On a day that featured one of the worst performances for Syracuse football in the last decade, it didn’t seem like there was any way for the program to salvage some level of positivity away from the weekend. Not only was the game itself embarrassing, but it also put SU in a position where it has to win out to make a bowl game just a year after having its best season since the early 2000s.
How could you possibly be even remotely okay with that as a Syracuse fan? This is how.
To be quite honest Latarie Kinsler’s commitment saved the weekend to a degree. The weak-side defensive end out of Pahokee High School in Florida is rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals and a three-star by most other services, including 247Sports which pegs him as the 16th best player at his position and the No. 379 overall recruit in the class of 2020.
Kinsler is by far the Orange’s most highly-touted commit in the 2020 class and is the only one that even scratches 247’s Top 600 (safety Ben LaBrosse is the cycle’s second-best prospect at No. 612). Add that to the fact that Syracuse had to beat out some of the best programs in the country for Kinsler’s commitment (he had offers from LSU, Oregon, Penn State and Texas A&M among others) and this turns into a huge recruiting win for the Orange.
It’s also a huge win simply based on positional need for the Orange over the course of the next few years. Defensive end is a relative strength for Syracuse right now with Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman, but both of those guys will be gone by way of graduation after the season. The same goes for current sacks leader Brandon Berry who has a fantastic redshirt senior season.
Junior Kingsley Jonathan will return for his senior season and should be a beast in 2020, but outside of that, nobody really knows where the pass rush is going to be coming from over the next few years. There are some talented young guys currently on the roster in the form of Drew Tuazama and Cooper Dawson among others but having options as talented as Kinsler to go along with the other young guys on the roster can only be a good thing for the future.
Kinsler has a ridiculously quick first step and does an excellent job of timing the snap count and getting off the line in a hurry. He’s got a knack for punching the football out and coming up with strip sacks and takeaways when he gets to the QB. He’s extremely long and fits the mold of the ultra-athletic speed rusher that has become one of the most coveted types of players in football.
He’s the exact kind of guy that can help the Orange lick their wounds created by the loss to BC and the firing of defensive coordinator Brian Ward. Latarie Kinsler is the one and only good thing to come out of this weekend for SU.