It’s no secret that Syracuse needs some help in the secondary. Last year, the Orange allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for an average of 256 yards per game, that ranked 102nd in Division I.
Dino Babers made the defensive backfield a priority in his first recruiting class and that has continued this summer. Corners Eric Coley, Allen Stritzinger and Ifeatu Melifonwu have all pledged to the Orange in the 2017 class.
On Monday afternoon, ESPNBoston.com published an in depth scouting report on Melifonwu. The Fizz broke it down below.
The Massachusetts native excels in zone coverage, which makes him a perfect fit in Babers’ Tampa-2 defense.
Melifonwu moves well in space and covers a lot of ground in zone coverage. He does a good job of playing the flat area in Cover 2. He re-routes receivers and jumps his eyes inside to the No. 2 receiver. Melifonwu can play in a press alignment, but he’s equally effective playing off in a quarters coverage alignment.
Syracuse hasn’t played a game yet under Babers, but Orange fans already know how much SU’s new coach loves speed. The corner has some serious jets.
Melifonwu ran a 4.58 in the 40 last year, so he has legitimate Division 1 speed. He plays even faster than that on tape. He moves well in space and he gets in and out of cuts with ease. Melifonwu is a long strider and he can accelerate quickly when running with or without the ball.
Areas Of Concern
Like most players making the transition to the college game, Melifonwu will need to bulk up.
He does have a tendency to get dragged for extra yardage sometimes. He needs to get stronger.
Melifonwu has one other weakness, according to ESPNBoston.
While he does a good job of recognizing passing plays and running plays, he tends to get caught in the clutter sometimes when getting in his pursuit angle from the backside. Melifonwu will improve in this area once he starts working with the Syracuse coaching staff.
Melifonwu won’t star in the defensive backfield right away for the Orange, but it’s fair to expect him to mold into an impact player a few years down the road.
Melifonwu’s athleticism is evident on tape. There is no question that he has the physical tools to be a multi-year starter at Syracuse.
Follow The Fizz on twitter @OrangeFizz to stay up to date with SU basketball and football recruiting.
Posted: Connor Morrissette