four open scholarships left, taking on two more secondary players would unnecessarily saturate the class. Of the 18 players, there would be a potential five defensive backs coming in, which is too many.
Be sure to follow the Fizz on Twitter @OrangeFizz to keep tabs on Clarke’s messy scholarship situation.