Detroit’s Cass Technical High School is a prep school. Students get in based on test scores and grades, and then choose a curriculum path (such as business management, marketing, engineering) to pursue the next four years. Football isn’t one of the available career choices, but Syracuse may be adding its own elective after how much interest the Orange has shown in the Technicians (Cass Tech’s mascot).
Syracuse wants to build a relationship with Cass Tech, an effort that began the second Dino Babers took over the program. Tim Walton was the first player out of the school to commit to SU in 2016. He went on an official visit in the second month of Babers’ tenure, and committed days later. In the class of 2017, Babers offered five players from the school: a quarterback, two linemen and two defensive ends who were all rated at three stars. Three of those five ended up at Big Ten schools, one went to Northern Illinois, and Zach Morton (a defensive end) chose Syracuse. SU has three more offers to Cass players in the 2018 class (one of which is already committed to Notre Dame) and over the weekend offered four class of 2019 recruits from the school. Dino Babers is obviously trying to plant an orange seed in the Cass Tech locker room, but can you make a high school in Michigan a feeder for college football in New York, and is it worth it?
Michigan hasn’t been a hotbed for SU recruiting in the past. Morton and Walton were both one of just two commits from the state in their classes, and before that there hadn’t been more than one commit from the state in a year since 2012. There’s a reason for that: it generally doesn’t work. Recruiting has become an international endeavor in the last decade, but players still typically go to schools in their home region. Midwest players go to the Big Ten. West Coast? Pac 12. East Coast? ACC. The best players still end up on the best teams no matter the location, but staying close to home isn’t uncommon. That’s why most teams only go after a few far-away recruits, because it’s cheaper and easier to get players close to home.
Dino has offered 13 Cass players and gotten two commitments out of it so far. Is that worth it? The hope is that as more Cass players commit to Cuse it will be easier to recruit there, but it’ll be hard to stay in the ears of high schoolers in Michigan from 500 miles away. But Babers is trying to extend Syracuse’s reach, and maybe he’s right for doing so. The Orange has a brand sellable to anyone in the country, and Dino would probably be a even better salesman than football coach, so why not throw out a line and see what bites?
Posted: Nathan Dickinson