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Where’s the Local Guys in Syracuse’s Recruiting Class?

With most of the recruiting class already signed, there’s a consistent trend in Dino Babers recruiting style. Every year he and his assistant coaches trek down to the southeast and pull recruits up to Syracuse. This year the Orange’s top two recruits per 247sports were from Florida (defensive end Latarie Kinsler and wide receiver Damien Alford). Last season six of SU’s top seven signees were from the southeast. That includes Syracuse’s top three signees – linebackers Lee Kpogba and Mikel Jones, and safety Cornellius Nunn. And in the 2018 class, Babers landed Andre Cisco from Florida.

It’s important for Babers to recruit nationally, but there is a clear lack of signees from New York and surrounding states. Tight end signee Steven Mahar is the only player from New York to sign with SU in the 2020 class. And there is talent from New York. Michigan swooped in for a couple signees, and Purdue landed the state’s top recruit – four star running back Tirek Murphy.

Just one third of Syracuse’s class is from SU’s region. Wake Forest and Duke landed just as many guys from Massachusetts as the Orange…a grand total of one – defensive linemen Kevin Lemieux. Generally, it’s a whole lot easier to land players who live close to campus. Even Boston College landed a couple top-5 recruits from Massachusetts despite implementing a new head coach.

Syracuse could learn some lessons from Boston College. Instead of chasing after guys living hundreds of miles away, lock down New York. Like BC in Massachusetts, SU should always land a couple top-5 New York recruits. 

In 2019, Syracuse didn’t sign anyone from its home state. Miami signed three of the top ten New Yorkers. Clearly there is talent in-state. Defensive end Adisa Isaac – the top New York recruit in 2019 ended up at Penn State. Granted, Syracuse was a player in his recruitment until the finish line. But SU can’t just go after the top player in its state. It has to be a player in most of the top-10 recruits decisions. 

A common trend among most coaches is to lock down their homes state, and then expand its recruiting base. Babers hasn’t seemed to put much effort in New York. Instead of traveling hundreds of miles to visit one recruit, why not visit multiple guys in the same time span. There’s talent around Syracuse, and Babers must capitalize on being the only power-five school in-state.

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