For most Syracuse fans, the bye week probably isn‚Äôt the most exciting time of the football season. A whole week off without being able to watch your favorite team can be a bit of a drag sometimes. However, the bye is also a week off of sorts for the coaching staff. Because they don‚Äôt have a game to prepare for, they can focus on other things, like building their team up for the future.
Dino Babers and company have been blazing the recruiting trails over the past few weeks and have offered a slew of really talented prospects. While these offers have gone to guys all over the country from Arizona to Maryland, there have been two specific areas that SU has focused on over the past week or so in targeting recruits: Philadelphia and Detroit.
While neither location is known as a recruiting hotbed like the likes of Florida or Texas, they‚Äôve both produced some pretty fantastic talent in recent years. Now the SU coaching staff is targeting the two cities, both of which have fed the SU program over the past few seasons. In the past week, a pair of recruits from each area has received an offer from the Orange. With that in mind, let‚Äôs meet the young men of Philadelphia and Detroit who may soon be calling Central New York home.
The most highly-touted prospect in the recent string of offers, Barmore is a 4-star defensive tackle in the class of 2018. ESPN ranks Barmore as the second-best defensive tackle in his class and the 75th best player overall in their ESPN 300 and it‚Äôs almost as if he‚Äôs come completely out of nowhere. Barmore barely played last football season at Del-Val Charter and was more focused on becoming a basketball player than anything having to do with the gridiron. At the end of the 2016-17 school year, Barmore only had offers from Buffalo, Temple and Morgan State. He committed to hometown Temple in June, but then de-committed earlier this month, probably because of the offers he now holds. Outside of SU, Barmore also now boasts offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and LSU. All of a sudden, in what seems like the blink of an eye, he‚Äôs become a blue-chip prospect, and for good reason. Barmore is a mountain of a man standing at a whopping 6-foot-6, 297 pounds and is physically dominant in the middle of the defensive line. He‚Äôs incredibly fast and athletic for his size and position which gives him the ability to beat interior linemen who are traditionally less athletic and quick than their outside counterparts on the offensive line. He plays with an incredible motor and seems to have a serious knack for finding the football and getting to the ballcarrier when at all possible. While Barmore certainly has a ton of natural ability and athleticism, a lot of his newfound success and offers can be attributed to the coaching staff at his new high school. Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia has produced some pretty outstanding athletes over the past few seasons including SU wide receiver Jamal Custis and former SU basketball target Quade Green. When Barmore transferred in the offseason because his old school was closing, Neumann got a new football coach and Al Crosby immediately noticed that Barmore had potential and moved him from defensive end to the tackle position where he could pair his size and quickness into an impressive and dangerous combination on the interior. While the Neumann senior would be a perfect addition to an SU defensive line that is on the upswing, it‚Äôs probably going to be difficult to lure him away from the SEC powers that have offered him. While Custis‚Äôs connection is a great recruiting tool for the Orange, I wouldn‚Äôt get your hopes up to see Barmore in Central New York.
Before Barmore‚Äôs new head coach Al Crosby took over at Neumann-Goretti he was the head coach at Imhotep Charter about 30 minutes north of Neumann. That‚Äôs where you‚Äôll find the other Philadelphia product that SU offered in the past week, Yusuf Terry. A wide receiver in the class of 2019, Terry isn‚Äôt yet ranked by any of the major recruiting services, but he has begun to show some Division I potential throughout this season. Standing at 6-foot-4, Terry has the height you‚Äôd like to see from a wideout that lines up on the outside of the offensive formation. Along with that great length, Terry also boasts breakaway speed that makes him a deep threat down the sidelines. So far this season, the junior has three touchdowns of at least 50 yards including two in one game. Terry is also a proven winner as he and Imhotep won a state title in 2015 under Crosby and are 6-1 so far this season as they head toward the state tournament. SU will have to contend with Howard, Temple, Rutgers and Maryland for Terry‚Äôs services.
It‚Äôs been well-documented over the past few recruiting cycles that Michigan in general, but specifically the Detroit area has become an area of focus for Dino Babers. Last weekend, defensive line coach Vince Reynolds traveled to the 313 (one of Detroit‚Äôs area codes) for some recruiting:
What up Doe!! Just ‚úàÔ∏è in the 313!! üëÄüëÄüëÄfor some future Orange Men!! üèàüçä#OITNF!!
— Vince Reynolds (@CoachReynolds81) October 23, 2017
Under Babers, SU has recruited six prospects from the Great Lake State including Tyrone Sampson, SU‚Äôs top recruit in the class of 2018, who attends East English Village Prep. About 20 minutes southeast of EEVP sits Cass Technical which has developed its own pedigree of producing future Orange. SU has two former Technicians on its active roster in redshirt freshman linebacker Tim Walton and true freshman defensive lineman Zach Morton. Now it wants a third. Syracuse offered Cass junior Jalen Graham on Wednesday afternoon. The class of 2019 product is ranked as a 3-star athlete by 247sports.com. With that title of athlete comes the thought that Graham is incredibly versatile. That thought is correct. Defensively, the 6-foot-2 junior plays at free safety and the guy is a legitimate ballhawk. He can either use his size advantage to go up and pick contested balls out of the air or flash his long strides to undercut routes and get in front of passes he has no right being anywhere near. He also packs a pop when he hits you, leveling backs and wideouts in the open field. On the offensive side of the ball, he‚Äôs even more of a chameleon. He lines up at both quarterback and wide receiver where his incredible athleticism simply takes over. He‚Äôs got long majestic strides that allow him to beat defenders in a straight line, but is also quick and agile enough to make quick cuts and make people miss in the open field. Incredibly talented and versatile, the one thing I‚Äôd like to see Graham work on to take the next jump is his flat-out speed. Right now his long strides are enough to get him by, but defenders at the next level are quicker and he‚Äôll need to be a bit faster to reach his ceiling and make a big impact. With that being said, he‚Äôs definitely an intriguing two-way prospect for SU that Orange fans should keep an eye on. Graham‚Äôs other offers include Pitt, Central Michigan, Bowling Green and Kentucky.
Joining Graham in prospects that SU has offered from the Detroit area is big Ruke Orhorhoro. The Rouge River High School product is ranked as a 3-star defensive end by 247sports.com. Standing at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, Orhorhoro is another guy with fantastic size that has burst onto the national recruiting scene (offers from Indiana, Central Michigan, Toledo) of late as a defensive lineman and for good reason. He‚Äôs already racked up over 20 tackles for loss and 12 sacks this season. He‚Äôs got all the intangibles you‚Äôd want out of a prospect: size, speed, intelligence (he has a 3.8 GPA). He‚Äôs still a bit raw in terms of his actual skill set right now though. Most of his tackles come from simply overpowering or outrunning opposing offensive linemen, something that will work to his advantage at the next level, but not something that can make up the entirety of his repertoire. He still needs to develop some more moves (think a spin or swim move) to become an effective edge rusher in college, but he‚Äôs certainly trending in the right direction and clearly Vince Reynolds and company see something in the youngster. One final positive about Orhorhoro is his ability to get to the quarterback from both in his stance and from a stand-up position. That versatility makes him an even more intriguing prospect that Orange fans should keep on their radar moving forward.