Plucking a Big 12 player from Big 12 country was certainly not going to be an easy task for the Orange recruiting staff.
So, when Orange target and three-star running back Tre Bryant picked the Wildcats over the Orange and a handful of other schools on Monday evening, it didn’t come as much of a surprise. It became increasingly clear over the last few weeks that Bryant probably would not be in Orange come his decision for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the Orange coaching staff told coveted commit Robert Washington that he would be the only running back recruit in the 2016 cycle. This meant that Bryant would be playing a hybrid ‘Y’ position, rotating in and out of the backfield, the slot, and sometimes out wide. Anywhere that let him play his natural running back position was instantly more desirable than SU.
In addition, Bryant had numerous options closer to home. Originally from St. Louis, Bryant narrowed down his finalists to Syracuse, Northwestern, Kansas, Minnesota, and his eventual choice, the Wildcats. Syracuse was the clear outlier in this group, and when Bryant announced he would announce his commitment sooner rather than later, SU’s fate was all-but sealed. Bryant, who stands at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, most recently visited SU at the end of June.
So, where does the Orange look from here? Well, Moe Neal seems like the next-best player for SU. From North Carolina, Neal has been recruited by a handful of schools and narrowed his list down to five in May. The Orange made the cut along with ACC rivals Boston College, Duke, and Wake Forest, as well as Mississippi State. Fans could expect him to take on a role similar to Erv Phillips this season. Darius Stubbs, another hybrid player, is already committed to the Orange for 2016.
Neal and Washington actually played together in youth football. The three-star back plans to visit campus on July 16 and is the 38th-ranked ‘athlete’ in the class. Part of Washington’s hype was his ability to recruit other skilled players to come to SU, and it finally may pay dividends is Neal picks the Orange.