Dino Babers’ latest recruiting class is heralded as the best Syracuse has pulled in since 2017, and on Wednesday, the Orange added two more pieces to the haul. SU signed offensive tackle Jakob Bradford and defensive end Chase Simmons on the second National Signing Day. Syracuse now has 21 signees in the 2021 class, plus Mississippi State transfer quarterback Garrett Shrader. Three-star defensive tackle Jaelin Moss has yet to sign his letter of intent, but might join the group later in the spring.
Bradford, a 6-foot-5, 300 pound offensive tackle, was a two-year starter at Iowa Central Community College, one of the best JUCO football schools in the country (playing in the same conference as Independence Community College from Netflix’s Last Chance U). 247Sports rates him as a three-star recruit, and an 83 on their JUCO rating system. He was primarily recruited by SU secondary coach Nick Monroe.
In Bradford’s freshman year, the Tritons went 7-6, and averaged 370 yards of total offense per game. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was pushed to the spring due to COVID-19. Bradford figures to be an instant impact player for the Orange, given his multiple years of collegiate experience. He’ll provide depth at the tackle spot behind Matthew Bergeron and Aaron Servais.
Simmons was originally committed to Coastal Carolina (who had a great season last year), but some hard work from SU coaches Tony White and Vinson Reynolds got the three-star defensive end to flip his pledge and give up 75-degree weather for multiple feet of snow. Simmons was skeptical of the Chanticleers’ offer, as they wanted him to play tight end, and wouldn’t offer him a spot in the class of 2021, asking him to be a part of a later recruiting class. A phone call from White led him to choose Syracuse.
Simmons stands 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 250 pounds. He was a two-time all-region end at North Myrtle Beach High School, and also a two-time state qualifier as a wrestler. He might be a year or two away from seeing the field, since seniors McKinley Williams, Kingsley Johnathan and Josh Black all return, while youngsters Steve Linton and Latarie Kinsler wait in the wings.
More analysis on the two additions will be coming later in the week, and Babers and company will turn their attention to the class of 2022. Happy National Signing Day (since we don’t have a basketball game to watch tonight)!