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Syracuse eyes quartet of pass catchers in 2020, 2021, 2022

The success of Syracuse’s wide receivers since Dino Babers became head coach prior to the 2016 season has been absolutely outstanding.

Amba Etta-Tawo shattered all kinds of single-season records in Dino’s inaugural year. Steve Ishmael followed that up by breaking career program records in 2017 alongside the Robin to his Batman in Erv Philips. And although 2018 didn’t see a specific superstar emerge from the WR corps, the consistency and variety of targets that the Orange had for Eric Dungey and Tommy DeVito was impressive in and of itself.

Needless to say, SU has established itself as a place where young wide receivers can go and put up enormous numbers. That kind of success has the potential to be a huge selling point for superstar recruits in the next couple of years and wide out classes should theoretically only get better as the success continues to come. At least, that’s probably what Babers and company are hoping for after offering a quartet of talented pass catchers in the next three classes over the past week.

Caleb Fauria, TE, Bishop Feehan (MA), Class of 2020

Although much of the success for SU’s pass catchers has been thanks to its explosive wide receivers, that doesn’t mean there’s not room for an athletic tight end that can help stretch and spread the field in Dino Babers offense and that’s exactly what a guy like Caleb Fauria has the potential to provide.

At 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, the son of former Patriot and Super Bowl champion, Christian Fauria, has a nearly ideal frame for a young tight end. Still a bit undersized, Fauria will almost certainly pack on size once he gets to college and could end up having a similar body type to the 2019 NFL Draft’s 8th overall pick in former Iowa tight end TJ Hockenson who checks in at 6-foot-5, 230.

Fauria has lined up both in the slot and on the perimeter as a wide receiver in his high school career in Massachusetts and has the athleticism, size and toughness to play either WR or TE. A three-star recruit according to 247Sports and ESPN, Fauria is part of a family with a history of producing pro tight ends (his cousin, Joseph, bounced around NFL practice squads from 2013-15 after playing at Notre Dame and UCLA) and would be a great fit for Syracuse if they can pry him away from Tight End U at Iowa, who 247Sports’ Crystal Ball predicts has an 80% chance of snagging his commitment.

Steven Mahar Jr., TE, Aquinas Institute (NY), Class of 2020

From an excellent athlete with a pedigree to a monstrous guy with a bit of local flair, Syracuse covered all of its bases in offering 2020 tight ends when they extended an offer to Steven Mahar Jr.

Checking in at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, the Rochester, NY native looks every bit the part of a tight end. From the looks of it, he’s a bit more likely to line up with his hand in the dirt than Fauria is, but he’s still quite the athlete downfield and that’s not just when he’s got the ball in his hands. He looks to be a pretty decent blocker both at the point of attack and at the second level and as a defensive end, he shows great power and get-off which will help him on the offensive side of the football as well.

Unlike Fauria, Mahar hasn’t been significantly linked to any program, but does also check in as a three-star according to 247Sports and has offers from Indiana, UConn, UMass, Temple and Boston College. From the looks of his 247Sports recruiting timeline, the only visits he’s made thus far are unofficials to both UMass and SU (back in March), so it looks like the Orange have just as good a chance as any to land his commitment.

Gavin Blackwell, WR, Sun Valley (NC), Class of 2021

Although the guys in the 2021 class are still a cycle away from becoming the main attention of the recruiting scene, everybody knows Syracuse isn’t a program to shy away from getting offers out go guys early and often and that’s what they did when they sent an offer to Gavin Blackwell.

The North Carolina product stands between 5-foot-11 and 6-foot (depending on where your measurements are coming from) and weighs in right around the 160-pound mark, making him similar to the speedy slot-type wideout that SU has shown faith in over the last few years (think a slightly taller version of Sean Riley or Nykeim Johnson). Similar to those guys, Blackwell has electric speed and quickness in the open field and is great coming across the middle and coming out of his breaks. He will flat out beat you in a foot race.

Although he is not rated on 247Sports’ composite rankings, the site itself touts him as a four-star, the 26th best WR in his class and the 144th best overall recruit in the country. As those numbers would suggest, getting a commitment from him will not be easy because he’s already got tons of other really great offers from the likes of Florida, Penn State, North Carolina, South Carolina and NC State coming after him with the Gamecocks (67%) and the Tar Heels (33%) comprising the entirety of his Crystal Ball predictions. It’ll be a battle for his talents, but if SU can get him, Blackwell could be another explosive weapon in Dino’s arsenal.

Caleb Burton III, WR, Del Valle (TX), Class of 2022

If you thought SU was being aggressive in offering somebody from the 2021 class, then you’re probably even more surprised to learn that the Orange didn’t stop there and offered an even younger wideout than Blackwell.

Similarly to Fauria, Burton also comes from a football family, but luckily for SU, Burton’s family is a bit more Orange-oriented than Fauria’s. Burton’s dad, Charles, played safety and linebacker for SU from 1997-2001, playing in nearly every game of his career for Paul Pasqualoni. That will almost certainly be a huge part of the recruiting pitch for the young wideout and SU is going to need a good one.

Although he’s still a bit too young to be ranked by any of the major recruiting services, Burton has listed himself as the No. 1 WR in Texas in his Twitter bio and TexAgs, which covers recruiting for Texas A&M, has him listed as the No. 5 overall recruit in Texas in the 2022 class. It’s almost certainly way to be making any significant determinations about Burton’s abilities or where exactly he’ll end up, but the fact that his dad played at SU will certainly be a leg-up in the future.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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