Tomorrow is National Signing Day, and while we know all the Syracuse commits won’t be difference-makers, there’s hope that this staff’s second class brings in a few studs. Here’s my projections for who I think will be the top 5 most valuable when their careers at SU are over.
- Tommy DeVito. He seems to have the “it” factor that has been missing at the quarterback position for years on the Hill. Ryan Nassib eventually succeeded under center, but he was never had the “star quality” Don McPherson, Donovan McNabb and Marvin Graves did. Could DeVito finally fill those shoes? Perhaps. He plays the most important position for one of the East Coast’s preeminent prep powers. He’ll have his mug plastered on ESPNU’s coverage of Signing Day, and one has to expect the program looking to make him the face in coming years. Personally, I think DeVito will be great. I’m not putting him in McNabb territory because SU won’t be playing in Orange or Fiesta Bowls during his four years, but he’ll be a difference-maker in the program.
- Nykeim Johnson. He’ll form the Johnson & Johnson tandem at WR for the next few years. Late in the process he stirred interest from other power 5 programs, but he stayed true to SU. As a three-star WR, he’s got the talent to develop into a go-to target in this offense. He has the natural ability to create big plays. Hopefully he helps build a pipeline to other DC/Maryland products. There’s good football talent in that area, and for skill position guys Babers will need to work those pockets. There’s a lot of passes to go around, he’ll make the most of them.
- Aaron Hackett. The Orange need a tight end, and ASAP. Hackett fills the bill, meaning he’ll get tons of playing time early. He played in an up tempo/spread offense in high school, so he shouldn’t be overwhelmed. Babers has already told him he views him as a downfield threat. I could see Hackett becoming the perfect security blanket for DeVito down the road. Expect him to be mentioned with the best TE’s in the ACC.
- Ifeatu Melifonwu. The focus always seems to be on the offense when you put up the numbers Babers’ teams have, but the Orange need starters in the secondary and Melifonwu will be one eventually. To be getting late offers from power programs like Michigan tells you a lot about his ability. He’s one of the best in the state of Massachusetts, and he comes from a lineage of successful college players. I project Melifonwu not to be a superstar, but to be very productive and dependable for years on the Hill.
- Sharod Johnson. He’s my sleeper, a three-star WR, diminutive (5’10”, 165) but he’s got quickness coming from a football factory in South Florida. Johnson has experience playing both on the outside and in the slot. Dino Babers will use him all across his spread formations. He doesn’t have tons of huge, chunk plays, but he’s admired for his route running. This will be the next receiver that piles up big numbers in this offense. Imagine him like the Julian Edelman-lite of the Syracuse attack. I can see him grabbing 40-50 balls in a season.
Who are your players who will become most valuable from this class? Let us know in the comments and keep it locked to the Fizz tomorrow for all day coverage of NSD.