Last week and weekend, Syracuse football focused its recruiting efforts on protecting its future quarterbacks. The Orange sent out scholarship offers to three offensive linemen, and this week has offered another pair of linemen, another on offense and one on defense.
If he had committed to Syracuse this year, defensive end Marcus Stripling would have been by far the highest rated commit in the Orange‚Äôs recruiting class. Stripling is a four-star recruit listed as the No. 104 prospect in the 2019 class. The Orange‚Äôs highest this cycle, Trill Williams, was No. 356 in the 2018 class. Of course, the great talent brings more competition. SU will have to compete schools such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Texas A&M. A total of 20 schools have already offered Stripling, 18 of which are in the Power Five (save Notre Dame and Houston).
Some players have to put on weight when they get to college to compete. Sterling will not be one of them. He is only 6-foot-3, but at 265 pounds towers over everyone he plays with at Mayde Creek in Houston. The size stands out, but you almost forget about it when you see how quickly Sterling moves. He is quick off the line and into the backfield and can run down a quarterback scrambling to get to the edge or run down a back from behind. Pass rushing is Sterling‚Äôs biggest strength, but he is also quick to the hole to stop the run.
Syracuse also offered an offensive lineman this week, New Jersey‚Äôs CJ Hanson. Like Stripling, Hanson‚Äôs size jumps off the page. He stands at 6-5 and weighs 285 pounds. That is a hard body to try and push aside. He plays both guard and tackle on the offensive line at St. John Vianney, and also plays on the defensive line. Hanson keeps his quarterback safe, but he shows off his best stuff in run blocking. Hanson runs over would-be rushers. It will be interesting to see how that dominance carries over when Hanson plays someone his size every week.
Hanson is listed as a three-star recruit and outside of the top 1000 in the 2019 class, per 247Sports composite rankings. SU is his 10th offer ‚Äì the other Power Five schools to offer Hanson are Rutgers, Pitt and Boston College. The Scarlet Knights just offered Hanson a week ago, and the Orange followed suit and jumped into another competition with its biggest regional recruiting rival.
Syracuse already has six listed offensive linemen and five defensive linemen who could still be on the roster if and when Stripling and Hanson arrive at Syracuse, and that doesn‚Äôt include the five linemen coming in as a part of the Orange‚Äôs 2018 class. There will be plenty of competition for playing time on the lines in the coming years, and Dino Babers is doing his best to throw as many names as he can into that conversation.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson